Animal testing on cosmetics is related to a lot of aspects of the manufacturing process of these products, which is performed for the individual ingredients within their formulas. Though this method brought about some good news on the improvement of beauty products, it has become one of the most controversial subjects in the world. While countries, such as the UK, have banned its practice and the European Union has introduced a testing and marketing ban, it is still occurring in other countries. Now, both sides of the argument are standing their grounds with firm and solid opinions being pushed, making it difficult for them to reach any agreement. On our end, the best way to come up with a well-informed decision is to evaluate this method’s advantages and disadvantages.
List of Advantages of Animal Testing on Cosmetics
1. It helps with improving human health.
With this practice, we can make sure that people will never be exposed to any harmful chemicals or toxins in cosmetics, leading to a drop in consumer health risks. As argued by some scientists, testing cosmetics on animals before the products are introduced to the public is necessary for the manufacturing process, or people would be using products that are potentially harmful.
2. It has great important to research.
If testing cosmetics on animals is prohibited, it would be difficult for researchers to make an educated guess about the safety of these products. As you can see, this method allows developers to conduct trial and error and learn more about supplying consumers the best goods possible.
3. It only tests animals that are a close to humans in a biological sense.
Though the composition of animals is not entirely similar to that of human beings, it will still suffice for research to use on tests and see how beauty products would work on people. While there are certain inherent limitations to this practice, it is currently the best method until medical technology develops further.
4. It offers benefits to the organizations carrying it out.
Organizations that are taking part in animal testing on cosmetic have had a competitive edge over those that refuse to do it. Also, they feel that the method is allowing them to safeguard the environment.
5. It is highly regulated to protect animals from mistreatment.
Animal research is strictly regulated by state and federal laws and guidelines, as well the 1966 Animal Welfare Act (AWA), which stipulates minimum housing standards for lab subjects and requires regular inspections by veterinarians. Moreover, all proposals involving the use of animals for research require the approval of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) that was set up by the research facilities themselves.
6. It offers advantages to the animals themselves.
Imagine if vaccines were not tested on animals—millions of them would be dying from serious diseases, such as rabies, distemper, tetanus, leukemia, parvo, infectious hepatitis virus and anthrax. Also, treatments that were developed using animals for testing include those for glaucoma, hip dysplasia and pacemakers for heart disease. Another importance of this practice is that it has helped save endangered species from extinction.
List of Disadvantages of Animal Testing on Cosmetics
1. It is still possible that animals receive inhumane treatment.
During the tests, it is highly possible that animals would experience inhumane treatment, where they are being restrained. One good example of this case is the Draize Test, where the eyelids of the test rabbits are being held back for at least 3 days during the test, causing them pain and discomfort. It is because of this aspect that animal testing has received an enormous amount of criticism, not just in the UK, but also all around the world.
2. It causes animal death.
While there are tests that are painless, where animals are being returned to wherever they are taken from afterwards, this is not always the case in all trials. Keep in mind that there some animals that are killed immediately after each trial, and in some cases, they suffer from chemical poisoning or injuries, forcing them to live the rest of their lives in captivity.
3. It costs a huge amount of money.
Animal testing is actually not cheap, considering that it is costly to provide care, food and shelter for the animals being subject to tests. Plus, the procedure is usually performed over the course of several months, which means that more expenses would be accumulated. As for the animals themselves, they are often purchased, which can add up to the overall cost.
4. It would involve performing unnecessary tests.
Sad to say, animal testing on cosmetics does not always result in the introduction of new products, with some tests performed without products being put into use thereafter. In this case, animals would just suffer and even die in vain from dangerous tests that do not even offer benefits to humans. Unless every product is proven safe for public consumption by these tests, critics will not see the need for conducting them.
5. It does not prove to contribute to medical breakthroughs.
Many scientists stated that breakthroughs in medicine by animal testing could have still been accomplished sans the procedure. In fact, they said that there is no proof that these tests were essential to these advancements, adding that animal-free alternatives would have been found with enough time, money and resources.
6. It passes drugs that are potentially harmful.
This is certainly true considering the sleeping pill thalidomide in the 1950s, which caused severe deformities to thousands of babies being born. The drug was definitely tested on animals, but it did lead to serious effects. Another case that best demonstrates this disadvantage involves the arthritis drug Vioxx, which showed to protect the hearts of mice, yet went on to cause heart attacks and sudden cardiac deaths before being pulled from the market.
Without a doubt, animal testing on cosmetics is a very controversial topic, where there are many people who are seeing some benefits and there are others who are seeing it as unnecessary, considering there are alternative solutions. Based on the advantages and disadvantages listed above, what do you think?
Tags:Opposing ViewpointsPositives and Negatives
Using Animals for Testing: Pros Versus Cons
There are many pros and cons to the practice of animal testing. Unfortunately, neither seem to fully tip the scale to a side that pleases everyone – including the general public, government and scientists.
Pros or Postives of Animal Testing1. Helps researchers to find drugs and treatments:
The major pro for animal testing is that it aids researchers in finding drugs and treatments to improve health and medicine. Many medical treatments have been made possible by animal testing, including cancer and HIV drugs, insulin, antibiotics, vaccines and many more.
2. Improves human health:
It is for this reason that animal testing is considered vital for improving human health and it is also why the scientific community and many members of the public support its use. In fact, there are also individuals who are against animal testing for cosmetics but still support animal testing for medicine and the development of new drugs for disease.
3. Helps ensure safety of drugs:
Another important aspect to note is that animal testing helps to ensure the safety of drugs and many other substances humans use or are exposed to regularly. Drugs in particular can carry significant dangers with their use but animal testing allows researchers to initially gauge the safety of drugs prior to commencing trials on humans. This means that human harm is reduced and human lives are saved – not simply from avoidance of the dangers of drugs but because the drugs themselves save lives as well as improve the quality of human life.
4. Alternative methods of testing do not simulate humans in the same way
Scientists typically use animals for testing purposes because they are considered similar to humans. As such, researchers do recognise the limitations and differences but the testing is done on animals because they are thought to be the closest match and best one with regards to applying this data to humans.
Cons or Negatives of Animal Testing1. Animals are killed or kept in captivity:
In animal testing, countless animals are experimented on and then killed after their use. Others are injured and will still live the remainder of their lives in captivity.
2. Some substances tested, may never be used for anything useful:
The unfortunate aspect is that many of these animals received tests for substances that will never actually see approval or public consumption and use. It is this aspect of animal testing that many view as a major negative against the practice, as it seems that the animal died in vain because no direct benefit to humans occurred.
3. It is very expensive:
Another con on the issue of animal testing is the price. Animal testing generally costs an enormous amount of money, as the animals must be fed, housed, cared for and treated with drugs or a similar experimental substance. On top of that, animal testing may occur more than once and over the course of months, which means that additional costs are incurred. The price of animals themselves must also be factored into the equation. There are companies who breed animals specifically for testing and animals can be purchased through them.
4. Animals and humans are never exactly the same:
There is also the argument that the reaction of a drug in an animal's body is quite different from the reaction in a human. The main criticism here is that some believe animal testing is unreliable. Following on that criticism is the premise that because animals are in an unnatural environment, they will be under stress. Therefore, they won't react to the drugs in the same way compared to their potential reaction in a natural environment. This argument further weakens the validity of animal experimentation.
Personal ChoiceWhile there are numerous pros and cons of animal testing, the ethical aspect overshadows both of them, which means that emotion may be the ultimate determining factor in whether a person believes the benefits of animal testing outweigh the problems associated with the practice.
For more information about the ethics of animal testing on this site, read the following features:
1. The controversy of animal testing
2. Medical treatments that have been found as a result of animal testing
3. Medical trials on humans.
External ResourcesRead around the subject at external sites - here are two very good resources:
The BBC education page on animal ethics
The Government legislation relating to animal testing
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