Animal Testing Cosmetics and Toiletries Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Animal Testing: Cosmetics and Toiletries

Animal testing is the use of non-human animals in a variety of experiments (Wikipedia, 2005)

Many experiments aim to test certain substances to determine their effect on humans, or to test medical or psychological hypotheses. Animal testing is a very controversial and well-researched topic. Proponents and opponents constantly argue over both ethical concerns and the effectiveness of the practice of using animals for scientific research.

The term "vivisection" is now used as a blanket term for all animal experiments, although it originally only referred to those that involved cutting the animals (Wikipedia, 2005)

Many dictionaries and encyclopedias now use the term "vivisection" to describe any type of animal experiment that causes suffering, whether it involves cutting or not, although those animal experimentors dislike this trend as they feel that "vivisection" is a term that spurs emotion (Croce, 1991).

For many years, people have debated on the topic of animal testing and the moral implications involved with this procedure (Wikipedia, 2005). Some argue that the perceived benefits to humans is outweighed by the moral issues. Research advocates in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries argue that humans in some parts of the world maintain a better standard of living, in terms of their health and well-being, due to advances in health and manufacturing knowledge derived from animal testing. Opponents of animal testing argue that that testing, especially testing for non-medical substances, is excessive and unnecessary, causing a great loss of animal life and inflicting suffering for the diminished pursuit of producing non-vital, socially irrelevant products, like perfumes, cosmetics, and toiletries.

Vivisection, the practice of experimenting on animals, started as a result of religious prohibitions against the dissection of human corpses (WAVA, 2005). By the time these prohibitions were taken away, the practice of animal vivisection for medical, cosmetic and military purposes, had become common practice in various institutions around the world.

Animals are subjected to tremendous suffering for the sake of science and technological advancement (WAVA, 2005). Estimates of animals tortured and killed in U.S. scientific laboratories range from 17 to 70 million per year.

Many people see animal experimentation as a cruel and unnecessary process (WAVA, 2005). Millions of innocent animals are tortured for the benefit of research, while results obtained from experimenting on animals are often unreliable and inapplicable to the human race.

There have been many cases that illustrate the absurdity of assuming that humans and animals are sufficiently similar, biologically, for experimentation (WAVA, 2005). For example, morphine relaxes humans but excites cats, cortisone causes birth defects in mice but not in humans, penicillin kills guinea pigs and hamsters and aspirin poisons cats. Thus, it is apparent that animals and humans cannot be adequately compared for research purposes.

Cosmetic testing on animals

Of all the areas in which animal testing is performed, the area more criticized is the cosmetic industry (Wikipedia, 2005). A great deal of time and money is spent on the controversy over animal testing to determine the safety of cosmetic products to human consumers. Many people feel it is unethical to harm or kill animals for the sake of human vanity.

Cosmetic testing on animals includes the following practices

"Testing a finished cosmetic product (e.g. lipstick) on animals (see below for examples of toxicity tests);

Testing individual ingredients of cosmetic products on animals;

Testing any combination of ingredients on animals;

Contracting a third-party company to perform any of the above tests;

Using a subsidiary or third-party company to perform any of the above tests in countries where animal testing is not banned."


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