Animal testing dates back several centuries; tests using animals like rabbits, dogs and mice was the norm from Dolly the Sheep to the millions of rodents used for toxicology tests. In 2018, one might assume that we have attained a greater consideration for the lives of animals, but that assumption would be fallacious. Perhaps the insignificance of animal lives could have stemmed from Kant and his beliefs that non-human lives contained no value. In Kantian ethics, there would be nothing wrong with this practice, as he believed that an animal’s life is meaningless if the animal in question fails to bring you pleasure. While this might have been a traditional view at the time, it does not excuse the brutal conditions under which animals are treated. No animal deserves to be treated in this way, regardless of how fast they reproduce.
To this day, it seems like the general public fails to tackle these issues, or even push for reasonable discourse. At the same time, it doesn’t take an animal rights activist to see that animal testing is completely unethical. Well-known companies — such as Johnson and Johnson, L’Oréal, Crest and Dove — partake in animal testing. They use many procedures to test things like skin sensitization and irritation, eye irritation, as well as product toxicity.
While some countries, like Norway and India, have taken a step in the right direction by implementing bans on animal testing, other countries (including Canada) still allow companies to test their products on animals. Though the testing is not required by any laws, it remains legal.
On the other end of the spectrum, some countries require companies to test their products on animals in order for these products to be sold. These countries, like China, have laws that require products manufactured outside their jurisdiction to use animal testing. As a result, any company that might be cruelty-free in one country (e.g. Canada) would not be cruelty-free in China.
All that said, there are many alternatives to these tests. Companies have the ability to create new products using ingredients and materials that have already been proven to be safe. There are also non-animal tests, some of which involve EpiDerm as an alternative to real animal skin.
Currently, there are some companies in the industry that are actively seeking to draw awareness to these inhumane practices. If large, successful companies, like Lush, The Body Shop and E.L.F., can remain cruelty-free in 2018, then why can’t we expect the same of other similar companies? We, as consumers, have the ability to boycott these brands, and vote for cruelty-free brands with our wallets. We also have the ability to sign petitions to pressure the Canadian government to pass legislation banning animal testing. If an animal has to risk its life for the sake of a new mascara, ask yourself, is it really worth it?