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Cosmetic Animal Testing
Every year thousands of animals die to test the products used on a daily basis. When
going to the store to pick up makeup, skin and hair products being aware of the ingredients,
where the products are made and how they are tested isn’t the first thing people usually
consider. Would it be surprising to know the companies that say they don’t test on animals
do unnecessary and painful tests. Companies test on animals such as mice, guinea pigs,
rabbits, monkeys, dogs and cats. These inaccurate tests could include being burned,
shocked, isolated, drowned, starved and many more. The Humane Society International
estimates that 100,000–200,000 animals suffer and die every year due to cosmetic testing
( Zuazua ). In these tests, the animals have chemicals forced down their throats, into their
eyes and onto their shaved skin in order to document their reaction to ensure the safe use for
humans. As advancements in technology continues to grow the use of animal testing in
cosmetics is outdated ineffective and expensive, and therefore makeup brands should not
continue to use this painful and torturous method when other alternatives produce more
There are several tests performed on animals everyday, the prominent ones include
toxicity testing, eye and skin irritation/corrosion testing, skin sensitization testing, and
carcinogenicity testing. Toxicity testing includes the infamous LD50 which stands for lethal
dose fifty percent. This test is a series of poisoning products being feed to animals and
rubbed on their skin till half of them die . This test is very inaccurate and has little use to
humans. The skin and eye irritation test also known as the corrosion test is a test commonly
performed on rabbits. Though more reliable, modern, and humane tests are available we
continue to torture rabbits through the flagrant draize eye irritancy test . This examination is
when chemicals ranging from dish soap to poisons are dripped into rabbits eyes and smeared
on shaved skin. If the rabbits survive this, they will be killed after scientists are done using
using them for the test. The skin sensitization test was introduced in 1969 this test is
commonly performed on guinea pigs . This test includes substances being injected to animals
skin causing rashes, burns, and ultimately death. This method is not as common as other
tests mentioned but it still used today . The last test is known as the carcinology test its tested
on rats and mice. It consists of chemicals being inhaled and ingested by the animals for two
ears. The rats are then killed after two years and tested on for tumor growth (Product
Testing: Toxic and Tragic). These tests as well as many others are performed to test the
safety of products for human application and consumption.
In 1933 seventeen women suffered severe injuries and one death by the mascara lash
lure. Products such as Lash Lure, Dr. T. Felix Gourand Oriental Cram, and Elixir
Sulfanilamide, caused consumers to lose teeth and eyes, develop black gums and skin and
even caused a mass death. More than 100 people died in the span of three weeks (Copley,
Alyx)” Up to this time there were no regulations on products on the shelves. Many people
got sick and died from products that people wouldn’t think twice about such as mascara and
eyeliner. In result to the appalling events of unregulated products The United States Food,
Drug & Cosmetic Act is signed into law, requiring some safety substantiation of cosmetic
products compelling companies to begin testing their products on animals in 1938. At this
point we got some knowledge on what is safe and what isn’t to put on human eyes and skin.
This was when regulations on products became mandatory. Animal testing for use of
cosmetic safety only started around the early 20th century. “The practice is particularly
controversial because animals may experience discomfort, suffering and ultimately die, all
in the name of aesthetics and ‘looking good.’ Thus, it is this aspect of animal tests that draws
an enormous amount of criticism, both in the UK and internationally. In fact, there are some
who support animal testing for medicine simply because it involves the improvement of
human health and the extension of human life” (Murnaghan). Many people on the other
hand believe animal testing of any kind is wrong because there is more advanced and less
deadly alternatives in today’s world.
With the growth of knowledge and technology animal testing is outdated and not
useful anymore. With the help of dedicated scientists and state of the art labs we are able to
replicated eye tissue, hearts, livers, ears, etc. According to Peta, “ an alternative to animal
testing that companies use is to use cornea-like 3D structures, which are produced from
human cells. These human skin cultures can be grown and purchased specifically for
cosmetic testing” (Zuazua). The research at Laboratory CeeTox is already ahead of the
game. The lab is recreating human cells to test the toxicity and reaction chemicals would
have on humans. These tests are a replacement for the painful procedures animals endure.
Producers such as being cut and having chemicals pumped into their stomach, eyes, and
lungs. Also the company MayTek is producing 3D human tissue and is being used all over
the world for tests. Its being used by the National Cancer society, The military, many
colleges, private companies, and many more. As said in this quote, “virtual skin is proving
to be an excellent substitute for the real thing, allowing scientists to conduct burn research,
and to test cosmetics, radiation exposure, and so on” (Dvorsky). We have to begin to ask
ourselves when is it enough? In Reference of the animal testing in Wickham Laboratory
video very disturbing images of the animals being crammed in small tight spaces not being
able to move freely or at all; can be seen. Animals are kept in large numbers with limited
food and water. Animals can be seen being shoved in bags and thrown on the street when
they were dead or starting to die. Animal testing is very easy to overlook and not think
about. Since it’s mainly done in China it doesn’t even have to cross our minds on a daily
basis. After seeing the Wickham Laboratory video its very hard to overlook and its haunting
that people are using the products on a daily basis that the animals are dying for.
As Well As being ineffective and abusive, Animal testing is also extremely
expensive. It could take years to analyze and gain data. Computer data could be compiled in
minutes and is substantially cheaper that animal testing. With certain tests it could be one
fourth the cost of animal testing. The humane society internationally states that, “ The
inefficiency and exorbitant costs associated with animal testing makes it impossible for
regulators to adequately evaluate the potential effects of the more than 100,000 chemicals
currently in commerce worldwide, let alone study the effects of myriad combinations of
chemicals to which humans and wildlife are exposed, at low doses, every day throughout
our lives.” This is extremely important to consider because with the thousands and millions
of dollars being put into animal testing it’s not even putting in very accurate and dependable
Animal testing can be expensive and extremely imprecise, as well as public
nightmare. With the rise in knowledge about animal testing more and more people are
becoming aware and unsupportive of company’s decisions to test on animals. One brand
that experienced this first hand was Urban Decay. Urban Decay is a very well known
makeup brand known for its animal testing free standards. In 2012 Urban Decay moved its
company to the chinese market to develop and make the products. China has strict animal
testing laws, and is required for makeup and hair products. This move to the chinese market
upset a lot of loyal customers and animal enthusiasts. Many customers vowed to throw away
the products and take their business somewhere else. Urban decay responded to the public
outrage by saying, “ No, Urban Decay will not test on animals in China. However, the
Chinese government may conduct a test using our products before they can be sold there.
We absolutely realize that for many of you, it makes no difference who is doing the testing.
But, animal rights are still very much important to Urban Decay, and our decision was a
thoughtful one ” (Graef) . Urban Decay continued to post about the benefits of the chinese
market which was later deleted. Customers were angry about the switch as well as their
intelligence being questioned. Only a few weeks after the decision to move to China the
company states, “ After careful consideration of many issues, we have decided not to start
selling Urban Decay products in China. While several factors were important in reaching
this decision, ultimately we did not feel we could comply with current regulations in China
and remain true to our core principles. We know there are many progressive consumers in
China who would embrace an opportunity to purchase non-animal tested products – our
hope remains that we have the chance to offer Urban Decay products to these consumers
someday in the future” (Urban Decay Decides not to Sell to China). The backlash of the
public as well as the decrease in sales, helped the company back to the morals they
originated with. The Chinese market does save the company money but is it against what
they stand for so animal enthusiasts and customers are overjoyed they can use cruelty
products once again.
With facts and Statistics we can see that animal testing is not necessary for
cosmetics anymore. Its extremely expensive and computers can generate more accurate
results with incredible speed. With the world changing so rapidly and the advancements in
technology and science continuing to grow companies will start to find little need in animal
testing. The testing animals experience isn’t fair especially for people’s leisure. Animals
experience great amount of pain the conditions they are forced to operate in is unjust. The
community needs to come together and get animal testing banned. It’s as simple as not
giving business to companies who continue to test animals just to make more money for
themselves. Be aware of brands such as Bobbi Brown, M.A.C cosmetics, Avon, Maybelline.
Make sure to be aware of the real cost when picking up a cosmetic and hair product.
Copley, Alyx. “Why has the U.S Not Banned Cosmetic Animal Testing?” Odyssey , 11 Apr.
Dvorsky, George . “Can technology help us put an end to animal experimentation?
” Gizmodo , 5 Sept. 2012, 12:09,
Graef, Alicia. “Urban Decay Gets Backlash Over Animal Testing.” Care2 , 23 June 2012,
Murnaghan, Ian . “Animal Testing on cosmetics.” About animal testing, 6 Jan. 2018,
“Product Testing: Toxic and Tragic.” People for The Ethical Treatment of Animals , Peta,
“Urban Decay Decides not to Sell in China.” Temptalia , 6 July 2012,
Zuazua, Rebeccah. “Cosmetic animal cruelty.” Fine magazine , Mar. 2017,
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