Last Updated on 01/01/2021
Many if not all, are unaware of animal testing, especially in cosmetics. Just like you, I didn’t know about animal cruelty being done on such a massive scale. This article is in regards to animal cruelty in the beauty and related industry. Really, a rabbit needs not to prove whether the deodorant is keeping his arm pit odor free for me to try. Or is the mascara making his eyes look flattering enough for me to buy. Doesn’t make sense.
Animal Testing 101 – How is it Cruel?
Here is the other part, if you’re interested in further reading:
I’ve tried to explain the animal testing 101 in layman’s language. Hope this helps you get somewhat clarity.
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica,
“animal testing, animal experimentation, animal research, in vivo testing, and vivisection” means “Operation on a living animal for experimental rather than healing purposes; more broadly, all experimentation on live animals”.
Animal experiment is a method to test the effectiveness and safety condition of a newly found technology. For example: medicine or simply a cosmetic. It is often tagged as a necessary back-end process. Mostly done for ensuring a product’s benefits and side-effects on human. Sometimes, business houses or pharmacies perform animal testing on their own.
Some companies also outsource here. They hire university research facilities, testing laboratories or even defense research labs to do the animal based testing. For application based products, testing occurs on both the constituting ingredients and final product. For e.g. medicines, skincare, hair-care or makeup.
Animal experimentation or research refers to experimentation (mostly inhumane) carried on animals as test subjects.
Why is Animal Testing done?
When a brand or a research team comes up some new item for human use, they have to run some safety tests on them before commercializing. In maximum cases, the result of the testing is not predictable. So, the common practice is to use vertebrate and invertebrate living animals before human trials. It includes fishes, beetles, rats, guinea-pigs, apes.
How is it cruel?
‘Animal research’ is termed as a ‘cruel’ practice for multiple reasons. Majority of the testing facilities treat animals as mere testing subjects. They are subjected to certain actions such as:
- Injected, force-feed or force-inhaled with highly toxic substances
- Perform genetic manipulation
- Notch and clip their ears, wounded purposely
- Deprived of food & water
- Made to go through extreme suffering like – live dis-sectioning.
Some of these tests cause irreversible damages to their bodies. Finally, they are mass-euthanized using carbon-dioxide asphyxiation or neck-breaking at the end of the testing procedures.
If this is not cruelty then what is?
PETA says, every year approximately 100 million animals die in animal testing. 75% of them are from pharmaceuticals or drug testing laboratories. The remaining 25% come from cosmetic testing. Out of these, 8 millions go through severe pain. Followed by death. 10% of them are left to die without any painkillers to relieve their pain.
Is animal testing still happening?
Throughout the globe, it still happens at a large scale.
From recent researches we came to know that animal experimentation for cosmetics is more or less insufficient to determine the safety of a application based skin, hair or makeup product. Human skin is different to animal body parts. Many countries and brands still rely on cruelty based tests greatly.
In the brink of protests and campaigns by animal welfare societies, many brands have stopped testing their products on animals on their own. But they still hire third parties for testing.
For some countries like China, cruelty-testing is a mandatory process for imported products specially the cosmetics. Brands have to fund these inhuman practice to get entry to these countries.
1. Computerized modelling or ‘In silico’ Modeling
This technique constructs a human in-machine model. It uses scientific facts regarding human biology and progression of diseases. PETA funds one such procedure. It is the Quantitative structure-activity relationships (QSARs).
2. Human Cell based ‘In vitro’ Testing
In this process, the human cells are extracted and preserved outside. This happens by mimicking their identical environment. These living cells are then fed with experimental substances instead of animals. MatTek’s EpiDerm and CeeTox is by far the best skin simulations. L’Oreal has one such technology to test their ingredients.
3. Volunteer based Testing
Volunteer based testing fetches the best results in both drug & cosmetic testing. Here a number of selected volunteers with their consent, apply a micro dose of the test substance. Then highly sensitive imaging tools observe. The Body Shop uses this method on a large scale.
Some Testing Facts:
1. The oldest record of testing dates back to Greece in 2nd and 4th centuries BC.
2. Second century Roman physician Galen is considered as “father of vivisection”.
3. Of every year statistics only 10% of the test animals are included in official documents in US.
4. Skin care and cosmetics are tested on shaved skin or eyeballs of animals.
5. Over 90% of cruelty tested products fail on human testing.