The case for cosmetics animal testing

This is an issue I have been meaning to address but haven’t found enough information about it until recently. A bill has just been introduced in Congress that will outlaw the use of animals in cosmetics testing. South Korea and Europe have banned the use of animals for cosmetics testing and efforts on the part of animal rights activists in other countries have attempted to highlight this issue. For example, in 2012 a woman in Great Britain subjected herself to methods allegedly used in testing animals for cosmetics. The proposed legislation is based on the assumption that animals are cruelly treated when used to test them for cosmetics. However, as a Fashionista article points out, nothing could be further from the truth and, I have no doubt, the methods PETA alleges are used on animal in cosmetics testing are not true either. As Fashionista explains:

Contrary to some of the propaganda you see out there, most beauty companies really do want to be able to move away from animal testing. Pretty much every expert I spoke to on both sides of the issue agreed on this point. Animal testing is expensive, it can be imprecise, and to take a cynical view, it can also be a PR nightmare for a company. Brands like Caudalie and Urban Decay discovered this a few years ago when they announced plans to sell in China, a country which has a mandatory animal testing law for cosmetics. The public backlash was brutal.

The U.S. has many resources committed to researching alternatives to animal testing. The Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT) at Johns Hopkins is at the forefront of the science, and it receives funding from private cosmetics companies, philanthropy and grants from governmental agencies like the NIH. Thanks to the CAAT’s research, there are a number of tests that can substitute for animal testing now. “We have progress on eye irritation, skin irritation, skin erosion, and phototoxicity. Skin sensitization is coming soon,” Dr. Thomas Hartung, the director of the CAAT, says. But there are limitations. According to Perry Romanowski, a cosmetic chemist and a co-founder of The Beauty Brains, there are no laboratory tests yet that can replicate the results of what happens when a chemical is inhaled (although Dr. Hartung says there has been promising research on artificial lungs coming out of Harvard) or to predict whether a substance will cause cancer, for example.

The article goes on to point out that most beauty companies purchase chemicals from companies other than in the beauty industry (such as pharmaceutical and manufacturing) that may have tested on animals. An example being anti-aging skin care additives are used in cosmetics that hail from pharmaceutical businesses. Animal testing does allow companies to innovate with new skin care and other scented products. If animal testing for cosmetics were banned completely, as one cosmetic chemist points out, companies would keep their products the same but the packaging would change along with the price. Companies, like L’Oreal and Avon, do reserve the right to test on animals stating there are times they have to. In light of their need to innovate, who could blame them?

Fortunately, it doesn’t look like that a ban on animal testing for cosmetics will happen here anytime soon. For those of you who prefer so-called cruelty-free cosmetics, Leaping Bunny has a rigorous certification process. The whole issue of animal testing (be it for cosmetics or medicines) comes down to not if companies or governments must do it but if they have the right to. Like I have stressed many times in the past, I do not condone animal cruelty, but (like it or not) animals are a resource like many others on our planet. As a species we have a right to use the Earth’s resources as we see fit. In this case it is to use animals so that people can enhance their lives with perfumes, colognes and other cosmetics. Restricting the right to use animals only restricts the rights of humans.

19 thoughts on “The case for cosmetics animal testing

  1. What rights of humans are these specifically? The right to wear lipstick? The right to use shampoo? These are not rights but desires, and they are desires that are clearly trivial when compared with the rights of animals to be free from pain. Don’t confuse habits with rights.

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    • Thank you for participating. A habit is a learned manner of behavior followed until it has become a custom or regular practice. Depending on its context it can be a good or bad thing. The good is that which enhances human life, the bad is when it negates it. A habit is not the same as a right. A right, on the other hand, is a moral principle defining a person’s freedom of action in a social context. The basis of rights is the right to life in which a man or woman will act to preserve and enhance their lives.

      Rights are not in the sense a claim on the life of another but rather geared to preserving and enhancing human life. Mankind has a moral right to bend nature as he or she chooses in order to live and prosper. Attempts to implement rights to animals will negate human life since animals not only do not have the morality of humans but also lack the capacity of deliberation and choice we have.

      In order for a being to have rights it must have the capacity of deliberation and choice or reason like humans do. Unlike humans, animals survive mainly by predatory instincts.

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  2. These are our human rights: http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/
    They are very specific. We do not have a right to do whatever the heck we want. Cosmetics are not essential for survival or prosperity, so they cannot be deemed a right.

    In what sense do you believe mankind has a moral right to bend nature to suit it? The desire for survival or prosperity is not the basis of a moral argument.

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    • I never said cosmetics were a right but commerce is an extension of individual rights since they are also legal methods along with philosophical and moral principles that help define human behavior. Hence, cosmetic research is a form of commerce in addition to science and people are and should be free to use animals for testing (be it for cosmetics or medicine).

      The United Nations is not only wrong but is reflective of the majoritarian nature of the world body. Governments are created to protect individual rights, the United Nations is not only not created for that purpose but is (in theory) a deliberative body geared to preserving world peace. However, it is mostly made up of dictatorships that use the body in order to attempt to gang up on free countries like the US and those of Europe. Things have gotten so bad there, Norway just recently complained about how the UN has degenerated into a democracy of dictatorships.

      http://blog.unwatch.org/index.php/2014/10/27/norway-speaks-out-against-dictators-controlling-un/

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  3. You said: “we have a right as a species to use the Earth’s resources as we see fit. In this case it is to use animals so that people can enhance their lives with perfumes, colognes and other cosmetics.” You’re saying the use of cosmetics is a right.

    Whatever right to commerce can be implied, we still have a responsibility to operate ethically. When profits are placed before ethics, we no longer have a moral justification. You say cosmetic companies have a need to innovate, and they may well say that, but do you really think we need hundreds of brands marketing different variations of essentially the same cosmetic product? It’s clearly not necessary for the consumer to have such a range of choice, so cosmetic developers are motivated by profit.

    The UN is not a perfect organisation, but if my basic human rights were ever infringed, I’d be glad it exists.

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    • The vast majority of people will act ethically when left to their own devices. Those that do not are punished by governments in the form of police forces or courts. In the case of the UN, it may have been a body geared toward world peace and wanting to secure the rights of man but its declaration and intent has degenerated into a policy statement due to its internal rot. Profits are a necessary component not just of capitalism but of the right to life since profit is also defined in the sense as to how people benefit from trading their skills for currency or other items of value.

      It is not, however, ethical to value the life of an animal that lacks any sense of morality or ethics over a human. You can but it is ultimately at the detriment of your own and perhaps someone else. In terms of cosmetics the right we have as a species is the right to life in which capitalism is an extension of that. Consequently, using animals for testing helps us achieve that goal. I did not say cosmetics is a right the right I express is a moral one in which, as I said earlier, rights are moral principles. If people want to use products that have not been tested on animals, fine by me. Just don’t think your ethics should be imposed on others. Also, as the article I cite points out, companies still get their products from others that use animal tests in places where the practice is directly banned.

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  4. I do not accept that valuing animal life is a detriment to my life or anyone else’s. Devaluing non-human animal life is nothing but speciesist bias, and that’s not a moral reason to inflict suffering.

    We should not determine the value of a being in terms of its capacity for reason. It doesn’t matter whether the lab rat is intelligent or not; the only thing we should take into consideration when attempting to justify animal use in research is whether or not it can feel pain.

    You are equating capitalism with survival, which are not the same thing. We have no entitlement to profit – that’s a luxury, not a right. Profit does not justify suffering.

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    • Rights are not based on a being’s ability to feel pain but on a being’s ability to think. The claim that “I feel pain, therefore I have rights” is specious at best since there have been studies done that show even plants feel pain when extracted from the ground. Therefore, do you and your other animal “rights” activists plan on becoming advocates for plant “rights” too? It is because of mankind’s ability to think and reason that make humans nature’s favored species. That is why we have the civilization we have. Yet you seemingly want to tear it down with your advocacy to champion beings that not only can’t reason like humans but have no sense of morality.

      Capitalism isn’t just about survival but recognizing our moral ability to live, survive and (most importantly) prosper. In terms of suffering I have never condoned nor do I advocate animal abuse. However, in terms not just of philosophy but including ethics. Animals not only lack the capacity of reason but also any sense of morality. It’s not a matter if we must do it but if we should be able to. As the article I cite points out companies would like to move away from testing on animals. However, there are times when they have to. Same goes in terms of medical research.

      The worst part about groups like PETA and ALF is that they lie in order to see to it a specific activity involving animals is halted. Be it animal testing, using animals for food or even domestic purposes. All of which I have said is documented in the archives of this website.

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      • There is no scientific evidence to suggest plants feel pain They do not have a nervous system and they do not behave as if they feel pain. No sensible person is campaigning for plants’ rights. You inferred a claim “‘I feel pain, therefore I have rights'”, though actually it is legitimate to claim ‘I feel pain, therefore I have the right to freedom from pain.’

        You are anthropomorphising nature when you say “mankind is nature’s favoured species.” Your evidence? Civilization attests to mankind’s development and, frankly, the environmental damage caused by development would not make us nature’s bff.

        The fact that there are many high streets brands not using animal testing demonstrates that there is a viable alternative to animal tested products. China and others still insist on animal testing for most products, but companies can choose not to sell in China.

        You say animal rights activists value animals over humans, but that’s not the case. No one is asking for animal rights over humans, but an equality of rights for oppressed species. It is possible to live harmoniously with nature. You do not seem to realise that human beings are animals.

        Of course I would not offer myself as a test subject for cosmetics or even medical research. I would not offer any human or sentient being to needlessly suffer in such a barbaric way. And, if I cannot morally condone human testing, then I can’t justify animal testing.

        You seem overly worried that the end of animal testing would mean an end to women’s ability to enhance their appearance. The fact that you place this above animal suffering suggests to me that you not only a dangerous speciesist but also a sexist.

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      • There are studies that show plants do feel pain. Once source is this:

        http://www.theguardian.com/notesandqueries/query/0,,-83446,00.html

        So, I will be curious to find out if plant rights are next on your list of causes to champion. If you are vegan with this study in mind, that makes you a killer. The fact is humans are doing a much better job at keeping the environment cleaner than it ever has been.

        It is not a legitimate claim for pain to be the basis of rights. John Locke cleared up what Descartes said. Locke pointed out that in order for a being to have rights they have to have the capacity for reason (i.e. deliberation and choice) in order to understand if they have rights and what a right is. Also, the fact that you resort to ad hominems (speciesist and sexist) shows you lack confidence in your position.

        By default your ethics do favor animals over humans since your equating animals and humans as being the same is a degeneration of what rights are to be virtually nothing. Consequently, that spells the end of civilization. As John Locke indirectly points out, rights are by and for humans. Not animals.

        In terms of animal testing for cosmetics it is not a matter of beauty as much as if it should be up to the companies involved in the effort to make cosmetics if they deem animal testing necessary. And, no, because a company chooses not to use animal testing for cosmetics doesn’t mean there are alternatives since many still reserve the right to do so. Same with using animals in medical tests. There are times there are no alternative. End that option and it can spell the end not only of beauty products but it will spell the end of much needed medical research for therapies and medicines that keep people alive.

        Like I said, animals have no sense of morality yet you want to grant the same legal rights of a human to a being that is amoral. It goes back to what I said that people like yourself prefer the savagery of the animal kingdom over the civilization of mankind.

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  5. The very notion of *supporting* animal testing for cosmetics, the use of which have no basis in need, is ludicrous. That Beauty Without Cruelty and Honesty Cosmetics (amongst others) have successfully been in business for over thirty years, displays how redundant the pro-animal testing lobby is.

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    • Companies have their reasons for using animals for testing and they have a right to conduct such activities. I find it irrational and at the same time alarming that you would prefer the savagery of the animal kingdom over the civilization of mankind.

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      • I never said that I would ‘prefer the savagery of the animal kingdom over the civilisation of mankind’, so I’m not quite sure how you have derived that interpretation. Besides, cosmetics are in no way an ‘essential’ part of civilisation, so the pro-animal testing argument has already been lost. By what stretch of the imagination does testing cosmetics on animals enhance human civilisation?

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      • That is the end result and ultimate basis of so-called animal “rights” philosophy. Animal “rights” groups and activists value the animals over humans. Hence the civilization of mankind must be sacrificed, if not outright destroyed, for the greater glory of nature. In this case animals.

        The issue of animal testing (be it for cosmetics or medicine) is not about must manufacturers do it but should they have the right to. The answer unequivocally is “yes”.

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      • It is a human made thing to give “rights” and to take “rights” away. Why the fuck can’t we just leave all other beings/people/animals alone, and stop causing (especially direct) harm to them? Animal rights activists usually value both human and animal life. I wouldn’t test potentially harmful ingredients on a human, and I wouldn’t do it on an animal. I wouldn’t keep a human locked in a cage, nor would I an animal. It IS ludicrous to suggest that humans have the right to cause harm to other beings just to further advance the personal care products we use. Cosmetics and hygiene products have absolutely nothing to do with civilization since we already have so many options when it comes to these things. Every company can choose to forgo animal testing, and ethics dictate that they do so. It is not a human “right” to purposely harm anyone.

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      • The facts speak otherwise. There have been numerous instances of staff members of medical labs who have been attacked by ALF and other animal activists. Also, see the articles I posted about how much more violent overall animal “rights” activists have become.

        In terms of animal testing it is necessary in order for companies to offer good beauty products for women and even men. To end that practice can mean less means for people to enhance their looks. Ultimately, animal “rights” is just an excuse for a group of people to make excuses in order to not just hate humanity but also themselves. I would be curious if any of you would be willing to offer yourselves as test subjects for cosmetics or even medical testing should the option of using animals be outlawed.

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  6. Your link doesn’t work. The url includes ‘queries’ – are you expecting me to accept anecdotal evidence? Plants react biologically/chemically to stimuli. They do not have a nervous system to register pain in the way that we understand it.

    I only claim that the ability to feel pain necessitates the right to freedom from pain. It is specific to pain. According to your logic, mentally disabled people should not have rights because they do not possess reason.

    I call your argument speciesist because it is biased towards your own species and therefore has no objective logic. I have full confidence in my own position because I am not resorting to a bias.

    You keep attributing individual rights to corporations, which do not have the same legal rights as humans.

    Morality is subjective and is not a pre requisite for human rights. Altruism and kinship are clearly evident in the animal kingdom.

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    • It wasn’t anecdotal when you present evidence to me, is it? Look it up for yourself and you cannot ignore the evidence that has now been uncovered that plants also feel pain. Your logic does not make the distinction in how a living organism feels pain since your logic is based on the idea that “I feel pain, therefore I have rights.”

      In terms of the mentally ill and incapacitated they have a right to life but fortunately there are social workers and next of kin who can go to court and get an appointment to be a guardian for any said individual incapacitated. There is always the possibility that the mentally disabled can be cured of their affliction.

      It’s obvious you don’t have confidence in your position since you feel a need to argue or make your case on my website. You notice I haven’t done so on yours? I have successfully answered your arguments but you are still intent on pushing your views down my throat. It won’t work and your overall world view is already invalidated by your claim that morality is subjective (it is not) and altruism and kinship are evident in the animal kingdom since an animal’s means of survival is based on predatory instinct. If you are so confident that the animal kingdom is so beneficial then go live in the jungles of Africa or in the Sonoran desert without any protective means and see how altruistic the animals in those places treat you.

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