The Harsh Truth Behind Animal Testing On Cosmetic Products

Society Deepanwita Dey Pets & Animals 22 February 2024 8 Mins Read
animal testing

Data from PETA (One of the largest animal activist government bodies in the world) gave us very shocking news. Did you know that 95% of cosmetic animal testing fails during human testing? This is the fundamental state of animal testing in our current world.

We can’t be sure about them, yet let’s continue to torment the animals!

At times, cosmetic and makeup brands that test on animals induce heavy physical and mental pain to test unnecessary agents.


“Patients and physicians should remain cautious about extrapolating the finding of prominent animal research to the care of human disease. We have cured mice of cancer for decades, and it simply didn’t work in humans.” (Source)

If not shock, it clearly makes us wonder,

“Is animal testing really necessary to sell cosmetic products?”

Especially when the experts claim that with the complexities of the human body, mere animal testing is not enough, plus there are better humane alternatives to it.

The Harsh Truth Behind Animal Testing

The Harsh Truth Behind Animal Testing

As the vegan and Peta-friendly makeup trend is coming to the limelight each day, consumers are becoming more aware. Even a decade ago, consumerism was very individualistic. 

This is where someone only thinks about themselves. It was all about what the product did for them. If they are good, there is no point in thinking about secondary units. These include environmental effects and cruelty measures.

However, with consumer evolution, many started complaining about their cosmetic products. These include making products more environmentally friendly, keeping toxic items at bay, and, most importantly, keeping them cruelty-free.

Therefore, if you are a responsible consumer who wishes to pick their cosmetic products better the next time, it is time for you to educate yourself.


Education begins with knowing the harsh truth of industry!

Shocking Data on Animal Testing

Shocking Data on Animal Testing

Before we get into the hard-hitting data on the matter, we would like to give a disclaimer. The following excerpt might contain a graphic description of mutilation on animals. It will also talk about extreme physical pain. 

Therefore, if you are sensitive to this subject matter, we would suggest you skip to the next section.

Let’s Talk Numbers

Research shows that between the years of 2015 and 2019, a total number of 300,000 animals (approximately.) went through painful procedures. Just so cosmetic companies can test every new product before launching it on the market. (Source)

These include injecting and infecting rats, mice, beagles, rabbits, and guinea pigs with foreign materials. Not knowing how toxic or how painful it could be for them. This also includes mutilation of their skin tissues to check how the cosmetic products are changing it.

Some of the common problems these animals deal with are insufferable pain, mental trauma due to continuous exposure to such pain, seizures, tremors, and even paralysis.

A wise person once said, “If animals could talk, the whole world would be crying.”

Cancer Is Not the Same Even Among Animals

Did you know that the chemicals that cause cancer in rats don’t always have the same effect on mice?

Yes, the agent that causes cancer in rats only causes cancer in mice 45% of the time. (Source)

Considering that mice and rats have almost the same anatomical and chemical composition, we can only imagine the difference between other mammals. The anatomical difference between a rat and a rabbit or a rat and a dog guarantees one thing.

If a forced cancer treatment is working on these rats, it isn’t necessary to work on dogs.

Therefore, it is no wonder that even after all the success in rat testing, none of the pathogens were able to cure a human.

One of the biggest vices of animal testing is surely the cell composition and complexity and difference between each, which we keep forgetting.

The Shocking Death Toll

The worst part about such animal testing is not always the inflicted pain. It is a shocking death rate.

Every year, there are more than 100 million deaths of animals due to testing. The cruelty meter is simply high. (Source)

These animals include monkeys, gunnie pigs, dogs, rabbits, mice, and rats (only to name a few). Most of them die in fear and constant pain. Some even perish for not being able to take the pain inflicted on them.

Imagine being caged in a dark room, only to see the light when excessive pain is being inflicted on you. Phycological trauma is not even scratching the surface of what these animals are dealing with.

Civilization is certainly not the golden card to inflict such horrors on those whom some of us consider less than us.

You Might Be Funding Them

Did you know that unknowingly, you could be funding these animal testing institutions? Most of the research done by NIH is through animal testing, and it is a government research organization.

Some of the means through which NIH receives its funds are:

  • Charitable donations.
  • Taxes.
  • Buying lottery tickets.

NIH receives $42 billion in funding for its research, and not all of it is private funding.

The confusion ensues, and we understand your dilemma. How can you not pay taxes, and if you are funding a charity for further research, are they using these to (in simple words) hurt animals?

There are so many questions that people ask in terms of understanding more about animal testing. Let us answer a few of them to get rid of some of the overall confusion.

Most Consumer Asked Questions On Animal Testing

Most Consumer Asked Questions On Animal Testing

Upon perusing the internet, here are the few frequently asked questions regarding animal testing. We are not experts; however, based on extensive research, we were able to answer a few.

Even After Animal Testing Being Unreliable, Why Does It Still Happen?

The simple answer is, “It is a habit.” Since the commencement of modern research and laboratories, animal testing has been a default method of research. Even though it has proven undulating, there are researchers who believe it to be the way to start any research.

However, with constant protestation from consumer groups and a refusal to use makeup brands that test on animals, we can still make a change.

Has Anyone Banned It?

Amongst all the negative news, there is surely something positive that will keep our activist spirits up.

In 2013, there was a total ban on cosmetic products which were not cruelty-free in the European Union. This is when there was a surge of makeup and cosmetic brands choosing the PETA-friendly route. Going to the extent of getting a PETA-friendly certification.

These brands garner much attention among the “conscious consumer” lot. Making them more popular day by day.

Seeing this success rate, many other countries are using the same formula. These include Norway, Chile, India, Israel, Mexico, and Switzerland. Therefore, if any US-based company wishes to sell its products in these countries, they must be cruelty-free.

How Do I know if my cosmetic product is Cruelty-free?

Many often ask, is Maybelline cruelty-free? Is Neutrogena cruelty-free? Is Clinique cruelty-free?

A simpler way to understand that is through the bunny hopping logo. This is a PETA-friendly certified logo that says that the products weren’t tested on animals.

If you are still not sure, you can always download the “Leaping Bunny Application.” This will tell you which product to invest your money in.

Why is animal testing bad?

Why is animal testing bad

There are a few types of animal testing that inflict such pain on the animals.

  • Skin shaving, and then placing chemicals on that shaved skin. This causes skin and eye irritation.
  • Repeated force-feeding of chemical agents or injecting them through the skin. This can cause cancer and even birth defects in the animals. Health hazards like continuous vomiting and diarrhea also make up the list.
  • Much research where scientists discovered the lethal doses of common chemicals includes force-feeding high doses of such chemicals. This is to determine the lethal dose for humans. However, the lethal dose for the cellular structure of an animal might not be the same for a human. On the other hand, this is why much research uses Monkey as their subject matter.
  • In 2019, there was a case of small marmoset monkeys. The test was to determine whether a chemical is a catalyst to improve immunity. This led to weakening the limbs, overall impairing the monkeys for life.
  • The worst part is, in the end, the animals mostly die (…even killed) through neck breaking and asphyxiation.

It is not just the cosmetic industry; using animal products for aesthetics has been quite common for a long time. Look at the huge leather industry, which the vegan leather industry is still trying to overshadow. So, what is vegan leather? Find out more.

Alternatives To Animal Testing

The most important part of the article is about the alternative.

Yes, you can stop using such products. However, there is always a feeling “it is still out there.” Am I doing enough?

So, to provide you with some peace, we are giving you the best alternatives that many research centers are beginning to use for cosmetic procedures.

Cell Cultures: Cells are grown in controlled environments, allowing researchers to study cellular responses to various substances.

Tissue Cultures: These involve the growth of small sections of organs or tissues outside the body.

Microfluidic Chips: These are small-scale devices that simulate the functions of organs and tissues, providing a more accurate representation of the human body’s response to substances.

Organ-on-a-Chip: This technology involves creating microscale models of human organs on a chip, which can simulate the complex interactions between different tissues.

Computer Modeling and Simulation: In Silico Models, Computer models simulate biological processes and predict the effects of substances without the need for physical testing.

Quantitative Structure-Activity Relationship (QSAR): Predicts biological activity based on the chemical structure of substances.

Human Volunteers: Ethical testing on human volunteers can provide valuable information about the effects of substances on the human body. This is often used in early-phase clinical trials.

Human Tissues and Biopsy Samples: Utilizing human tissues obtained from surgeries or biopsies allows for more accurate predictions of human responses.

How To Be A Better Consumer & Prevent Animal Testing

Still, think you are not doing enough from your home? Here is how you can be an animal activist from the grassroots level. Other than boycotting the products, here is what else you can do.

  • Take up your social media and try to educate others by spreading the word.
  • Encourage your family members and people around you to start using PETA-friendly products.
  • Always keep educating yourself.
  • Adopt animals if you can. Most of the time, these stray animals are major subjects of animal testing.

Hopefully, we were able to give you a good account of animal testing in the cosmetics and makeup industry if you have something else to add, why not do it in the comment section below?

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