Did you know that animals are still used to test everything from deodorant to laundry detergent to dog food? Yes, even now, with all our technological advances, animals are still being forced into restraints and under the knife in the name of “science.”

In 1981, shortly after PETA was founded, the group launched the precedent-setting “Silver Spring monkeys” case, resulting in the first arrest and criminal conviction of an animal experimenter in the U.S. on charges of cruelty to animals, the first confiscation of abused animals from a laboratory, and the first U.S. Supreme Court victory for animals in laboratories.

The monkeys we led police to in a Silver Spring, Maryland, laboratory were in bad shape. As the state’s veterinary witnesses would later testify in court, many of the monkeys had been operated on for a crude experiment in which their backs were cut open and their nerves severed. One timid little monkey named Billy had both his arms broken and was only able to move by pushing himself along the bottom of his cage on his elbows to get to his food.

The abuses that the Silver Spring monkeys endured were not isolated incidents. Millions of animals are used in experiments every year. All species of animals, from chimpanzees to cats, are used, and more often than not, they are acquired without much thought, housed in abysmal conditions, and denied anything remotely similar to a natural or comfortable life.

You can help stop this abuse by making simple lifestyle choices. Cruelty-free living means using all your purchasing power for good. Many people start by swapping out everyday household items or cosmetics with cruelty-free alternatives, but you shouldn’t stop there. Donations to charities can also support cruelty to animals. Here are some resources to help you on your journey to cruelty-free living:

Cruelty-Free Cosmetics: Hundreds of household-product and cosmetics companies have signed PETA’s statement of assurance promising that they will not use animals for product testing. Find out which of the products that you currently use are cruelty-free, and search for others before your next trip to the store.

Cruelty-Free Charities: Many well-known health charities, including the American Cancer Society, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the March of Dimes, and the American Lung Association, fund experiments on animals. Fortunately, animal-friendly philanthropists can give to cruelty-free charities that use modern tests instead. VisitHumaneSeal.org to find out which charities do and which don’t fund animal experiments now.

Cruelty-Free Companion-Animal Food: Many “pet”-food manufacturers, including Iams and Menu Foods, conduct tests to measure the “metabolic energy” of dog and cat food. Use our product database to find companies that don’t test on animals in labs.

Pledge to Be Cruelty-Free. You can keep the pressure on those responsible for these cruel tests by signing our pledge and joining the thousands of caring consumers who refuse to purchase products from corporations that abuse animals.

The only thing that stands between the end of cruel animal experimentation and the beginning of sensible and humane health programs is the fact that too many people still accept the unacceptable. We must demand change. We are so fortunate to have you as part of our community—together we can end animal experimentation.

Don’t hesitate to contact us should you need more information. Thank you for all that you are doing to help make a difference for animals.

Very truly yours,

Ingrid E. Newkirk