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A cosmetic is “a substance that you put on your face or body to improve appearance” (“Cosmetics”). Testing cosmetics on animals has been a long standing issue, and the controversy has grown, mainly because millions of animals die each year in the name of “looking good.” Cosmetics are not vital for human survival, and therefore testing them should not endanger the lives and livelihoods of animals.There are many technological alternatives to animals testing that are not only more reliable than crude animal techniques, but are also less expensive and take less time to complete. Testing skin irritants on rabbits identified a 40% error rate, while doing the same test on a culture of human skin cells revealed a success rate of 100% (“Animals in Science / Alternatives”). This means that 40% of certifiably safe beauty products are technically not safe to use. Some of these animals tests can take years to complete at the cost of millions of dollars to companies. According to “Review of Evidence of Environmental Impacts of Animal Research and Testing”, the cost to test 300 new chemicals “using traditional animal toxicity tests” was $2 billion, and took approximately 30 years to complete, while using an alternative “automated in vitro test with equal or greater predictive value” took only 5 years (Groff, et al). Testing cosmetics can be a slow process, but instituting alternatives can cut the time down dramatically. Even federal agencies, like the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), are required to support and fund the development of alternative methods to animal testing (Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition). With the amount of support and funding alternatives get, there is no doubt that they will continue to develop and become more prominent in the industry. Considering everything from the benefits of alternatives to the support alternatives get, it seems much easier to abstain from the use of animals in cosmetic testing.Animal testing also generates huge amounts of toxic waste that is dangerous and expensive to dispose of. Research shows that in 18 months alone, a laboratory can produce up to 1.5 million pounds of animal waste, such as: food, bedding, excrement, and animals. According to the New England Anti-Vivisection Society, “a standard series of toxicity tests may use upwards of 6,000 to 12,000 animals who may be held and dosed with chemicals or drugs for months or years.” Eventually, all of these chemicals will be introduced to the environment. Incineration and decomposition of animal carcasses, animals bedding, and animal excrement release toxic chemicals like dioxin, mercury, and lead into our atmosphere and soil, impacting air and water quality (Groff, et al). If millions of animals are dosed with chemicals every year, the amount of toxins introduced to the environment is completely unacceptable. The disposal of animals is not the only process that impacts the environment. The agricultural processes used to produce food for the animals have also been linked to environmental damage; over an 18 month period, one lab spent half a million dollars on animal feed alone (Shroff). People cannot continue to justify cosmetic testing as beneficial. Even though animals are exposed to chemicals on a daily basis as a means to help humans, humans are also being harmed in the process.Animal testing does harm to millions of animals every year, who are living, breathing animals just like humans, and should not be poisoned and killed so inhumanely. The Animal Welfare Act of 1966 requires laboratories to have Institutional Animal Care Facilities, which make sure alternatives are used whenever possible, and use, “the minimum number of animals and employ the most humane methods available within the limits of scientific capability” (“Alternatives to Animal Testing”). The act is an important step, but alternatives are still not fully integrated into the industry. Test animals live bleak, pain-filled lives, repeatedly being injected and pumped full of chemicals in cramped cages (“Makeup Tested on Animals?”). Animals will continue to be used in testing unless something is done, even though it is equivalent to abuse and torture. Cosmetics are about improving appearances, not improving health or quality of life (Murnaghan). Using animals to test cosmetics is unethical, just like abusing a pet dog or cat for enjoyment is considered a crime. Animals in the industry will continue to suffer, unless something is done to reduce, replace, or remove these cruel methods.If all of this true, then why are there still supporters out there, why support animal testing at all? Well, supporters of animal testing like to say that the FDA requires all products to be safe, no matter what the methods. According to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act of 1938 (FD&C Act), the FDA requires whatever testing is, “appropriate and effective for substantiating the safety of their products”. However, the FDA does not require animal testing on its products. They condone the use of alternatives, and and even goes as far as to criticize and put restrictions on companies that require animal testing on their products (CFSAN). It might also be said that animals are more reliable than these so-called “alternatives”.  For example, cats are used to study aging, something a machine simply cannot simulate (“What Is Animal Research?”). Tests have also yet to reliably predict what will happen in the act of inhaling a chemical (Wischhover). But, there are over 100 internationally accepted alternative methods (Ward). These methods include, but are not limited to, in vitro (cell based) testing that can reliably predict human reactions, and a developing artificial lung test that can be used to simulate inhalation (Wischhover). The act of subjecting animals to cosmetic testing is simply unjustifiable.Significant strides have been made in abolishing animal testing; countries such as the UK and Australia have even successfully issued bans (Murnaghan). Cosmetic testing is obviously harmful, not only toward animals, but to the environment as well. The act of exposing animals to toxic chemicals is despicable and unethical, and completely unjustifiable. Cosmetics testing should become and remain cruelty free once and for all.

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