Social Justice · Veganism

Animal Testing and Cosmetics: An Animal Rights Issue


by Rachel Myers

Many cosmetic and beauty companies test on animals, and more companies and products are tested on animals than one might expect. The FDA (food and drug administration), makes sure that products are safe for consumption and use, including cosmetics and beauty products. This made me do some thinking. If these products have to be tested on animals for our safety, why are they making cosmetics out of chemicals that could be so harmful for us? If a company does not have to test on animals, their products must be more natural and safe to use. The Animal Welfare Act “regulates the treatment of animals in research, exhibition, transport, and by dealers” (United States Department of Agriculture). But how much is this law actually doing? And does this act insure “ethical” practices for animal testing, and is animal testing “ethical” at all?

Why is animal testing controversial and problematic? Not only is animal testing unnecessary, but it is cruel to subject so many animals to so much pain for the sake of human vanity. Most companies test on animals in order to ensure that their products are safe for use, because if they were not safe, the company would be in legal trouble. The fact that these companies use such harsh chemicals in these products is problematic. The skin is the biggest sponge, everything we put on our skin absorbs into our bodies. Does the absorption of chemicals from cosmetics cause long term health effects? Animals often endure long and painful sentences of suffering with chemicals put in their eyes, skin tests, and are forced to consume the products to see if they are harmful or cause death.

Thinking about this topic made me think about the things I have been buying my entire life, having no idea that they could be harmful to other creatures. It also made me think about the chemicals that are used in my cosmetics, and other hygiene products. It seems like barely anything is cruelty free, or has not been tested on animals. I think that it is almost impossible to live a 100% cruelty free life, because almost anything you buy in America has been subject to cruelty in some way. Whether it contains animal products, it has been tested on animals, it was produced unethically, or the sales taxes that the customer has to pay on top on the price goes to funding the prison industrial complex. America has almost made it impossible to be an ethical consumer.

Animal Testing on a Global Scale: Some countries have mandatory animal testing on products, for example, “The Chinese government conducts mandatory animal tests on all cosmetic products imported into the country. Therefore, even if a cosmetics company does not test their products or ingredients on animals, if they sell their products in China they cannot be considered cruelty-free” (The Humane Society of the United States), so even if a product is considered cruelty free in the United States, as soon as it is sold to China, it will be tested on animals to make sure the product is safe for consumers. However, some countries are resisting the use of animal testing, in 2013, India erased the mandatory need for animal testing, and the European Union banned marketing on products that are tested on animals. In the United States, they are unable to sell their cosmetics to the European Union that have been tested on animals.

Legal action has been done in order to protect animals with animal testing. The Humane Cosmetics Act is being pushed in congress in order to outlaw animal testing on cosmetics and other beauty products. A lot of work still has to be done in order to secure the safety of animals. Being a conscious consumer of everything you purchase is giving into the supply and demand cycle that companies depend on whether or not they need to make more products. If they do not have people to buy the products, they will not be producing as much. Consumers have more power than we think they do!

*The sources that were used are linked in the article when they are referenced.


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