Animal Testing


Rikkie Fortress, Writer

In April of 2021, Humane Society International released the 4-minute short film titled “Save Ralph.” The goal was to raise awareness about animal testing and animal cruelty in the cosmetics industry. The film follows a mockumentary style in which we learn about Ralph, a rabbit who is questioned about his life in the cosmetic industry.


Near the beginning of the video, we find out that Ralph is blind in his right eye and deaf in one ear, and he also has permanent chemical burns up and down his back. We learn that a Draize test, which evaluates chemical irritation to eyes and skin, was the exact test used on both his back and eye. The reactions from this video have brought much awareness and have people understanding the severity of animal testing and what it says about us as humans.


Some have been led to believe that animal testing was a thing of the past, but this is sadly not the truth. Animal testing has been dated back to the Ancient Greeks in the 3rd and 4th centuries BCE. Animal testing has been used ever since but wasn’t regulated until 1966, when the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), which regulates treatment of animals in research and exhibition, was passed.


The AWA has no control or interference when it comes to experiments, nor is it their intention. While the act addresses standard care the animals receive from research facilities, it excludes roughly 95% of the tested animals. The ones they do protect nonetheless receive minimal protection. Any non-AWA-provided and protected animals tested in labs do not have to be reported to them.


From your favorite fragrances to the strongest painkillers and back to fabric dye in clothing, every new chemical is tested on animals in labs. Most brands, despite claiming they do not, test on animals. Big corporations such as Clorox, Johnson & Johnson, Colgate, etc., own these brands. These brands have either claimed to have tested on animals at one point or have sold in China, where imported products have to test on animals.


Over 50 brands test on animals, and you can find just about half of them in your home. Vaseline, Band-Aid, and just about every single brand of toilet paper happen to be some of the most common household products. The belief is that since we use these things so often, it’s best to make sure they are safe for human use. But you might ask, “If it needed to test on animals, was it ever human safe in the first place?” or “Are these things really safe?”


So then the question begs, where do you stand? Do you sit back and watch, or do you stand for animals and our humanity alike?