Rabbits in Research
Rabbits are the second most commonly used animals in research and product testing that are covered under the AWA, as of 2010. Because they are generally timid, sociable, and non-aggressive, they can be easily handled and restrained in stocks (a full body restraint device) when used as experimental test subjects. They are the most commonly used species in research protocols involving pain with analgesic, anesthetic, or tranquilizer drugs. Rabbits are commonly used in skin and eye irritation studies, such as the archaic Draize tests, which were developed back in 1944, for cosmetics, personal care, household products and other chemicals. And because of their high rate of reproduction, rabbits are used in studies that test the likelihood that a product will harm a pregnant female or developing fetus.
The rabbit has been the breed of choice for polyclonal antibody production for some time, due to the size and blood volume and the accessibility of the vascular system via the ear veins. Rabbits are also used as models for a variety of human diseases.