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The Unnecessary Cruelty of Animal Testing
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.
“Alternatives: Testing Without Tourture.” Peta Media Center. 2007. 20 January 2009. <http://www.peta.org/factsheet/files/FactsheetDisplay.asp?ID=87>.
“Animal Testing.” Humane Society. 2007. 1 February 2009. <http://www.hsus.org/animals_in_research/animal_testing/>.
“Cosmetic Testing.” 2007. Animal Aid. 25 January 2009. <http://www.animalaid.org.uk/h/h/CAMPAIGNS/experiments/ALL/283/>.
“Cruelty-Free Living.” Uncaged. 2007. 25 January 2009. <http://www.uncaged.co.uk/crueltyfree.htm>.
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 <http://find.galegroup.com/ips/start.do?prodId=IPS>.
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 <http://find.galegroup.com/ovrc/infomark.do?&contentSet=GSRC&type=retrieve&tabID=T010&prodId=OVRC&docId=EJ3010002230&source=gale&srcprod=OVRC&userGroupName=va_s_075_0530&version=1.0>.
“Manimal and the Cosmetics Testing Laboratory.” Grinning Planet. 2004. 20 January 2009. <http://www.grinningplanet.com/2004/10-12/cosmetics-animal-testing-article.htm>.
“Meeting Report: Alternatives for Developmental Neurotoxicity Testing.” Environmental Helath Perspectives. January 2007. 1 February 2009. <http://www.enponline.org/docs/2007/9841/abstract.html>.
“Ten Fast Facts about Cosmetic and Household Product Testing.” Born Free. 2003-2007. Animal Protection Institute. 20 January 2009. <http://www.api4animals.org/facts.php?p=448&more=1>.