A documented case is an experiment done by the Imperial College in which mice were tortured for medical research including being put on treadmills to avoid electrocution. When these animals are no longer needed they are killed in some of the most inhumane ways possible including carbon monoxide poisoning and decapitation to name a few.
There is no excuse for the use of animals in medical and cosmetic testing, as animals are not structured the same way as humans. This means many test results would be considered invalid, such as using mice in the testing of Botox and forcing rats to consume alcohol to test out 'hangover cures'.
It also cannot be said that animals are free to be discarded as we please because they are different to us. Under the same principle, if testing a drug on one disabled human could potentially save hundreds of lives, would scientists do it? the answer is obviously no. But it is perfectly okay in the eyes of scientists to torture animals for the sake of experimentation because they are a weaker species. Ethics dictate that the value of each life in itself cannot be superseded by its potential value to anyone else.
The publicly known organisation of PETA is famous for its documentation of the illegalisation of animal testing, such as their undercover investigation into the Silver Springs Monkey case of 1981 and the more recent expose on the maternal deprivation case by the National Institute of Health.
PETA are currently campaigning to repeal section 24 of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act of 1986 which allows a veil of secrecy to conduct cruel procedures without public scrutiny.
There are alternatives to animal testing that distinguish one key element - harm. The Harvard Wyss Institute created the 'organs on chips' which are grown human cells that mimic the structure of human organs and organ systems and are more medically accurate than many of the crude animal experiments.
So what can you do? Well, the best way to raise awareness is to spread the word! Tell the world of the issue until it becomes impossible to ignore. You can also relinquish any support from companies that promote animal testing or have financial backing of companies that are linked to the issue.
There are animals everyday being harmed in and out of laboratories and that isn't okay. The only way to keep this from happening is to make others aware of the issue. Search here http://features.peta.org/cruelty-free-company-search/index.aspx to check if any of the products you're using contain any association with animal testing.
Let's save lives.