17th October 2017 — Bella
Animal rights is the idea where animals are entitled to the possession of their life, where they can avoid suffering and be able to live a free life. But how often do animal rights get discussed in such depth? Every single person will react in a different way to the products they use on their bodies and animals will react even differently to the chemicals than humans do. Less than 2% of illnesses we have as humans are in animals. Animals and humans are both affected by similar illnesses, including chronic emphysema, leukemia, hepatitis and diabetes. Rodents are the most commonly tested on creature, however, rats, mice and guinea pigs have no tear ducts, cannot vomit, live for 3 years and have 50 more offspring in their lifespan than humans do. The genetic differences go on and on, so how can scientists get a reliable answer by using animals for experimentation? A Philosophy Professor, Charles R. Magel, once said “Ask the experimenters why they experiment on animals, and the answer is ‘because the 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.”
Animal testing in New Zealand has always been acceptable, but is it right? The treatment and welfare issues of the animals has recently become more publicised so now the consumers are more aware of products that are “safe” for their use. Animals in the cosmetic testing industry are infected with diseases, tumours and covered in products. They suffer, blister, bleed and burn so that we can have the latest products and medication. As well as this, some companies do not properly anesthetize animals when the tests are conducted. Animals in these cruel practices are kept in cages where they are unable to express their natural characteristics and behaviors. They suffer, not only with the experiments they go through, but they are able to hear the painful cries of other animals. They are kept under artificial fluorescent lights within poor conditions while they are roughly handled, excessively bred and have their young taken away too early. The internet is full of animal testing horrors, such as footage of monkeys ripping their hair out, screaming, biting wounds and going mad due to the containment and stress they suffer. Doing one Google search of animal testing will lead you to Vivisection which is, “the practice of performing operations on live animals for the purpose of experimentation.” Most of the animals do not survive to the end of the study period as the products and tests damage them mentally as well as physically. But, if they do survive and are no longer needed, they are dumped. Is it right for animals to got through this in order for us, as humans, to find the perfect foundation, a good shampoo and the cure a for disease?
After many campaigns and protests, in 2015 the review of ‘The Animal Welfare Act’ in New Zealand banned using animals for cosmetic testing. Although it is banned, New Zealand continues to import products from overseas which have been tested on animals. It is unclear why the government is being misleading by allowing the importation of animal tested products, however, it is illegal if the products originate from New Zealand. One way to change this would be to ban the importation of all products that have been tested on animals. This would mean that the manufacturers that use animals negatively, would be forced to make changes to move towards an animal free testing procedure. Hopefully this would result in higher sales of their cruelty free products in New Zealand, as well as other cruelty free countries such as, Norway, Israel and India.
People may say “good has come from animal testing.” This is true, as animals were used to develop chemotherapy to help children suffering with leukemia. Vaccines for Polio were finalised with the use of animals. But it is still unjust. The following brands, among thousands of others, use animal testing: Revlon, Avon, Neutrogena, Chapstick, Vaseline and Band-Aid by Johnston and Johnston. People are becoming more aware of the products that are cruelty free and the ones which we should steer clear from. Instead of using these, make an effort to purchase Avalon organics, Énamour, lush, The Body Shop and Smashbox cosmetics. It isn’t just girls products, so many male products have been tested on animals to ensure they are safe for use such as Durex, Radox, Tresemme and Lynx. Luckily there are some products such as King of Shaves, Moroccan Oil, Herbal Essence, Bath and Body Works, that are cruelty free. It is hard to quickly look at a product to see if it cruelty free or not. Funnily enough, most products which are cruelty free have a small rabbit icon on them which says, “product and ingredients not tested on animals.” By increasing the size of the sticker it would be more visible for customers so that they can quickly see if it is cruelty free before purchasing it.
Animals do not need to be used for testing products, as there other means of testing. Vegetables can be used to determine the toxicity of the materials. Along with this, there is cloned human skin and tissue that is much more reliable because it the same genetic makeup as humans who buy the products. Technology is advancing, such as computer modelling, which has realistic software models of human and animal organs.“These computer-aided models will help predict possible long-term toxic effects on the human body,” The alternatives to using animals can be more reliable, cheaper and easier to deal with.
One person alone can not make a difference. But the more consumers that that express about animal testing and choose to shop cruelty free will have a bigger influence on companies to change their methods to an animal friendly alternative. It starts with one person who tells the next, who tells the next, to make a network of understanding to be aware of what is right. Like humans, animals have rights. Jeremy Bentham, one of the earliest activists of animal rights who said: “The question is not, “Can they reason?” nor, “Can they talk?” but “Can they suffer?”