The role animal testing plays in consumerism


Lola Norvell

Many cosmetic products are created using animal testing. Using these methods is often very dangerous for the animals and can lead to inhumane practices or animal cruelty. However, these products are also in high demand due to US consumerism and the desire of corporations to generate more and more profit. “For companies, I think finding more natural ways and more humane ways of doing it should be something that they strive to do,” says sophomore Arabella Fracisco.

Lola Norvell, Staff Writer

For many years America has been obsessed with beauty standards created from arbitrary societal constructs. In our current capitalist society, there are many who attempt to profit off of those desires and insecurities, doing whatever they can to make a capital from the insatiable public. Inhumane practices are frequently intertwined with these profitable exploits – oftentimes constituting animal cruelty, in the form of cosmetic testing. 

Cosmetic product testing is a process where animals such as mice, rats, rabbits, or guinea pigs are used as test subjects for chemicals, undergoing procedures such as skin and eye irritation tests, lethal dose tests, forced inhalation, and forced injection tests. Chemicals may be rubbed onto the shaved skin or dripped into the eyes of animals without pain relief, repeated force feeding tests may use chemicals to determine illness or health hazards in rats, and these animals may be forced to swallow varied amounts of substances to determine the dosage of death. These tests are used to determine the effects these products may have on humans based on how the animals react. At the end of these tests, most of the time the animals are killed, either by asphyxiation, neck-breaking, or decapitation. According to, more than 110 million animals are killed in U.S. laboratories each year during and after testing experiments. 

Much of society has been conditioned to believe that we are not enough as we are. That we must achieve a certain look or label to fit in. A lot of the time, major companies and corporations will use this notion to their benefit, selling hot-topic, “lab-tested” products for crazy prices claiming that they work miracles. “Makeup isn’t a bad thing and products aren’t a bad thing but they do get advertised wrong sometimes,” Arabella Fracisco, a sophomore at South states. Fracisco points out the polarity of this topic, highlighting that while the act itself of using company sold products is not inherently bad, the practices companies use to sell these products may need some improvement. 

These corporations will pay to advertise their company, gain publicity, and obtain credibility, with no integrity to the consumers in mind. All efforts are aimed at making money. Sensing a pattern? This feeds into capitalism where the goal is to be the best, the richest, and the one on top of the corporate ladder. In addition, many corporations exploit American consumerism to try to fix the insecurities and beauty standards society has constructed and the disproportionate and unbalanced system that these ideas represent. Companies will attempt to brandish their products for sales by whatever means necessary. They will use their amassed wealth and resources to make sure that whatever inhumane or cruel act they’re committing, is deemed acceptable in both law and society– all in the name of making a profit. 

Animal testing has been shown time and time again that its risks outweigh its benefits. Studies have shown that false and misleading animal test results can develop unnecessary dangers and waste valuable resources. There are plenty of modern testing methods such as human cell-based testing and sophisticated computer models that could replace animal testing. There really isn’t a need for animals in testing beauty or cosmetic products. “For companies I think finding more natural ways and more humane ways of doing it should be something that they strive to do because this world is kind of going to shit and I think we really need to better ourselves as humans,” Fracisco comments. There are plenty of alternatives to animal testing in cosmetics, take using natural ingredients as an example. “Natural ingredients have been used for years so you can tell that they work if they’ve been used been used for so long,” Fracisco adds. However, many will argue in favor of animal testing, claiming that some testing or evidence is better than none. But is it really better than risking the safety of consumers? Is it better than telling the accurate and reliable truth of a product? Misleading information can be worse than no information.

Now there are many products out there that have worked wonders for people, that have helped people feel confident, helped them discover their own creativity and learn more about health & beauty- ones that are furthermore animal tested products. “I don’t do makeup because I’m insecure or because I don’t like my face or anything, I do makeup because it’s fun and it’s sort of like an art form,” Fracisco comments. “Some products are just produced just to make money but other products do actually work good.” I’m not denouncing all cosmetic products and shunning those who use them, I’m simply encouraging the evolution and development of our progressive society. We can’t make these changes overnight, but we can take steps towards more humane practices that don’t hurt or hinder other living creatures. It may take some time to reach that point, but we can start with small efforts- buying cruelty-free products, educating ourselves on exploitative companies, and being mindful around our purchases. 

As long as we keep our heads buried in the sand we will continue to buy, support, and sponsor inhumane and cruel product testing experiments, as well as encourage the notion that we are not enough as we are and looking a certain way takes precedent above the safety and protection of not only the animals, but consumers as well. If we continue this tribulation, then capitalism wins, and the people and animals lose. So open your eyes and dig yourself out of that hole.