Scientists speak about cosmetic animal testing

A couple weeks ago, we were contacted by a student who was working on a science project about cosmetic animal testing. She gave us a few interesting questions which we thought we would pass along here.

Seeking Student Says…Could you answer the following questions about animal testing for my school science project?

Left Brain Responds:

Animal testing ban?

1. Do you think that animal testing for cosmetics should be banned? Explain.

While I don’t like animal testing, there are currently no suitable alternatives for some types of tests. I don’t think animal testing should be banned until there are alternative tests that help prove products are safe.

Medicine versus Cosmetics

2. Should animal testing be banned for cosmetics, but still be allowed for medicine?

Animal testing is not something that anyone wants to do. We scientists feel the same affection for animals as everyone else. (I love my cat!) But until alternative tests are better developed, banning animal testing for either cosmetics or medicine seems unethical. All life is sacred, but human lives are more sacred than animal lives.

EU and Animals

3. The European Union has recently agreed to a ban on animal testing for cosmetics said to happen in 2009. Do you agree with their decision? What could be the Pros. and Cons. of this decision?

I don’t agree or disagree with the decision made by the EU. The truth is cosmetics are not vital for living a healthy life. The result of banning animal testing will be that no new cosmetic products will be made. All you will get in the future are color & bottle changes using the same products you have today. Cosmetic innovation will stop. Solutions to acne, dandruff, dry skin, frizzy hair, etc. will not be developed. Fortunately, the products available now are often good enough. If these problems were never solved and there were never a new cosmetic made, the world would be just fine.

However, it seems strange people get upset about animal testing, but still eat meat, kill mice & rats, and wear leather products.

Pros of a ban: fewer animals will be killed

Cons of a ban: Cosmetic problems will not be solved, no new ingredients will be used, innovation stops

Naturally better?

4. Would you rather use cosmetics made with natural ingredients (that don’t need to be tested), or with toxic ingredients that have been tested?

It is not true that natural ingredients do not need to be tested. ALL ingredients in cosmetics have been tested on animals. Whether they are natural or not doesn’t matter. Chemistry is not as simple as classifying ingredients as “toxic” or “natural”. We’ve done a variety of posts on natural ingredients that can kill you.

Natural ingredients to avoid

Water can kill you

When it comes to chemicals exposure level is what’s important. Sometimes small amounts of “toxic” ingredients are safer than large amounts of “non-toxic” ingredients.

Do You Use?

5. Do you use cosmetics products that have been tested on animals? Would you think twice about using these products, or even try to reduce or stop using them?

Yes I do. So do you. Everyone uses products that have ingredients that were tested on animals. It is a lie when companies say they don’t test on animals. ALL cosmetics have been tested directly or indirectly on animals.

The truth is, very few cosmetic companies directly test their products on animals. Animal testing is expensive and terrible for public relations. Companies who say they don’t test on animals either use ingredients that were already tested on animals or have their raw material suppliers do the animal testing. They can argue that they never tested their formula on animals (which they technically don’t) because they know they are using only raw materials that have already been tested on animals (by someone else).

Since all ingredients have been tested on animals, there does not seem to me to be any moral high ground to avoiding companies based on whether they claim to test on animals or not.

Animal Testing Ended?

6. With all the efforts to stopping animal testing for cosmetics, do you think that it’s possible to one day completely get rid of animal testing for cosmetics?

Yes, I believe one day animal testing of cosmetics will be a thing of the past. Everyone wants to get rid of this type of testing. No one wants to hurt animals. Scientists are working hard to create testing alternatives that work. We are just now seeing some tests that are receiving approval from governmental agencies. I believe withing 10 – 20 years animal testing of cosmetics will be practically non-existent. But until there are reliable testing alternatives (there aren’t yet) animal testing will still be necessary.

What are your thoughts on cosmetic animal testing? Does it affect your decision when deciding what products to buy? Leave a comment and let the rest of the Beauty Brains community know.