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What You Can Do to Help End Animal Testing

Every year, millions of animals suffer in the name of science. Cosmetic testing is a way for companies to test their products on living organisms. These tests can be and are not limited to, dripping acidic solutions into rabbit’s eyes, injecting hormones and chemicals into the skin of mice and opening up animal skulls to see the responses in their brains from certain products.

I also want to mention that all of those tests are done without relief because relief, meaning anesthetic or pain medicine, would alter the true test results. The practices that beauty companies are a part of are inhumane and unacceptable, especially when we know as a society that these companies are hurting animals and they are doing it for selfish reasons. Animal cosmetic testing is an inhumane practice and it needs to banned nationwide.

History of Cosmetic Testing

Exclusive animal testing has been around for almost a decade. According to a timeline from “The Humane Society of the United States,” it states, “In 1938, the United States Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act is signed into law, requiring some safety substantiation of cosmetic products compelling companies to begin testing their products on animals.” 1938 was the beginning of a long history of abuse and neglect of animals legally. Soon after, in 1944, cosmetic testing started using acidic products and testing it in animals eyes. This was considered to be the typical and “normal” way of testing products on animals.

Many beauty products that were being tested were not meant for direct eye contact, but rather skin, but companies thought testing it on the animals eyes was the best method. In the 1980’s, real efforts to ban cosmetic testing began. The efforts made a difference in the United Kingdom in 1998 because they banned all animal cosmetic testing. Since the 1980’s, there has been massive efforts worldwide to ban cosmetic testing. The UK among other countries has fully banned animal testing but in the United States of America, it is still an ongoing battle. There have been few implemented restrictions on these tests such as banning certain chemicals. Some companies have outright stopped testing on animals. The fight is still not over and thousands of animals still continue to suffer at the hands of these large companies.

The Awful Reality 

Animals that are being tested are suffering every single day. They are held in captivity, with no means of living a normal or healthy life. They are kept in boxes or small cubes. They are typically alone unless they need to be experimented with another animal for scientific purposes. They are either ripped from their natural habitat or are bred specifically just to experiment on. In the article, “Using Animals for Testing: Pros Versus Cons,” written by Ian Murnaghan, he states, “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.”

A portion of these animals are alive for the sole purpose of being painfully experimented on and most of them never live to see a day outside of a laboratory. Even some of the substances that are being tested on these animals, may never reach the market. In that case, these animals are being tested on and probably killed for no “gain.” It really shows that these animals are dying for the consumer’s greedy wants. I think the most disturbing concept from cosmetic animal testing is that they are experimented on for the sole purpose of giving us pleasure. What I mean is the cosmetics that companies are dripping in the eyes of animals and injecting into their bodies, are not for medical treatments or crucial for our health. We are hurting these animals, exploiting them, for the sole purpose of looking “pretty.”

Only Benefits to Testing

Although we are hurting these animals, testing has positively impacted society. If you look from a different perspective, you may say that conducting research has helped scientists to find drug and medical treatments. Murnaghan explained in his article that, “Many medical treatments have been made possible by animal testing, including cancer and HIV drugs, insulin, antibiotics, vaccines and many more.” 

Testing has also helped ensure the safety of medical treatments and drugs. Scientists were able to experiment with medicines that could have caused a negative impact on humans, but they were able to detect the threat when they tested it on animals. Of course, it’s important to test new medicines and find breakthroughs in the medical field, but it should not be at the expense of causing another living organism to feel pain. I understand why it may have been necessary for animal testing before, but now we are so advanced with our technology that it should not be a requirement.

Alternative Testing Methods

Science has improved drastically since the beginning of animal testing. At one time, animal testing was the only method of experimenting practically anything. However, in this day and age, we luckily have newer and safer alternatives to testing cosmetics. One way is through in vitro testing. The article “Alternatives to Animal Testing,” by the PETA Organization, explains that the in vitro testing is comprised of little chips that “contain human cells grown in a state-of-the-art system to mimic the structure and function of human organs and organ systems.”

This is a huge breakthrough in the world of science because it can allow us to phase out animal testing. These chips can be used for cell-based tests to test the safety of not only cosmetics, but of practically anything. Another alternative would be in silico computer modeling. Essentially, computers are able to simulate actual human biology that mimics our cells. This is another huge breakthrough that can also be used to test cosmetics. If we can replace animal testing with computer testing, not only is it better for the animals, but it also can help lead to even more scientific breakthroughs in our technology.

How to Help

As a person who is invested in protecting the lives of animals, I have altered the way that I live so I do not give money or essentially support the companies that are testing on these animals. One way to help is to always buy products that say they are cruelty-free. If you look on the back of your shower soap, there should be a small symbol that looks like a bunny, which means that it is not tested on animals. Some of the most famous and widely used companies like Dove, Victoria Secret and Estee Lauder, to name a few, all experiment their products on animals so you will not see a bunny logo on the back of their products.

Another way to help, is to educate your friends and family. In the article, “7 Ways to Help Animals Suffering in Experiments,” written by PETA, states, “Brush up on the facts so that if any questions arise, you’ll be the best animal defender you can be.” Being educated and confident on animal testing is crucial, especially if a skeptic is debating with you about the topic. Staying up-to-date and spreading your knowledge is an important piece to ending cosmetic animal testing. A different way to help is to give your body to science. Some people may make the decision to be buried, cremated or give their body to scientific purposes when they pass away. Scientists do not test on live humans but if you give your body to science, you may help start a breakthrough and save some animals lives in the process.

I have grown up with animals my entire life. I have always had at least one cat at any given moment. I have fostered animals and adopted many. I have seen these animals engage in playful and affectionate behavior. Animals do not deserve to be hurt. If scientists believe that animals are so similar to humans, then why do they continue to put them through intense and unsedated pain? One of my favorite quotes from one of my current professors’ is, “Every time you make a purchase, you are making a vote for the kind of world that you want to live in.” Animals are alive and they deserve rights, just like us.

 

Brooke Conneally is a sophomore at the University of Rhode Island, majoring in Public Relations and minoring in Communications. She spends most of her time playing guitar while singing, pinning projects on Pinterest, cuddling with her cats, and organizing her room. 
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