Cosmetic Animal Testing

English 112
April 2, 1999 Page 1
Cosmetic Testing on Animals
When most people go to the store to purchase cosmetics and household cleaners they usually
don't put too much thought into it. Most people do not realize that 14 million animals die and
suffer each year for these products that are almost meaningless to humans. (Shah, abstract)
Cosmetic animal testing is a very big problem that gets greatly overlooked. It is a problem that
has lasted for centuries. As a matter of fact, according to the All for Animals Newsletter, animal
testing on cosmetics goes way back to the seventeenth century when animals were believed to
feel no pain. After it was proven that they could feel pain the testing stopped for a while.
However, it began again in 1933 when a woman died from a mascara. After that incident the
Food and Drug Administration passed an act for animal testing on cosmetics.(Issue 1) However,
that act is no longer in effect, but companies continue to test on animals.
There are several different types of tests used on animals each day. The two most common
ones are the Draize Test and the LD50. The Draize test is an eye test named after a man by the
name of John Draize. This test involves dropping a substance into an animal's eye and watching
the results.(All for Animals Newsletter, Issue 1) This test is usually preformed on albino rabbits,
and it is done by clipping their eyes back. The painful results of this test include swelling of the
eyelids, inflammation of the iris, ulceration, bleeding, blindness, and death resulting from broken
necks.(the animal breaks their neck in an attempt to get free). The LD50 or Lethal Dose 50 is
preformed by force-feeding a substance to a group of animals until fifty percent of them dies.
Substances may also be pumped into the animals stomach, injected under the skin, into a vein, or
into the lining of the abdomen. This test, as well as the Draize test, is preformed without
administering no kind of painkillers.(Shah, abstract) Many health professionals agree that these
tests are crude and imprecise. (Shah, abstract) However, many scientist agree that these tests are
vital in obtaining scientific test results that are reliable and accurate.(Health safety alliance,
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No matter what any scientist says about cosmetic animal testing, there are reliable
alternatives. As a matter of fact, some scientist have actually said that these alternatives are
faster, cheaper, and provide better information.( Health safety alliance, abstract) So what are
these alternatives? There are many of them. One very common one is the use of cell cultures,
which is artificially grown cell cultures that come from the upper part of the skin and they react
just like normal skin.(Chang, 1998) According to Prof. Hans Junginger, this is the easiest way to
test new ingredients as well as finished products. He also mentions that using these cultures will
save money as well as lives of animals.(abstract) Another popular alternative is the use of
corneas from eye banks. This, of course, replaces the Draize test. (Shah, abstract) The following
are some more effective alternatives given in issue 2 of the All for Animals Newsletter:
Eyetex: A test-tube procedure that measures eye irritancy via a protein alteration system.
This replaces the Draize test.
Skintex: A test-tube method to access skin irritancy that uses pumpkin rind to mimic the
reaction of a foreign substance on human skin.
Epi pack: Uses cloned human tissue to test potentially harmful substances.
Neutral Red Bioassey: Cultured human cells that are used to compute the absorption of a
water-soluble dye to measure relative toxicity.
Testskin: Human skin grown in plastic bags is used to test irritancy.
Topkat: computer software program that measures toxicity, mutagenicity, carcinogenicity,
and teratonogenicity.
So with all of these alternatives that are more cost effective, better predictors of human injury,
provide quicker results, and don't hurt animals: Why don't all companies use them? The answer
is that they have a fear for human safety and they fear product liability suits.
There are no laws that say cosmetics have to be tested on animals nor is there one that says that
they can't be tested. However, there is a good side. There are laws to regulate testing. In Britain,
these laws go way back to the 1876 Cruelty to Animals Act. This act set up a system of licensing
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and certification. This act was later replaced by the Animals Act of 1986. In the United States,
there is an Animal