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Pros and Cons of Animal Testing

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Cosmetic testing on animals is banned in countries like the U.K., Belgium, and Netherlands, but the United States still has many companies that test an assortment of products on animals. Animal activists and eco-conscious individuals want this type of testing to cease.

Some estimates suggest as much as 94 percent of animal testing is

 done to check the safety of cosmetic and household products. The remainder of the testing is for medical purposes. Most animals that are used for product testing are bred in labs for this explicit purpose. However, some of the subjects do come from animal shelters. Rabbits, monkeys, dogs, cats, guinea pigs, and mice are among the more commonly used testing animals. A few of the tests conducted on these animals include, Whole Body, Short-term Toxicity, Skin Penetration, Skin Irritancy, Eye irritancy, Skin Sensitization, Phototoxicity and Photosensitisation, Mutagenicity, Carcinogenicity, Reproductive Toxicity, Teratogenicity, and Finished Product Testing. Currently the Food and Drug Administration does not require animal testing for product safety.

Animal testing is a multifaceted issue and one that has strong supporters on either side of the debate. Those who recognize the need for animal testing say it is a necessary evil to prevent harm or death to consumers. They say animals are used in research only when they are indispensable. Those against animal testing argue that there are already proven track records for some chemicals and there is no further need for animal testing. Detractors suggest there are also more humane ways to test common chemicals, such as chemical assay tests; testing of tissue, cell and organ culture systems; cloned human skin cells and patches; and employing computer and mathematical models instead of testing on live animals. Supporters say these methods will garner the same results and prove as valuable as animal testing.

Here are some animal testing statistics commonly cited by those on both sides of the issue.

* The approximate number of animals used in research, each year, is 17 to 22 million. Five billion animals each year are killed and consumed for food.

* Rodents constitute 85 to 90 percent of the research animals.

* The United Kingdom has banned cosmetic testing since 1990.

The debate regarding animal testing will likely continue. Both sides of the argument say their position is safer and more eco-conscious.

For those who want to limit animal testing, using products that contain all-natural ingredients instead of chemical-laden ones is an alternative. TF111314