True story: In 1993, pressured by animal rights groups, General Motors finally ended its decade-long practice of using live animals (dogs, rabbits, pigs, ferrets, mice) to test the effects of car crashes. Yes, they were putting sedated animals into cars, crashing them, euthanizing the animals, taking notes, and having lunch — making Michael Vick look like Bob Barker.
We weren’t as technologically advanced in 1993 as we are now, but we did have crash-test dummies and computers. We certainly had beloved pets — dogs, rabbits, pigs, ferrets, mice — and many of us had working brains to boot. So WTF?
Well, the F might be found in a recently-discovered transcript. Hidden for years in the “Trash” folder of Edward Snowden’s laptop, this 1992 exchange between an animal welfare activist and an automotive industry executive not only put the final brakes on animal crash testing, but answered many other questions as well. Enjoy.
ACTIVIST (AC): Are we taping? Good.
Sir, I’ll cut right to the chase. What I have here is thousands of signatures demanding you end the practice of using live animals to test… to test…. Jesus, what’s that smell?
EXECUTIVE (EX): I believe it’s a combination of week-old Dannon yogurt, Ritz crackers and artificial vomit. It’s coming from our Carpet Smell-Resistance Department. Hold on, I’ll shut the door.
AC: Thanks. Do you use animals to test that?
EX: God no, that would be inhumane.
EX: We use old people.
AC: Old people? How is that humane?
EX: They don’t smell very good.
AC: Um, back to the subject, do you admit to using animals to test the effect of car crashes?
EX: Because you asked me.
Ac: No, I mean why animals?
EX: We need to test car crashes, not just driving, so animals make the most sense.
AC: How so?
EX: By and large, they’re terrible drivers.
But we’ve discovered poodles are quite good at using the turn signal. We’ve got a bunch of them in the Steering Column Testing Department. They get it right about half the time.
AC: You don’t think it’s cruel to crash a car with a live animal inside?
EX: Well, we anesthetize the animals first. They’re knocked out. So they feel nothing. And if you think their driving was terrible before…
AC: What happens when they wake up?
EX: They don’t wake up. They get euthanized.
AC: So you kill the animals after you do the test?
EX: Yes, our completion rates were much worse when we killed them before the test.
AC: And all this is okay with you?
EX: Our studies show that this is the only way to get useful information on car crashes. Without using animals we’d have to get that data from actual car crashes.
AC: And what’s wrong with that?
EX: None of us want to get in a car crash.
AC: Listen, the testing has to stop. It just has to.
EX: Oh, okay. The poodles too? Some of us have grown a little attached to them…
AC: I guess the poodles are alright.
EX: …though most don’t like the duct tape. Perhaps because they don’t shed?
AC: No poodles, no dogs, no cats, no mice! No anything! No more testing on animals, period.
AC: That’s it?
EX: We don’t want any trouble. And even the best of them couldn’t drive stick. Here, take a free company key chain.
AC: Thank you.
EX: They’re made in our Accessory Creation Department. Did you know cockatiels are excellent at prying open key rings?
Do you need someone to show you out?