Can we live without animal testing?

by mimi_pang on September 9, 2013 - 11:52pm

The title of the article I chose to analyse is “There is a hidden cost to beauty in China: It’s the only major market where companies must test on animals, activists say” and it is written by Liza Lin Bloomberg.  It is basically about the Chinese government who sets as a rule that new beauty products must be tested on animals in order to be sold on the market.  However, companies such as l’Oréal are against animal testing, but they also want to sell their products in China, which creates a dilemma.  The opposing values here are animal rights, which consumers demand animals to be treated like humans, and money.  The European Union forbid companies to sell products which have been tested on animals, so it would be against the European rules to do so.  However, companies who are against animal testing are banned from the Chinese market.   In fact, companies have to give samples of their new products to the local laboratories in order to be tested before selling them to the market in China.  Furthermore, in this article, market researcher Mintel says that over the past year, over 300 thousand animals have been used for tests. 

In order to justify animal testing, some people say that some consumers do not think about animal testing because they only care about the price (if the price is good or not), the brand (if the brand is good and famous), and the product (if the product is good or not), which can be translated into the value of materialism.  Sadly, money is an important value to some people, so even though it might be unethical to sell products that have been tested on animals, companies would have to do it in order to increase their profit, especially having a market in China.  It also satisfies the ethical principle of beneficence, because by testing new products on animals, it will prevent harm or unwanted reaction on consumers.  Humans in general benefit from animal testing because without it, we could be at risk of a lot of things and animal testing saved a lot of lives and could save a lot of lives in the future also.  Moreover, animal testing also fulfill the ethical principle of the greater good, which means that it might cause harm to animals, but also goodness and a positive outcome overall to humans and consumers in this case. 

In the other hand, a lot of people are against animal testing because they support animal rights.  These people value equality between humans and animals, justice to animals, compassion towards animals that have been or are being tested on, animal’s freedom, since they are locked up in laboratories and waiting to be tested on, and much more.  These people say that it is against the silver rule, which means that we should not treat others like how we do not want to be treated.  No one would ever want to be tested forcefully and to have their freedom taken away from them, which brings us to the principle of the right of freedom.  Animal testing is also against the sanctity of life, which means that all life, human or not, are sacred.  Therefore, animals should have the right to live.  The principle of non-maleficence is not respected either, since animals are being harmed in the process of being tested on.  Also, we should not use people or animals as means, but this is what we are doing with animal testing.  We use them as experiments, so humans can consume the products safely or so humans’ lives can be improved and even saved. 

Both sides of the debate seem to have great points, but I believe that it all depends on each individual.  Do we really think about animals more than our own benefits or the opposite?  Do we really think that animals’ lives are worth as much as humans’?  I do believe that humans are selfish creatures at some point in their lives, where they would think about themselves more than others and do what benefits them without thinking about others.  I am against animal testing because I do not think that it is right to test potentially harmful products on animals and putting their lives at risks.  Animals have feelings just like us, they have pain receptors too, and they also have families and a life just like humans.  So we do not have the right to lock them up in a laboratory or in an enclosure in order to use them as experiments and potentially harm them.  Animals are forced to be tested on, they do not have a choice; humans do not let them have a choice.  They cannot run away or refuse to be tested on.  They cannot sign contracts or make themselves volunteers for experiments, because they just don’t have a choice!  It is unfortunate to think that as human and technology evolved, nature has been harmed and sacrificed.  Trees have been cut down, forests shaved up, animals have been kicked out of their natural habitats and they also have had their freedom taken away from them.  Good thing some companies prohibits animal testing, but sadly, not all of them do.  I am also a consumer and even though I do buy a lot of cosmetic products, I personally think that it is unnecessary to create so many new products every year so they can be tested on animals.  We do not need 20 different products of every kind and I am talking about those companies who still practice animal testing.  A few beauty products of every kind is fine and by doing so, fewer animals would be harmed.  Also, in this article, it mentions that there could be other alternatives to test new products other than on animals by using computer models or cell culture.  Therefore, I hope that animal testing will be eventually banned in every country.  Even though I am against animal testing mainly because I am an animal lover, the question is: Can we live without animal testing?

Source: Liza, Lin B. "There is a Hidden Cost to Beauty in China." Toronto StarAug 25 2013. ProQuest. Web. 9 Sep. 2013


c) I strongly agree with the fact that we do not need tons of the same beauty product. Our world today is full of the want and need for more, whether it is beauty products, clothing or technology. A lot of people want to have the newest phone, top of the line makeup, or brand name clothes. My point being, it is all unnecessary. I feel that a consequentialist would also be against animal testing because they would look at the negative consequences of animal testing and all the pain and suffering these animals endure. Then again, could a consequentialist also argue the negative effects in general if animal testing were to be banned?

Some things ARE indeed unnecessary, I strongly agree with you on that point. I do not think that it would be a big deal if animal testing were to be banned since new technology can replace animal testing and it can be even more accurate than using animals (not to mention that using animals are not always very effective as we do not always react the same way as animals towards some substances). Also, if animal testing was that effective on trying out products, why would they need so many animals to test ONE single product? If the product turned out to be harmful, the animals' lives would then be wasted and they do not even receive any recognition from their participation or 'service'.

Animal rights is a topic that is very interesting and very modern. Being the pet lover than I am, I am obviously against animal testing because just like us humans, animals feel hunger, thirst, and pain. Since their brain is related to their nervous system, they can suffer when a test goes wrong. Animals should be considered equal to humans for that matter because they are not like plants that are living without feeling anything. However, unlike humans, animals do not have the capacity to reason. Therefore, they cannot choose their destiny even if humans would have given them all the options possible. Not an single animal would be able to “sign contracts or make themselves volunteers for experiments” (mimi_pang).

Just like Mimi_pang highlighted at the end of her summary, alternatives to animal testing exist nowadays. Why do China and cosmetic companies approve and encourage animal testing when we can possibly have the same results without killing or harming any of sentient living creatures?

I kind of believe that animals do have the capacity to reason and if they had the choice to either stay in a lab in order to be tested on or to escape, they would choose to run for their lives (if they knew the consequences of being tested on of course). Unfortunately, humans just don't give them the choice.

That is a very good question also, I do not understand why they would do that to these poor little creatures!

As someone might have mentioned on a previous comment, perhaps in today's society we can avoid having animal testing to the the advanced technology we have. Also, today, 2014, there are quite a few products in the market that tell you weather or not they have been tested on animals, and so far these products work well. Having the technology I'm sure that there are other ways of testing and seeing if a product might react with people's skin reaction such as using a petri dish, and later on analyzing them.