Animal testing has had a long history dating back to the 2nd and 4th centuries with some Greek references indicating Aristotle performed experiments on animals. Animals have also been experimented on during early war times with many countries infecting animals with various diseases and transporting them into enemy lands in the hopes of spreading disease to destroy armies. In modern times animal testing has been used in universities, medical schools, defence establishments, pharmaceutical companies and other commercial facilities for either applied research (testing, breeding, defence research and toxicology which includes cosmetics testing) or education. In some cases, animal testing involves subjecting animals to various chemicals or substances that cause serious health consequences that debilitate or kills them. It has been estimated that up to 100 million animals are subjected to testing annually with 6 million animals used in Australia and New Zealand. There are regulations put in place in some parts of the world but they do not encompass all animals which means there are animals that are unnecessarily suffering. Why is this an important matter? Well it’s because in light of today’s technological advances, animal are needlessly suffering and dying.
“Ask the experimenters why they experiment on animals and the answer is: ‘Because animals are like us.’
Ask the experimenters why it is morally okay to experiment on animals, and the answer is: ‘Because the animals are not like us.’
Animal experimentation rests on a logical contradiction.” – Professor Charles R. Magel
In recent times there has been greater consumer awareness of animal testing that has led to more companies around the world moving away from these old practices to produce “cruelty free” products. This is a great step in moving towards a world without animal testing and everyone should be congratulated on for collectively using their consumer power to make these companies listen and change their practices. Science and innovation are also making sure that we are one step closer to uttering the words “animal testing is obsolete.”
Have you ever thought of the great things that technology could be doing but instead we have technology creating stuff like candy crush? Well do not fear, science and technology are making advances to end animal testing. Mathematicians from the University of Cincinnati have developed predictive mathematical models that could potentially test the effects of 30,000 chemicals on human skin which may make animal testing in the cosmetic industry moot. There have also been plans in the US to replace animals with robotic machines for toxic chemical testing. There are also ambitious projects aimed to end animal testing such as bioengineer Linda Griffith’s (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) attempt to develop a chip with a human body on it, that is, a chip that has all human organs as separate modules on the chip. This will allow researchers to test the effects of drugs on the entire human body rather than using animals which is particularly pertinent to medical treatment testing. Griffith’s ‘Human Physiome on a Chip’ program has already attracted millions of dollars in funding from the Defense Advance Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Replicating human organs on a chip is no easy task but the payoff from achieving it would revolutionise medical treatments and animal testing.
Are you conscious of whether your products are cruelty free? Check out this website that lists all the products that are cruelty free. Make sure to read our previous article on ‘LUSH Cosmetics’ that make awesome products AND are cruelty free!