One of the reasons I’m interested in cruelty free products is because many products are tested on animals. It is estimated that over 50 million animals are used for animal testing, each year, in the United States alone (Some countries like England have banned animal testing in some forms). Obviously, this is done for a purpose. Testing on animals helps us to develop medical treatments, and predict if a product will be safe for humans. Defendants of these methods argue that it has helped to develop “life-saving treatments” and that there are regulations that prevent the mistreatment of animals in labs (This is bullshit. Testing on animals is mistreatment and most animals aren’t protected anyway).
As mentioned in a previous post on why I decided to stop eating meat, I don’t view humans as being any better than animals. We are equal. And just as it would be wrong to keep humans caged up and test on them, I believe it is disgusting that this is how millions of animals spend their lives. I understand that these methods have led to many products and medicines that are now used daily, but that does not mean they need to continue (experimenting on humans during the Second World War led to many discoveries, but we have survived without continuing to do that). Furthermore, many of the studies conducted on animals are flawed, leaving the results useless and claiming millions of lives. The ones that are successful usually fail during the human trials. Despite this, animals are treated as disposable.
In addition, there are other methods (some might argue, better), which do not involve testing on animals and may be more accurate. Animals are a different species and therefore, there is always the chances that humans will react differently (there are several cases of this happening). In Vitro testing, largely eliminates this possibility, as it can be done with human cells. Animal testing is also more expensive than other methods such as In Vitro.
These tests can also take many different forms. Some test the effects of substances on pregnant animals and their fetuses. Others include skin and eye irritation tests (they rub chemicals on exposed skin or into eyes with no pain relief – seems humane right?). Pesticides, products that are specifically designed to exterminate animals, are also tested.
And just so we are all on the same page – it’s not just rats that are used in labs. There are dogs, cats, and many other species. And this is happening here, in North America, not some far off land. Next time you think that the Chinese Dog Eating Festival is barbaric, remember that you’ve probably used a product that has been tested on a dog.