It is believed that law requires animal testing on cosmetics, but this statement has no truthful foundation. According to Karen Lee Stevens, author of a web article on animal testing, there is no law that requires companies to test their personal care and household products on animals. However, companies must conduct appropriate tests to corroborate the safety of their products before selling them to customers. Thanks to advancements in modern technology, scientists are seeking for better ways to test products by using non-animal methods; and although they have concluded that no single non-animal alternative thus far developed can completely replace some animal tests, companies are able to avoid animal testing by relaying on a series of non-animal options that are readily available.
For instance, there is a large number of ingredients already known to be safe, as well as information on historical use and chemical structure; human clinical studies are also valuable and accepted means of testing products. Other types of alternative methods that do not require the use of whole, living animas,l include in-vitro tests, computer modeling, tissue culture, human volunteer trials, and databases of tests that have been already done to avoid duplication. All of these alternative techniques produce fair quicker results, and do not involve animal cruelty.
In addition, lab animal testing produces a tremendous amount of misleading and unreliable results. According to a web article of the Coalition to Abolish Animal Testing (CAAT), animal research is based on a false premise that results obtained through animal experimentation can be applied to the human body; but in reality, animal models are limited, and although animals and humans share superficial similarities, they also are very different. Even those species that seem closely related, may function quite differently at a physiological, psychological, metabolic, anatomic, genetic, and molecular level; so solutions and drugs that affect animals in one way may well affect us differently, and there is no way of predicting what the differences will be.
Far from saving lives; the use of animals as models for humans has injured and killed thousands of people due to drugs and products that were found to be safe for other species. On the contrary, there are drugs that have been withheld from humans because they caused dangerous reactions in animals; but we will never know what promising treatments have been abandoned prematurely just because they did not work on animals.
Apart from the unreliability of animal testing, there is another powerful argument against this practice: the morality of using animals as though they are unfeeling scientific tools. Alix Fano, a New York writer and author of the book Lethal Laws, affirms that a majority of scientists claim that while it is unethical to experiment on humans, it is acceptable to experiment upon non-humans, and the inhumane treatment of animals in tests is due in part to the fact that anesthesia for the alleviation of pain is often not administered since scientists allege that using anesthesia will interfere with test results.
Animals continue to be innocent victims of painful eye and skin irritancy tests; they are force fed or forced to inhale huge quantities of substances like hair dye, face powder, toothpaste and even household cleaners until half of them start displaying symptoms of poisoning and many of them die. In other tests, concentrated substances like shampoo are applied to the eyes of animals (usually rabbits) producing terrible long-lasting pain with swelling, discharge, blistering and destruction of the cornea. Other experiments involve the immobilization of unanaesthetized animals in restraint devices. The animals’ skin is shaved until raw, and the test product such as deodorant or after-shave astringent is applied.
Besides the exposition of animals to extreme pain and as stated by the National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS), it is inhumane to confine animals in artificial environments that deprive them of experiencing the ecological role that nature intended for them. Animals are completely vulnerable to whatever the research has in store for them no matter how much pain and suffering is involved.
We are committed to change, but change can only take place with the support of people like you, me and all of us. Animal product testing is unnecessary, unreliable, and inhumane; and you can help animals by learning more about this issue and sharing your thoughts with your family and friends. As consumers, we can make a difference in the lives of innocent animals by purchasing only products labeled “cruelty-free.” Animals should not be viewed as sources and products, but as fellow living creatures who share our planet, and they deserve moral consideration that recognizes their rightful place in the vast and complex web of life.
Feel free to comment back!
Written by: Coraline, April 2002