The Unnecessary Cruelty of Animal Testing

August 30, 2009
Strolling down the toiletries isle during your weekly grocery shopping trip, your eyes fall upon the newest brand of the volumizing shampoo you were searching for, and it’s on sale! You envision yourself flaunting luscious locks of head-turning hair that create envious stares in your direction, and hurry to purchase the product, right? Instead of this desirable fantasy, envision cute little furry bunnies foaming furiously at the mouth, bleeding from poisonous chemicals injected into their skin, convulsing in violent seizures, and finally succumbing to their painful death during the testing process of this shampoo’s ingredients. This discount shampoo doesn’t seem so appealing anymore. Is this product worth the cruel deaths of thousands of laboratory test animals, when there are other, even more efficient chemical test procedures without the involvement of animal lives? Companies’ motivations for performing animal tests are usually for the purpose of presenting their product as ‘proven safe’, but the Food and Drug Administration does not require these procedures as a necessary safety measure (Erbe). There are multiple types of animal tests that are thought to evaluate the quality of ingredients used in cosmetic and pharmaceutical products, but the majority of these cause the harm or torturous death to the animal involved. Alternative methods for animal testing are proven to be both less expensive and more accurate, while simultaneously saving countless animal lives. Animal testing procedures are inhumane frivolities that are unnecessarily instituted in cosmetic and pharmaceutical companies, and are not worth the resulting multitude of animal deaths.

Companies that institute malicious animal tests attempt to justify themselves by explaining that they are required to test the safety of their ingredients specifically on animals, but this is not true. Several cosmetic and pharmaceutical companies, such as Avon, Johnson and Johnson, Colgate, and Estee Lauder, fail to mention the cruelty, and often ineffectiveness of these gruesome tests (“Cruelty-Free Living”). “These companies claim they test on animals to establish the safety of their products and ingredients for consumers. However, the Food and Drug Administration does not require animal testing, and alternative testing methods are widely available and lead to more reliable results” (“Animal Testing”). These tests are not mandatory to ensure the safety of a product, yet companies choose to continue wasting their money on killing animals instead of exploring more effective methods of human testing. Companies also feel the need to develop new cosmetic ingredients by animal testing, although over 8,000 ingredients have already been approved for commercial use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and other non-animal testing companies are able to make a vast multitude of products with these existing substances. Animal testing has even been banned in several European countries, soon to be all of Europe, because of its pointless cruelty to animals (“Ten Fast Facts”). Nevertheless, several types of grotesque animal testing continue to be prevalent world-wide.

There are many different procedures that cosmetic and pharmaceutical companies initiate to test their ingredients on animals. It is estimated that 2 to 4 million animals, including cats, dogs, rodents, monkeys, and others, are tortured in laboratories each year in the United States (“Ten Fast Facts”). Alix Fano, the Director of the Campaign for Responsible Transplation, describes how tests such as the chemical ingestion tests usually cause the organs to become damaged and dysfunctional. He also gives further examples including spinal chord injection testing, where scientists will first intentionally paralyze the animal, and then attempt to undo the damage, but usually fail and the subject is permanently paralyzed. Draize (eye) injection tests attempt to cure blindness or eye disorders, but almost always leave the animal completely blind. Neurotoxicity and lethal dosage tests purposely inject the animal with deadly chemicals to see how much it can endure before convulsing or dying (Fano). Scientists actually use deadly chemicals on purpose to see what effect it will have on the animal, causing extreme suffering for the subject and leaving it either disfigured or dead. “Test animals may develop tumors or other nasty conditions and are often killed intentionally at some point in the test so scientists can examine the animal’s innards for signs of damage” (“Manimal and the Cosmetics”). This inexplicit harm to animals is meaningless and cruel, producing results that are often not applicable to human advancements, because animals have different genetic compositions and respond to chemicals in ways that greatly contrast the effects seen on human subjects. A multitude of available alternatives for animal testing are both more sensible and efficient.

While the reliability of animal testing varies greatly and is often completely inaccurate when applied to humans, non-animal testing methods lead to beneficial results. “Besides saving countless animal lives, alternatives to animal tests are efficient and reliable…non-animal methods often take less time to complete, cost only a fraction
of what the animal experiments they replace cost, and are not plagued with species differences that make extrapolation difficult or almost impossible” (“Cosmetic Testing”). Animal tests such as the 3T3 neutral red uptake phototoxicity test can be replaced with toxicity tests on human cell cultures. Human skin model tests like the Epiderm test, replaces skin corrosion tests on rabbits. Donated body parts can be used to test chemical rate of skin penetration. Also, the study of human populations, human DNA studies on computers, sophisticated scanning technology, and even human test volunteers can be replacements for animal tests (“Meeting Report”). Multiple substances that are known to be harmful to humans, portray no negative effect on animals, who are supposedly used to test the substance’s safety for humans. “Of the compounds known not to cause cancer in humans, 19 do cause cancer in rodents…[also,] cigarette smoke, asbestos, arsenic, benzene, alcohol, and class fibers are all safe to ingest, according to animal studies” (“Testing Without Torture”). Animal test results cannot guarantee the safety of substances, because the differences between animals and humans cause each to react to substances in various ways. There is no reason for scientists to discover if a chemical will kill a lab rat, if it has no relation to weather or not the chemical will cause harm to a human. Since alternative tests are conducted on human DNA, they produce undeniably better results. Alternatives have led to several monumental scientific discoveries and safety tests, further exemplifying how animal testing procedures are unnecessarily harmful.

Companies claim to ensure the safety of ingredients used in their products by instituting these animal tests, but not being required by the FDA and producing results
that are not safely applicable to advancements for humans, these malicious methods are proven to be unnecessary. The multitude of inhumane procedures conducted by cosmetic
and pharmaceutical companies could easily be replaced by more effective alternatives, saving time, money, and animal lives. Consumers should be able to buy products without having to imagine tortured animals in the process of making its ingredients.

Works Cited
“Alternatives: Testing Without Tourture.” Peta Media Center. 2007. 20 January 2009. <>.
“Animal Testing.” Humane Society. 2007. 1 February 2009. <>.
“Cosmetic Testing.” 2007. Animal Aid. 25 January 2009. <>.
“Cruelty-Free Living.” Uncaged. 2007. 25 January 2009. <>.
Erbe, Bonnie. "Animal Testing Should Stop." U.S. News & World Report Online (Nov 24, 2008): NA. General OneFile. Gale. Brentsville District High School. 10 Mar. 2009 <>.
Fano, Alix. "Chemical Testing on Animals Is Unreliable." At Issue: Animal Experimentation. Ed. Cindy Mur. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2004. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Gale. Brentsville District High School. 12 Mar. 2009 <>.
“Manimal and the Cosmetics Testing Laboratory.” Grinning Planet. 2004. 20 January 2009. <>.
“Meeting Report: Alternatives for Developmental Neurotoxicity Testing.” Environmental Helath Perspectives. January 2007. 1 February 2009. <>.
“Ten Fast Facts about Cosmetic and Household Product Testing.” Born Free. 2003-2007. Animal Protection Institute. 20 January 2009. <>.

Join the Discussion

This article has 39 comments. Post your own now!

Anita This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jun. 16, 2010 at 4:13 pm
I agree with MOST of your article--the stuff about shampoo, etc, is very true. But you lost me on the bit about the eye testing. If human disease or disability is at stake, humans should ALWAYS come first. We are smarter, more powerful, not to mention the top of the food chain. Humans are more important than animals. It's just true. Imagine being blind. Would you rather be blind, or have a bunny or some other animal be? What about polio? You were probably vaccinated as a child. The vaccination c... (more »)
Destinee replied...
Oct. 12, 2010 at 10:10 pm
I agree. Humans > Animals. Sorry, it's true.
Anita This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Oct. 13, 2010 at 9:32 pm
omigosh, someone agrees with me!!! thanks :)
AshTree replied...
Dec. 17, 2010 at 5:50 pm

This is my reply to Anita

 The effects on animals are usually not even close to the effects on humans. A ton of helpful drugs that hurt animals (even killed in the process) are used today to do the opposite with humans. The results are never exactly the same which makes sense because we are not even related animals. If testing animals is no clear sign of what will happen to humans (even a very dangerous thing to trust all in itself without further testing) your argument is wrong. ... (more »)

Anita This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Dec. 17, 2010 at 9:13 pm
I'm not saying that it's good to hurt animals. But it is my personal belief that humans, as the most powerful species, have the right to medicine. If it were your mother/sister/brother/grandfather at risk for a disease that could be cured from animal testing, would you be protesting it? Humans have aspects that no other organisms have, including a part of the brain that can process morals and love. It's just my opinion.
Thesilentraven This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Feb. 28, 2011 at 7:43 pm
A comment to Ms. Anita: I think that your most reasonable argument is the sympathetic aspect. Your concepts of human dominance seem to me to be arrogant and unfair to all of life.
Thesilentraven This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Feb. 28, 2011 at 7:45 pm
It is also my belief that animals can, as you say, process morals and love. If animals saw us in war and day to day injustices, they might think 'humans cannot love.' I urge you to broaden your mind.
Anita This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Mar. 1, 2011 at 6:24 pm


your belief is incorrect. show me a single study that shows animals have morals. if they had morals (and, in turn, symbolic thought), they wouldn't kill other beings. they would be civilized, like humans. they would have religion and government and language. war does not prove humans don't love--humans can be violent, yes, but they can love, too. if animals were as smart as humans, they would stand up for themselves. bottom line? humans have the right to protect their o... (more »)

Anita This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Mar. 1, 2011 at 6:28 pm
AshTree: you're right about the different effects, but animal testing can be enourmously beneficial, as it was with the polio vaccine. ants biting us is not a sign of anger but rather a defense mechanism they use to not be killed. 
Thesilentraven This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Mar. 1, 2011 at 6:53 pm
An important note: humans kill other beings! More than animals do, in fact. Religion and government and language are only civilized in human terms; can you not think it possible that civility goes beyond the human definition?
Lilliterra replied...
Jun. 11, 2011 at 4:02 pm


BUT: I do not beleive that animal testing (in its detrimental forms) is justifiable when anything but human lives are at stake.

Torturing animals for cosmetics = wrong. However I notice that we have come up with some very effective medicines that have saved many lives using animal testing, that sort of proves that it CAN be effective. And don't tell me that the animal lives lost are worth more than the human lives that would have been lost.

I'm not sayi... (more »)

Anita This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jun. 11, 2011 at 5:55 pm
I agree with Lilliterra-- I'm not AT ALL for testing animals for anything but medicine that can save lives. I think humans are selfish to hurt animals just for cosmetics and candy. That is just rediculous. So we should just agree to disagree on the former, alright?
Thesilentraven This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jun. 30, 2011 at 2:53 pm

All right, that's a reasonable argument, Anita and Lilliterra. Agreeing to disagree is always a safe way to end an argument.

Perhaps we can also say that it's regrettable that these animals must lose their lives for humans, even if you think it's a good cause?

Thesilentraven This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jun. 2, 2010 at 3:32 pm
This article was very true. The companies that test animals don't care about anything except for their own profit, and this infuriates me. Animals deserve the rights that humans have! It pains me to think of the pain that they go through just to make a product.
animals<3 replied...
Feb. 28, 2011 at 11:55 am
You are right animals arnt supposed too be used as little expierments. there more precious then anything they make this world a better place. I hate seeing animals go threw pain, these people that take animals away from there homes are sick. these animals deserve a safe enviorment not where they have too be scared all the time. theses creatures deserve a safe and more comftorable home. These people dont even know how much pain they put these animals threw. Its horrifying, These animals deserve more.
Thesilentraven This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Feb. 28, 2011 at 3:36 pm

You are completely right.

There is little that is so horrifying.

cait11789 said...
Feb. 28, 2010 at 2:59 am
animal testing is cruel and unfair. companys testing on animals makes me sick, the animals didn't choose to be lab rats they were forced and for what? so our hair can look fabulous. it just shows how greedy these companys are
SmileinyourSleep said...
Jan. 21, 2010 at 4:17 pm
I agree with you. I''m actually a part of P.E.T.A and i absolutly stand for being against animal cruelty. People need to know these things.
Helena said...
Oct. 2, 2009 at 8:56 pm
Oh my gosh, I completely agree with you! I strongly oppose animal testing. It's completely unreliable and unnecessary like you said and you did such a good job of explaining it!
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