Take a close look at your shampoo bottle, or your favorite makeup products that you use on a daily basis. Do you see anything that stands out to you? No, not the sleek and pretty packaging, but the tiny little “cruelty free” label that many people look over. The use of animals in research and testing, especially for cosmetics has been a widely debated topic for many years now. It all depends on how you view animals in life. Some think of them as companions who should be treated with care and love. Others view them as means for advancements in medicine and product safety. Nowadays, it has become a more common thing to do in order to put out products for human use. Although successful animal-based research and testing has helped us advance, the pain, agony, and trauma these living beings experience is not worth any human benefit. Therefore, animals should not be used as a material for testing purposes.
Animal rights are violated when used for research purposes. Philosophy professor of North Carolina State University, Tom Regan, stated “Animals have a basic moral right to respectful treatment. This inherent value is not respected when animals are reduced to being mere tools in a scientific experiment,” (Lonestar). Animals and humans have many similarities as we can both see, hear, taste, smell, care and feel pain. If it is wrong to inflict pain on a human because we have those characteristics, then it must be equally wrong to torment other beings too.
In the article, “Should Animals Be Used for Scientific or Commercial Testing?” the author wrote “All suffering is undesirable, whether it be in humans or animals. Discriminating against animals because they do not have the cognitive ability, language, or moral judgment that humans do is no more justifiable than discriminating against human beings with severe mental impairments.” Because animals cannot talk, they are given no choice or say in what happens to them and it is almost like treating a person with a severe form of mental disability the same exact way because they may not be able to clearly express how they feel.
Although this practice is not required by law, many brands still continue to do it. The act of testing on animals for cosmetics and other products consists of putting substances in or on a subject to analyze and record the possible side effects the product can have. Majority of the practice are skin and eye irritation tests where a specific chemical is applied to a shaved area of the skin or dripped into the animal’s eyes.
There are also “repeated force-feeding studies lasting weeks or months to look for signs of general illness or specific health hazards such as cancer or birth defects (HSI). In addition, lethal dose tests are also performed in which the animal is injected with a chemical in order to determine the dose that could cause death. There are two basic types of animal testing: basic (investigating human disease and biology) and applied (safety, toxicity and drug research) (NCBI). Both categories of the testing have pros and cons, but the cons severely outweigh any pro, especially for applied research. Approximately 100,000 to 200,000 animals are tested on every year just for cosmetic purposes alone (HSI).
Many medical professionals/experts and supporters of animal testing would argue that it is justifiable because it is a necessary and crucial practice in order to put out safe products for human consumption and use, however, that is just not the case. This practice is completely unnecessary due to the fact that there are alternative testing methods that can replace the need for animals. Vitro testing, the studies of biological properties are performed in glass petri dishes, test tubes, etc, instead of in living bodies. These can produce more accurate and relevant results because human cells can be used. This ties into animal testing being ineffective because animals are very different from human beings.
The metabolic, anatomic and cellular differences we have make animals poor experimental subjects for research. According to an article from The Journal of the American Medical Association, “patients and physicians should remain cautious about extrapolating the finding of prominent animal research to the care of human disease … poor replication of even high-quality animal studies should be expected by those who conduct clinical research” (PETA). In other words, because animals are such inaccurate comparisons to humans and experimenting on them would not produce reliable predictions for the effects of human products, it would make sense that in vitro testing would be more relevant because human cells can be used. An example of the failures of some non-cruelty free drugs include when 100 stroke drugs and over 85 HIV vaccines failed in humans after successfully working in animals and non-human primates.
In conclusion, the practice of animal testing should cease because it violates animals rights and causes immense suffering, testing on animals to produce results for humans in unreliable and other forms of more reliable experimentation are available. Many people tend to overlook these facts because they would rather assume that there is no significant harm being done, However, this proves that the negative of animal testing severely outweighs any\positives. Furthermore, the philosophy of utilitarianism holds true due to the fact that animals have certain rights and just because they do not have the same cognitive abilities as us, that does not mean that they should be held out on them. The practice of testing on animals has been a widely debated topic for many years now and we live in a society where we have the power to make a change just by using our voices. Something must be done in order to help these poor animals who we call our “pets” and “companions”, and stop their suffering once and for all.