Is Animal Testing Necessary In Cosmetics & Medical Devices?
Animals are used often in the testing of drugs, antibodies, and other biological products and clinical devices, mainly as testing before human trials.
For drugs and biologics, the focus of Animal testing in cosmetics on the science and impacts of drugs (pharmacology) and its potential harm to the body (toxicology). According to the FDA, animal testing is used to quantify:
- The amount of medicine or biologic that is taken, and how much is absorbed into the blood.
- How the elements are broken down in the body
- The toxicity of the elements and it’s broken down parts (metabolites)
- How quickly the element and its metabolites excreted
For clinical devices throughout the history of animal testing in cosmetics, the focal point of Animal testing in cosmetics is the device’s ability to work with living tissue without damaging the tissue (biocompatibility). Most devices use materials, for example, treated steel or clay, which we know are biocompatible with human tissues. In these cases, Animal testing in cosmetics is not required. Be that as it may, some devices with new materials require biocompatibility testing in creatures.
There are numerous areas where animal testing is important, where human testing is just not a feasible or reliable option.
At the time Animal testing in medical products is performed to assist FDA-directed clinical applications, manufacturers or supporters must follow the FDA guidelines.
The FDA doesn’t recommend animal testing, but does qualify it to prove the safety of products. Often, animal testing is required to verify a product, and the FDA relies on manufacturers to qualify their own products, including how they perform safety testing before human use.
Drugs and cosmetics need FDA approval, and often require extensive testing by manufacturers, as history has proven that early human use can have dire consequences.
History Of Animal Testing In Cosmetics
Currently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees the safety of beauty care products, drugs, medical devices, and foods. Other agencies like the FDA cover areas the FDA doesn’t, and work together to identify proper ways of testing that doesn’t involve the use of animal testing. It’s important we identify and learn of reliable tests that can replace animal testing in the future.
The use of animals in research and to test the safety of articles has been a subject of heated debate for quite some time.
According to information compiled by F. Barbara Orlans for her book, In the Name of Science: Issues in Responsible Animal Experimentation, just over half of all creatures used in testing are used in biomedical examinations and product safety tests.
Often humans attach value to animals beyond testing. And why shouldn’t we? Animals are great friends, pets and support for anyone who needs them. We also acknowledge their pain and livelihoods, and effectively their need for conservation. Nonetheless, animal testing is often a go to strategy and far too often a tragic story for the animals.
These animals tend to grow up from childhood maimed or separated from their normal habitat, tortured or made to perform needless and cruel experiments. It’s hard to say how exactly many of these experiments have permanently affected these animals, but the FDA and manufacturers have billions of dollars on the line, and an excuse for public safety. All in all, it’s a very dirty field that often fully abuses the system.
Tom Regan, a philosophy professor at North Carolina State University, states: “Animals have a basic moral right to respectful treatment. . . .This inherent value is not respected when animals are reduced to being mere tools in a scientific experiment”
The abuse of an animal’s rights is far too common, and vastly unregulated.
Animals are exposed to tests that are regularly difficult or cause perpetual harm and are never given the option of not being removed from the exam. Regan further says, beautifully I might add, that “animal [experimentation] is morally wrong no matter how much humans may benefit because the animal’s basic right has been infringed. Risks are not morally transferable to those who do not choose to take them”
Their choices are made for them, as they cannot express their own biases and decisions. The moment people choose the fate of creatures under capture and research, the creature’s privileges are taken with a lack of concern for their livelihoods.
Forever Against Animal Testing, a campaign perpetuated by The Body Shop, pushes for animal free testing for cosmetics and products. Their goal is to completely remove the option, and replace them with animal friendly products. One great way they’ve moved forward with their own testing is by using lab grown human skin!
Furthermore, the Draize test has become basically obsolete due to these advancements of manufactured cellular tissue that is or strongly resembles human skin.
Computer simulations and molecular statistical data have also been used to recreate and measure the potential damage an item or synthetic product can cause, and human cells and tissues have been used to observe the effects of harmful substances. In another technique, in vitro tests, cell tests are done inside a test tube.
How to stop animal testing in cosmetics
Animal testing isn’t the only option when it comes to the safety of humans. Concrete and viable options do exist, like mentioned above. Testing potentially dangerous, hazardous or toxic chemicals on living creatures makes less and less sense when these options are available and reliable; it’s only a matter of introducing it to countries and manufacturers, and having it become the standard.
However, as is normal, the public is misinformed about product testing, and often accepts animal testing to be a harsh reality to live in a comfortable and safe world. The problem with this is that the safety, prosperity, and the living rights of animals aren’t considered when they are captured and tortured under the guise of human safety. Governments and agencies often don’t look closely enough to the capturing and treatment of these animals.
Acknowledging Animal Rights
Sheila Silcock, a research consultant for the RSPCA, states: “Animals may themselves be the beneficiaries of animal experiments. But the value we place on the quality of their lives is determined by their perceived value to humans.”
Improving the lives of humans should not be a defense to torment and abuse any creature. Arguing that animals are inferior creatures, thus they deserve inferior rights, has been a touchy subject in the community. Many argue that they don’t feel the same emotion, don’t carry the same intelligence and have shorter thus less valuable lifespans. These rights tend to be the only thing standing in the way of a ridiculously large and profitable industry, and tend to get tossed out.
This line of thought simply cannot be defended from my perspective. New research, and confirmed science, shows us that animals, particularly many larger mammalian species, have the same complex emotions and understandings that basically amount animal testing to torture. Scientists have put it out there for everyone; every nation; every company, manufacturer and conglomerate.
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Originally published at https://weeklyreviewer.com on October 25, 2020.