While the vast majority of scientists support animal testing for research purposes, a growing number are against animal testing for use in the cosmetics industry. In Britain, such testing is currently banned and it will soon be under a total ban in all of Europe by 2009. The public had spoken out and protested for years against animal testing – some against medical testing on animals and most against cosmetics testing that involved the use of animals.
Controversy Within the Scientific Community
Despite most scientists being against animal testing for cosmetics purposes, recent comments from one prominent British scientist has caused a great deal of controversy within the scientific community and the public. His comments that people have been beautifying themselves for centuries and that it's natural and respectable to test on animals to prevent allergic reactions in humans has come under enormous criticism.
The public view these comments as unfeeling and cavalier while scientists have approached the comments with feelings of frustration and irritation. For scientists, these recent comments from a fellow scientist have undermined all that they have worked towards in terms of public opinion on animal testing. One such scientist described how there is no justification for testing cosmetics products on animals. The practice was explained to be frivolous and an unnecessary waste of animal life.
Scientists Against Cosmetics Testing on Animals
Another issue within the scientific community is that most scientists have worked hard to help the tarnished image of animal testing. Their beliefs in medical testing have, in part, been more comfortably accepted by some of the public because cosmetics testing has been criticised and now banned in Britain. When a scientist adamantly speaks out in favour of testing cosmetics on animals, it serves to act as a set-back for all of the work in the scientific community to show the public that medical testing on animals serves a justifiable purpose – unlike cosmetics testing on animals. Not only that, but the idea of broaching a subject such as animal testing for cosmetics purposes in Britain is essentially a useless one given that animal testing is not even allowed here. In this sense, it is seen as an irrelevant subject and one that is a waste of time for those who are trying to improve the image of animal testing for important medical purposes.
The Effect of Legalising Animal Testing for Cosmetics Purposes
The effect on cosmetics companies if animal testing for cosmetics purposes was legalised again in Britain would likely be a negative one, primarily because many companies have now invested a significant amount of time, money and effort to develop alternatives to animal testing. Scientists against animal testing for cosmetics purposes cite that any show of support from the scientific community for animal testing on cosmetics will not only anger the public but it will then similarly anger cosmetics companies who have worked hard to eradicate the practice and create viable alternatives to ensure product safety.
Scientists Making Ethical Choices
There will perhaps always be controversy between the public and the research community until a logical and realistic alternative to animal testing exists. However, when scientists bond together against the use of animal testing for cosmetics, the public can at least be open enough to hear the value and support for using animals in medical testing.