On average, one animal dies every
minute as a result of animal testing (The Humane Society of United States). The
truth behind the pretty cosmetics products is rather ugly: countless lab
animals sacrifice through the testing of those products before they are put on
store shelves. While testing for new products before launching it on the market
is a part of safety protocol, the problem with cosmetic product testing is that
animal models do not accurately represent humans’ reactions to cosmetic
products and yet are still widely used. Consumers who buy these products that
are not properly tested can develop skin irritation and illness. Cosmetic
companies should adopt alternative testing methods because animal testing is not
effective and costly while it imposes cruel treatment on animals.

 

Despite its wide usage, animal testing
is rather ineffective at serving its purpose. There are many limitations to
using animal models. Fundamental differences of the physiological structure
between humans and animals decrease the accuracy of the representation of
animal models. Testing categories often have specific objectives, such as
finding the side effects of an ingredient on the face (Anderegg et. al. 9). The
focus is only on one part of the body, despite side effects may affect other
body systems or have chronic impact. Physiological differences such as body
proportion and organ functions between humans and animals can result in
different reaction to the ingredient, thus skewing the accuracy. Studies have
found that only 50% of a laboratory mouse’s DNA matches with that of human
(Cruelty Free International). The low percentage match is indicative of how
animal models are unfit for human prediction. The misrepresentation of animal models
can impose danger onto humans. Substances that passed the safety check on
animals might be harmful to humans due to the misrepresentation. Talcum powder,
more commonly known as baby powder, is a common household item. However,
several lawsuits in 2016 sued Johnson & Johnson for their baby powder which
caused ovarian cancer in women (Fox, A). Many testing done on lab animals to
test the toxicity of talcum powder did not find tumor formations in the animals
(American Cancer Society). The incompetence of animal testing in this case is
due to the difference between animal and human reproductive system. What
appears to be safe to use on animals is not necessarily safe for humans.

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Therefore, animal testing loses its purpose of making sure products are safe to
human before putting it on the market.

 

Data from animal experimentation
cannot be transferred to humans because the environment in each laboratory
varies. The artificial environment creates stress on the animals, causing them
to develop abnormal conditions that hinder with normal test results. For
example, animals might develop chronic inflammatory conditions due to stress,
but are recorded as a reaction to a product (Akhtar 409). Stressed out animals
decreases the validity of the test results. Other laboratory factors include
testing routines, noises, and artificial lighting. A study done by Crabbe et.

al. attempted to standardize all of those factors across several laboratories.

However, those laboratories yielded different testing results (2). Even if laboratory
conditions are strictly regulated across the board, there will still be factors
that interfere with the consistency of test results. The uncertainty caused by
those laboratory factors is hard to eliminate, because it is hard to tell
whether a reaction is caused by the product or environment. Therefore those lab
test results are useless for human application.

 

Furthermore, testing on animals is
ineffective because different species react to chemicals differently. For
example, “Penicillin kills guinea pigs but is inactive in rabbits.

Aspirin kills cats and causes birth defects in rats, mice, guinea pigs, dogs,
and monkeys. And morphine, a depressant in humans, stimulates goats, cats, and
horses” (PETA). Chemicals injected in one type of species can induce a
completely opposite reaction in another species. The variation allows for
greater risk when the result is adopted for human use and can create harmful
side effects. Failure to produce a uniform conclusion across animal species is
by no means a representative model of human reaction to the product. This again
contributes to the invalidity of animal testing because the false prediction of
product reaction can be harmful to human.

 

Besides the ineffectiveness of using
animal models, laboratory testing inevitably imposes cruelty on the animals. An
estimated number of 500,000 lab animals die each year for cosmetics testing
(The Humane Society of the United States). The high number of dead lab animals
still doesn’t contribute to creating safer cosmetics. A large number of people
are affected as a result. Approximately two million Americans suffer every year
from illnesses as side effects of unsafe products (Fox, K). The number of
animals that sacrifice is unnecessarily high, especially for the purpose of
creating products that has harmful effects on human. A range of testing is done
on lab animals, which includes skin sensitization, mutagenicity,
toxicokinetics, acute toxicity, chronic toxicity and dermal penetration
(American Anti-Vivisection Society). These cruel testing methods are used on
animals to beautify humans. Tests such as skin sensitization can create ulcers,
irritations, and inflammation of the animal’s skin. Other tests such as eye
irritation and toxicity can cause blinding, internal bleeding, seizure, and
even death (Humane Society of the United States). Pain relief is not provided
for lab animals that suffer from life-threatening symptoms. The cruelty far
exceeds the purpose of the experiment while providing invalid results. Moreover,
current law does not adequately protect against animal cruelty in laboratory
testing. The only federal law is the Animal Welfare Act which offers minimal
protection to certain animals such as dogs, cats, and monkeys. The law controls
how those animals are maintained in the testing facility but does not regulate
treatment of animals during experimentation (U.S. Department of
Agriculture).  Animals not covered under
the act include rats and mice, which makes up 96% of animals used for testing
(The Hastings Center). In other words, the act covering a small number of
animals is useless in reality. The law is ineffective at preventing the cruel
treatment of animal during experiments. It leaves millions of lab animals
vulnerable to harsh testing conditions that lead to their pointless sacrifices.

 

Animal testing is not cost effective.

The high cost is a result of the demand for human labor and maintenance.

Laboratory animals require daily care such as feeding, cleaning, and
monitoring, which can be time consuming. U.S. spends approximately $12 billion
on animal testing every year (PETA). But all of the money goes to waste given
the ineffectiveness of animal testing and inaccurate representation of animal
models. Some animal testing can take up to years which adds another time
consumption factor. In the end, money and time are wasted because those test
results cannot be used due to confounding variables that fails to accurately
predict reactions in human.

 

The best way to solve the problem
would be to use human cell-based alternatives, which includes cell culture and
donated human tissues. Testing with cell culture can be used in a variety of
experiments. It would involve obtaining human sample cells and tissues and
growing them in lab test tubes. Cell culture testing can perform many of the
same tasks in animal testing, such as skin corrosivity, eye irritation, and
toxicity (Indans 177). This proves that it is capable of testing for the safety
of products. It is also a more effective method than animal testing. Recent
study evaluating the effectiveness of using cell culture to test skin care
product concluded effective and efficient across numerous applications
(Ramata-Stunda 173) Testing with donated human tissues utilizes tissues from
surgeries or voluntary donation. Those tissues can also be cultured in labs to
be used for testing. Besides providing a more accurate prediction than animal
models, testing using donated human tissues provides diversity which allows for
the study with different skin types that can further enhance the effectiveness
of such testing.

 

Human cell-based alternative is more
effective and cost efficient than animal testing in many ways. It minimizes the
biological differences that set limitations on animal models, thus providing a
more accurate prediction of human reaction. Results from human cell-based
testing is more applicable as cell cultures are less affected by confounding
lab environment variables. The results can also be concluded as safer because
the elimination of structural discrepancy that causes animals to react to
different chemicals than human. Growing cell culture is more cost effective
than animal testing. For example, to perform a skin corrosion test on rabbits
would cost $1800. If the test is done using human cell cultures, the cost would
be $500, which is only a fraction of the cost for animal testing (Humane
Society International). With the same amount of money that goes into animal
testing each year, tremendous advancement can be made by using human cell
alternatives. Human cell testing does not require the same amount of man labor
for maintenance in comparison to animals and can be replicated relatively
quicker. Tests that take weeks or months using animals can only take hours or
days when using cell culture (Doke & Dhawale). This allows for more
efficient testing and more resources to allocate to solving other problems.

Moreover, using human cell-based alternatives does not require the killing and
torturing of animals. They would not have to make pointless sacrifices for
inapplicable results.

 

Animal testing is ineffective in its failure to create
animal models that are representative to humans. Limitations exist in the
physiological difference between animal and humans. Results from animal testing
have too many confounding variables such as environmental factors and species
variations to establish validity. So it is not safe to base predictions off of
animal results given that differences between animal and human can lead to
contrasting reactions. Testing on animals also involves cruel treatment of
those animals. Millions of them die each year, yet their deaths does not
contribute to effectively provide safe cosmetic products. Animal testing is a
waste of money because it is expensive yet inapplicable for human use. Therefore,
cosmetics companies should replace animal testing with human cell-based
alternatives. Not only does the alternative uses human cells for more accurate
representation, it is more cost effective and efficient than animal testing and
can save millions of animals from dying.

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