Mary Etheredge, Prof. Adj.
30, March 2015
Paper 4: Research Paper
Animal Testing for Cosmetic Use
Mary Etheredge. Prof. Adj.
30 March 2015
Animal Testing for Cosmetic Use
According to The Animal Experimentation Debate: a Reference Handbook over 100 million animals – including mice, rats, frogs, dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters, monkeys, fish and birds- are killed each year for cosmetic use. The real question is, when did animal testing for cosmetics start? The first enormous breakthrough came in 1922 when animal testing was allowed for insulin to be isolated from dogs. Prior to this isolation, individuals with diabetes essentially withered away from the metabolic effects of uncontrolled high blood sugar. Shortly after, in the 1930s, modern anesthetics and antibiotics were developed from the use of animal testing. The 1950s saw animal testing aiding in the development of vaccines. The other developments related to animal testing that occurred throughout the rest of the century include many potent cancer drugs as well as drugs for HIV. In 1996 came the notorious cloning of Dolly the sheep. Animal testing peaked mostly during the 1980s and has since been on the decline. The decline is primarily due to increased regulations that make it more difficult to gain approval for animal testing. Animal testing on cosmetics is still a relatively new concept, given that this type of testing only began in the first quarter of the twentieth century. After an incident where a woman's personal use of a mascara darkener went awry, causing her to become blind, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) passed the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act in 1938.
The Animal Experimental Debate: a Reference Handbook defines animal testing as: “procedures performed on living animals for purposes of research into basic biology and diseases, assessing the effectiveness of new medicinal products, and testing the human health and/or environmental safety of consumer and industry products such as cosmetics, household cleaners, food additives, pharmaceuticals and industrial/agro-chemicals.” All procedures, even those classified as “mild,” have the potential to cause the animal’s physical as well as psychological distress and suffering. Often the procedures can cause a great deal of suffering. Most animals are killed at the end of an experiment, but some may be re-used in subsequent experiments. The most common procedures include: forced chemical exposure in toxicity testing, which can include oral force-feeding, forced inhalation, skin or injection into the abdomen, muscle, etc., food and water deprivation and infliction of wounds, burns and other injuries to study healing.
Most people think animal testing for cosmetic use involves simply putting mascara on a bunny and it’s not nearly as harsh as typical animal testing for medical research, but that’s completely wrong. People also commonly think animal testing on cosmetics is required. First off, “cosmetics” includes much more than just make-up. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defines cosmetics as "articles intended to be applied to the human body for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance without affecting the body's structure or functions." Examples include skin cream, perfume, lipstick, nail polish, eye and facial makeup, shampoo, and hair color. Not only are “cosmetics” typically mis-defined, it is in no way required to test cosmetic on animals. The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (regulated by the Food and Drug Administration) prohibits the sale of mislabeled and "adulterated" cosmetics, but does not require that animal tests be conducted to demonstrate that the cosmetics are safe. Companies can easily ensure the safety of their products by choosing to create them using the thousands of ingredients that have a long history of safe use. There are