By Alondra Cotto
Have you ever asked yourself, how many animals are killed each year in American laboratories? According to PETA, an activist group that fights to protect animals, more than 100 million animals die testing food, drugs, chemicals, cosmetics and medical products; some of the animals that suffer are mice, rats, rabbits, hamsters, monkeys, fish, frogs, dogs, cats, and birds.
Most of the animals are exposed to horrible and traumatizing treatments. Animals should not be used to test the safety of beauty products because it physically exploits animals, violates animals’ rights, and there are better ways to make beauty products safe.
The most important reason to ban animal testing for beauty products is that animals are physically exploited. Animal testing can cause animals to collapse and die. When scientists test animals they may make them inhale toxic scents, inject them with different liquids or pour drops of chemicals into their eyes, all to try to make a product safe for people. Most of the animals do not survive, and even if they do, scientists may not take proper care of the animals leaving them to die (“Animal Testing Facts and Statistics” 2). Likewise, animals are exposed to many injuries. In “How You Can Save Ralph,” an article in All Animals Magazine in Summer 2021, readers learned about a film called Save Ralph. The film starts with a rabbit that works as a “tester” for beauty products. Ralph the rabbit is played by a puppet. “In the film, painful experiments have left Ralph blind in one eye and suffering from other ailments, but he says he’s just doing his job” (“How You Can Help Save Ralph” 10). The film director wanted people to feel Ralph’s suffering by saying that everything was OK when it was not because every time the rabbit appeared, he was more gravely injured. This video is an excellent example of the suffering of many animals that work as testers for beauty products.
Furthermore, animals have rights and animal testing violates them. Animals have conscience and feelings. “Over the past few decades, the science of animal cognition has changed people’s understanding of other species. In several studies, researchers have discovered emotions, intelligence and behavior once thought to belong exclusively to humans” (“Do They Have Rights? Animals in Court” 1). Even though animals have emotions, the law changes slowly, and continues treating animals as property. According to “Do They Have Rights? Animals in Courts, ” in animal testing, animals suffer and cannot choose not to participate. If you ask an animal if he wants to go to a laboratory to test the safety of beauty products, the animal will not be able to respond and decide yes or no. Even though animals like dogs or cats, which are usually friendly to people can react to affection and treats, they will not be able to defend themselves if scientists stab them with needles and hurt them. This must not happen, and we should not keep animals in places they do not want to be.
Some people believe that animal testing has helped save many human lives, yet there are better ways to ensure people’s safety, especially related to cosmetics. “Technology could allow us, in the very near future, to move chronic drug experiments from animals’ models to their novel human in vitro models,” said James J Hickman, the chief scientist for Hesperos. (“Human-on-a-Chip Could Reduce Animal Testing for Drugs and Cosmetics” 1). Human in vitro models are when human cells from the organs, skeletal and nervous system can keep their viability in the laboratory for 28 days, allowing scientists to experiment with them. Computer modeling is another innovative scientific advancement to help reduce animal testing. Many options are being created to stop the need for animal testing. In addition, we are in an extremely advanced era in which many products have already been tested. Existing products could help science to make improved products without the need to test new ones and ensure animals’ lives.
Despite these advances, animals are still being used to test the safety of beauty products. This is totally unnecessary; it violates animals’ rights, and there are numerous different ways to test the safety of products without animals. There are many countries that have already banned the testing of cosmetics. There is a growing list of 37 countries taking a stand to start banning or limiting the sale of beauty products tested on animals (Sharp 26). Animal testing should be suspended in all countries. Using cruelty free products is a great way to support the movement and to save animals’ lives.
“Animal Testing Facts and Statistics” PETA, 9 Feb. 2022.
“Attendees Learn About Methods to Replace Animal Testing.” Good Medicine, vol. 30, no. 2, Spring 2021, p. 17.
“Do They Have Rights? Animals in Court.” The Economist, vol. 429, no. 9123, 22 Dec. 2018, p. 84(US).
“How You Can Help Save Ralph: Inspiring Film Illustrates the Need to End Cosmetics Testing on Animals.” All Animals, Summer 2021, pp. 10–11.
“Human-on-a-Chip Could Reduce Animal Testing for Drugs and Cosmetics.” Good Medicine, vol. 28, no. 2, Spring 2019, p. 4.
Sharp, Michael “It’s Time to Go Cruelty-Free Because They’re Worth it Nearly 40 Countries Have Banned Cosmetics Testing on Animals. What are we Waiting for?” All Animals, vol. 19, no. 6, Nov. 2017, pp. 26–29.
Course: ESL 162, Spring 2022
Instructor: Linda Cocchiola
Instructor comments: Alondra demonstrated an essential skill in writing and research: the ability to integrate information from multiple sources to support her argument against animal testing for cosmetic products. She used magazine articles — research we’d expect from a library database search. But she also used an article about an online video which she was able to watch to deepen her understanding of the issue. Alondra’s writing also demonstrates how a writer can combine a counter-argument and refutation as further evidence to support an argument. Her essay demonstrates that the pieces of an argument essay all work together; they do not stand alone.
Photo credit: “Stop animal testing – cosmetics industry” by Time’s Up! Environmental Organization (Creative Commons)