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What Happens to Animals After Testing?

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 9 Nov 2018 | comments*Discuss
Animal Testing After What Happens

Many members of the public are interested to learn what happens to animals after they are used for testing to ensure they are treated humanely. In fact, those who work with these animals often share this sentiment.

Virtually everyone cares about the well being of animals and it’s important to make sure animals are ethically treated not only during testing but also afterwards. However, we first need to briefly look at what is happening to animals during testing before we can understand the decisions needed regarding animal welfare after testing.

Animals During Testing

You may already know that animals are used in testing for a variety of purposes. In more recent years, their use in cosmetics has been banned in many parts of the world. During testing, animals may receive anesthesia to control or eliminate pain they could potentially experience.

As expected, what will happen to an animal after testing depends on its health and viability after testing. Since many experiments conducted on animals are actually considered minimally invasive, these animals will be used again for testing purposes in another experiment. Such minimally invasive experiments can include the provision of blood or urine samples from the animal.

Where surgical procedures are involved, an animal may be euthanized after the experiment. For example, an animal may have tissues or organs removed for analysis after a treatment.

Many people do not realise that animals used in experiments are usually bred in captivity. These animals cannot simply be sent into the wild or into homes as they would not be able to cope and survive. While some people question why this does not occur, the reality is that it would not be humane to do so despite it seeming like an attractive option in theory.

Euthanizing Animals After Testing

For animals that must be euthanized after testing, this is done quickly and humanely to avoid any pain to the animals. There is a wide variety of methods used to euthanize animals after testing, depending on the animal.

Some animals are euthanized using a gas that is inhaled and results in rapid death. The animal may be put into a chamber where it will then inhale the gas. An example of a gas used is carbon monoxide.

Another method used to euthanize an animal after it is used for testing is a sedative or anesthetic. In fact, such methods are used in water to euthanize fish that have been used for animal testing.

There are other methods used that may sound rather barbaric but actually result in a very fast death for the animal. These methods involve physical force such as decapitation or breaking the animal’s spine. Often, this is the method of choice for smaller animals.

Yet another option is brain irradiation. This allows a researcher to still keep brain tissue while causing rapid death to the animal. Typically, this method of euthanization is appropriate for rodents. Although not widely used, gunshots are also used to euthanize animals after testing. Electrocution is used as well, particularly for larger animals such as cattle or sheep.

Common Misconceptions About Animals After Testing

A common misconception about animals after testing is that they can simply be released into the wild or adopted. For a variety of reasons, this would be far less humane than killing the animals. For instance, there are strict laws and regulations controlling the release of animals into the wild. When it comes to the idea of adoption, animals used for testing would not be able to cope with the home environment. Most animals used for testing are bred specifically for that purpose. Also, the injuries sustained from testing would make it unrealistic for them to be placed in a home.

Caring for Animals After Testing

There are, however, still some rare exceptions where it can be successful to place animals in a ‘home’ after testing. There is one ranch in particular that has accepted animals after laboratory testing. Animals accepted include sheep, pigs, dogs and cats. Such places, however, are a minority.

What Can You Do?

Members of the public continue to be concerned about what happens to animals – both during and after testing. What you can do is to stay up-to-date on news about animal testing to learn more about how these animals are treated.

Contrary to popular belief, most scientists and animal technicians care deeply about animals and want to ensure humane treatment during and after animal testing. These animals are used to find treatments to improve and save human lives. However, the animals’ well-being is also respected to the fullest extent possible. The small number of researchers who have brought a poor name to the area of animal testing are held accountable by members of the public – just like you – who write letters and campaign publicly against such treatment.

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I think that animal Testing should be limited to rats and other rodents.
Da Doc - 9-Nov-18 @ 12:53 PM
Also by the way, if you want human testing instead of animal testing, you know how much more inhumane that is compared to animal testing, or at least equal. We're animals too, it changes nothing, except more guilt of killing a fellow equal person to those who say animals are equals too. Its not like the results change that much, animal testing is very accurate compared to humans, and also if you want prisoners to be tested on, they're as helpless as animals and is basically almost like sending them off to death row, as they will likely die. So if you agree with death row, or sending humans to be tested on, you are still a hypocrite.
LiterallyTheTruth - 23-Oct-18 @ 11:34 PM
Just saying right now, to everyone who commented here saying, "the animals die in vain and are all suffering just for cosmetics!" you guys literally did not read the article at all. Although most suffer and die, it is for true and helpful causes like treatments, to save humans and animals from the same thing. Plus animal testing for cosmetics is banned or being banned in most places anyway, so it's usually for just research, and like quite a few other people commenting here said, taking prescription drugs, pills, any medical treatments, just supports animal research. They go through animal testing to see if it works on humans, and that just means you are just being a hypocrite. That goes the same for those who eat meat, if your not vegetarian/vegan, you eat animals you "care so much about." Also, for most of these commenting saying scientists are wrong, like THIS ARTICLE that you are literally commenting on and others say, they try their hardest for the animals to have minimal pain. Finally most of you guys aren't even actually doing research for true results and even one of these comments calling all of us stupid doesn't even know proper grammar or how to spell is (they said id) and is probably a whiny kid who's butt-hurt about someone countering their belief. I'm sorry, but it's just the truth, and you need to realize that this is just necessary and stop complaining. Sorry for ranting a bit too long and thanks for hearing, what is, literally the truth.
LiterallyTheTruth - 23-Oct-18 @ 11:28 PM
I think it's horrible I think they should test on prisoner that kill others murders and rapists instead of helpless baby animalspeople are sick in the head .
Char - 23-Sep-18 @ 12:19 PM
I hate animal testing. whoever invented animal testing should be drunk out on the street and shot
kiki - 18-Sep-18 @ 8:46 AM
Absolutelydisgustinganimal testing,poor animals, born ,live a horrible life, then die cruelly,you must be horrible people to work in an environment like that.
MC - 15-Sep-18 @ 12:27 PM
lots of scientists need the Bible and Jesus in their lives,they don't realise that what they areb doing is wrong and evil.I wanted to be a scientist at first but now im having second thoughts when reading this.Who else agrees with me that this should be stopped NOW?Comment back to me if you do agree.
Linzi - 2-Sep-18 @ 8:01 AM
Animal testing is very cruel and should be stopped IMMIDIATELY!!!Imagine if humans were tested on how would you feel?The part that hurts me the most is where it says that rodent's spines are broken,infact the whole area that mentions how animals are euthanized.I was crying and i still am.We are losing rare and majestic animals that helped us improve the enviroment.These animals are soon gonna be extinct,then we might forget how animals looked like or even what were they.Some animals get mutated and some die and don't even survive for a minute.Now scientists listen and listen closely,God made animals for a reason/purpose not to be tested on just like he made us he didn't make us to get tested on did he?You all need the Bible.When animals are extinct you should just remember most of them died because of you.You all need Jesus in your life and you need him NOW not later NOW!!!You hear me.
Linzi - 1-Sep-18 @ 5:28 PM
Animal testing is very cruel,people should stand up to scientist that want to test a chemical on an animal.We are losing rare and majestic animals that help us to make the enviroment better for example:some animals take out alien plants which take up a lot of water and space.Animals die from these and soon we might forget what they looked like or if they even existed,they are soon gonna become extinct.So scientist you might be smart but you should know one thing,that you were the ones who were killing these precious creatures that God created for a purpose and soon we are going to forget them because of you.I'm not saying don't test things i'm sayingn don't test them on these majestic animals.
Linzi - 1-Sep-18 @ 4:40 PM
Why does it have to be animals? Why can't we have human volunteers? How many hairsprays do we really need? How many animals are we going to kill for the same tacky lipstick?
red - 21-Jun-18 @ 8:21 AM
I think animal testing is cruel and should never be done to animals because they did not do anything to you so you should not do anything to the animals that can not protect themselves they are not even being used for anything good they are just being used to die
greatat - 8-May-18 @ 5:47 PM
I see a couple people saying that testing should be done to people who deserve it such as criminals.I just want to say that there is a law regarding this, saying that humans cannot be tested on for the first trial. Instead, I (and many others) suggest that scientists should use alternatives. I know most have posted comments in 2015 and 2016 and have probably changed their mind by now, but I wanted to give my... viewpoint.
Bandit - 22-Mar-18 @ 1:54 AM
I DONT LIKE ANIMAL TESTING IT SHOULD NOT BE ALOUD and i agree with ccec and Tiahna
urmom - 15-Mar-18 @ 7:42 PM
This article is the standard propaganda.Aside from the fact that the anesthesia that the animals"may" receive is often not given, the whole thing is a FRAUD from top to bottom. Everyone should read "Vivisection Or Science, A Choice to Make," by Dr. Pietro Croce, which is available to read onlline. Vivisection is not done to find cures or help people.It's done to protect corporations, make money, and it provides a safe haven for psychotic sadists. As Dr. Anna Kingsford, England's first woman doctor wrote (and she is so right): "The spiritual malady that rages in the soul of the vivisector is in itself sufficient to render him incapable of acquiring the highest and best knowledge. He finds it easier to propagate and multiply disease than to discover the secret of health. Seeking for the germs of life, he invents only new methods of death." WAKE UP, people.Don't buy the lies anymore.
Suki - 14-Mar-18 @ 7:20 AM
Animal testing is cruel, and should not be done as often to ensure animals' safety. Animals aren't ours to use, wear, or eat really. Most of the time, animals are NOT given pain medicine to help them through the procedure, and many die during or after the test. One test involved holding a rabbit's eyes open with clips, trapping it in a sock, and putting chemicals in the eyes, not letting the rabbit blink it away. Just to see how it would affect the eyes. this was most likely REALLY painful to the animal.
Bridget - 15-Feb-18 @ 2:12 PM
I think that animal testing is good and bad at the same time. The good thing is that it has created many cures and other things that help humans, the bad thing is that it harms and kills a bunch of animals every day.
:) - 12-Feb-18 @ 10:58 PM
many people think that testing id good but they are just stupid like the people who eat tide pods
Allison - 2-Feb-18 @ 5:58 PM
I hear so many people saying how horrible animal testing is. I don't think you know that you have endorsed and supported animal testing. Almost every pill, every vitamin, and every medicine you've taken has been tested on animals. Animal testing has resulted in cures for so many conditions and diseases. It is a necessary part of medicine and the health industry. I've heard so many people complain about it, but nobody has suggested a better alternative. Computer programs are not advanced enough to accurately predict the risk of certain treatments, and cell cultivation is even more inefficient than animal testing. I ask any one of you to present me with an argument that isn't straight pathos. Please dispute me, animal testing is the best logical course of action.
Youdon'tgetit - 16-Jan-18 @ 4:56 PM
Can you all please get off your high horses.The fact of the matter is that the FDA will not allow drugs be tested in people until they are tested in animals.Yes there are alternatives, but these alternatives bare no comparison to testing in an animal which has all the cellular processes that might impact how something may react in a human body.This animal testing insure that the chances of a person dying in the human clinical trials is reduced. If you really want to stand out against animal testing, you should refuse medical treatment, of all kinds. Lets not all forget that medical researchers help save thousands of lives. Stop villainizing them, they aren't heartless people.
Chilli - 14-Dec-17 @ 6:26 AM
I dont think this website understands just how cruel animal testing is. Researchers claim that the animals are being treated humanely and that there are laws concerning animal testing. The Animal Welfare Act is the ONLY federal law concerning animal testing and it only covers 5% of the animals. Furthermore, it allows animals to be burned, decapitated, deprived of food and water, brain damaged, poisoned, isolated, and shocked. Pain relief does not need to be provided.
Whysupporthis - 13-Dec-17 @ 2:09 AM
Research animals are treated very humanely. If you are against it so much, then I hope you put your money where your mouth is and refuse medical care. All of it. Every pill, even vitamins and over the counter drugs were first tested on animals. Every medical procedure is too. Animals are injected with viruses, venoms, and vaccines to produce antibodies and insulin. For research to stop, people need to stop using medical treatments. If you see doctors, have procedures done, and take medications, you either support research or practice selective hypocrisy
ceg07 - 17-Nov-17 @ 4:54 PM
The animal is testing is horrible. They take about 25 million animals each year in the U.S. to use in animal testing. Also, about 90% of drugs that go through animal testing fail in human trials. So its kinda like whats the point of testing on animals. They have feelings too. But also over 100 million animals from mice to monkeys are killed in the U.S. in laboratories for only biology lessons.
JJ Watt - 8-Nov-17 @ 6:40 PM
It does seem that recent years have seen people seeking to reduce pain from actual testing but what if treatment during captivity. Yes, blood tests and urine samples are minimally invasive but what must it be for animals, especially social ones, to spend their entire lives in what equates to the human equivalent of a broom closet, having no affection or interaction (specifically animals who crave this such as dogs, primates, etc...) that does not bring deliberate, dispassionate distress. I am not saying there is no merit in animal testing but not everything needs to be looked at so clinically as to lose sight of the need for humanity in such situations.
Sandy - 21-May-17 @ 1:46 AM
i think those people should go to jail because the law where you can hurt animals and they are
killthekings - 4-May-17 @ 3:52 PM
and one last thing one humans being tested on rather than animals, there are some tests such as 95% (not an acurate percentage) can not physically be conducted on humans.
you're all feminiaz - 26-Apr-17 @ 4:57 AM
No animal should have to suffer for someone's beauty. No animal should have to suffer for a person to live. Animals are like people, they have feelings too. Why can't animals just be free? What they do to you to make you make them suffer. They only want care, attention, love, and a safe environment. If it's not ok for someone to abuse their pet, then why should a scientest purposely try to kill them. people are just too violent these days. Why do you have to take it out on innocent creatures? Why can't scientests just grab some people on death row and test on them? Than the tests might actually work on actual people in the eal world insted of a dud. The next time you see an animal not in a lab you should tell them they are extremely lucky that they were not born going into a deadly experiment. RESPECT THE ANIMALS. THEY DESERVE TO LIVE.
AgainstAnimalTesting - 18-Mar-17 @ 11:53 PM
Animal testing Is really bad because all of us is created equal of our lord so we don't have any right to kill animals....
Mr.Park - 16-Mar-17 @ 2:09 AM
I believe that animal testing should be banned because my dog stella was used in a lab before she survived they did windex make up and other stuff to her she is only 10 years old in dog years i love so much go to some sites i forgot there names but some have when you can donate money and they give it to people to rescue animals from labs and stuff and bring to place to get homes and other stuff this is good lie this site because im doing a argumentive essay for school in 7th grade.
taytay - 1-Mar-17 @ 8:06 PM
Firstly, I hope everyone here is who is speaking about animal right is either vegan or vegetarian. Right? I'm vegetarian and wish one day to become vegan. Secondly, only a tiny, tiny faction of animals are used for makeup testing, 99+% are used for testing pharmaceutical drugs that are being conceived or developed. So if you've ever taken an aspirin or an allergy pill, well... While computer models of chemical are a start, we're about 50-80 years away from them being able to predict efficacy and especially side effects of drugs.I am clearly not providing any answers here other than to say, first stop eating animals, and if you really want to stop the testing of animals don't ever use over the counter or prescription drugs. Other than that, let's keep up our computer science work so we can simulate affects of drugs in computer models rather than on live beings.
JamesMiller - 14-Oct-16 @ 4:49 AM
why are people so bad. animals have the exact reason to live just as humans. so why not test on something that doesn't involve testing on humans and animals. they are scientist so they can figure it out, or are they just to lazy and kill more animals instead. some jerks
nh - 6-Oct-16 @ 3:22 PM
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