Beauty Comes with a Price

According to Statistica, more than 86 BILLION dollars were spent last year in the U.S on cosmetics, fragrances, and personal care products, proving that beauty truly does come with a price. Not only does it come with a price for the consumer; it comes with a price for thousands of innocent animals. You may have assumed that most major cosmetics companies have discontinued animal testing on their products, and that is definitely not true. For instance, Loreal, which doesn’t test on animals in the United States, pays for deadly testing in China, Estee Lauder and Maybelline both do testing on animals, and after years of upholding its policy to never test on animals, Victoria’s Secret has expanded sales to China and is now paying for cruel tests on animals in order to sell its products there.

Toxicity tests to estimate the safety of products and chemicals were developed in the early 20th century, including experiments that subjectively measure the irritation of chemicals in animals’ eyes, some of which are regrettably still in use today. Toxicologists often mention that they feel more comfortable basing their judgments on methods with historical contest and data than on data from new and emerging methods, failing to recognize the advances made in non-animal testing methodologies. The problem with animal tests is that many of the toxicity tests that are currently accepted by regulatory agencies were developed decades ago. Tests on animals are not always predictive of human health effects, and science has greatly advanced since the development of the animal tests that are still in use today. According to Human Society International, animals used in experiments are commonly subjected to force feeding, forced inhalation, food and water deprivation, prolonged periods of physical restraint, the infliction of burns and other wounds to study the healing process, These cruel and inhumane tests are done discreetly behind closed doors, away from the public eye. The USDA admitted that in 2016, more than 70,000 animals suffered pain during experiments.

The fact is that drugs that pass animal testing are not necessarily human-safe. In the 1950’s the sleeping pill thalidomide, which caused more than 10,000 babies to be born with severe deformities, was animal tested. The arthritis drug Vioxx showed that it had a protective effect on animals, yet the drug went on to cause thousands of heart attacks and sudden cardiac deaths before being pulled off the market.

Animal tests do not reliably predict results in humans; in fact, more than 90% of drugs that pass animal tests fail in human clinical trials. A study in Archives of Toxicology states that there is strong doubt on the usefulness of animal data as key technology to predict human safety. Animal tests are also more expensive than alternative methods which are quicker, and more accurate. According to Senator Jeff Flake’s “Wastebook” of government funding more than 7 million taxpayers’ money was wasted on unnecessary studies involving animals in 2016.

Most experiments involving animals are flawed, wasting the lives of animal subjects. As English philosopher Jeremy wrote, “The question is not, can they reason, but can they suffer?” Animals are suffering in research labs across the country. The Animal Welfare Act has not prevented horrific cases of animal abuse in laboratories, but medical breakthroughs have been made without the use of animals. Many discoveries have been made by non-animal methods, making alternatives to animal testing more effective, more reliable, and more humane.

Most cosmetic brands are owned by a few giant corporations including L’Oreal, Estee Lauder, Proctor and Gamble, Clorox, Johnson & Johnson, S.C. Johnson, Colgate Palmolive, and Unilever, and seemingly are making no real efforts to change their unethical policies. It is difficult, if not impossible, to obtain factual information from any of these corporations, and only when there is a large public outcry against these practices, will things change. Do a little research BEFORE you purchase personal care products. You may be appalled at what you discover (if you dig deep enough to get actual , factual info).

Unseen they suffer; unheard they cry; in loneliness they linger; in agony they die.