6 Common Myths About Animal Testing Dispelled

The Bunny Beautiful - Cruelty-Free Beauty Blog -  6 Common Myths About Animal Testing Dispelled

Editor’s note: please be aware I have edited this article since it was first posted.


If there’s one thing animal testing companies love, it’s misinformation. After all, it’s in their best interests that consumers are convinced that animal testing has stopped, is necessary, or isn’t as horrific a practice as it truly is.


There are a handful of these myths that I hear more often than the others. Sometimes they’re brought up in (blissful, happy) ignorance, and sometimes people get it into their heads that these untruths are absolute, 100% fact and that I’m the ignorant one.


The Bunny Beautiful - Cruelty-Free Beauty Blog -  6 Common Myths About Animal Testing Dispelled
Yeah, okay buddy!

The aim of this post to dispel each of these most common myths about animal testing in turn and hopefully enlighten you as to why you should always choose cruelty-free, or at least stop being a douchenozzle to those of us who do. So onward, TO THE MYTHS!


Myth No 1. “When they test on animals, they just paint their nails, shampoo their fur and put mascara on them.”

If only. Animals are tested on in a myriad of ways, but the most common method is for the animals to be held in tight restraints to make them immobile, while chemicals, ingredients or fully-manufactured products are injected into them; applied to their shaved skin, eyes or mouths; or force fed to them. These tests can go on for weeks at a time, and be repeated multiple times throughout the day.


Lush’s Fighting Animal Testing campaign took a human volunteer and subjected her to very mild forms of the procedures carried out on animals in labs. It provides a chilling insight into what these animals go through to make us more beautiful (WARNING: not for the faint of heart!):



Myth No 2. “Animal testing is mostly conducted on mice and rats.”

Mice and rats are the most commonly tested on animal, but huge numbers of rabbits, dogs (particularly beagles), guinea pigs and monkeys are also used.



Myth No 3. “All lab animals are given painkillers before testing.”

Sadly this is never, ever, ever the case in cosmetic testing. In the case of some medical testing painkillers are sometimes used as part of experiential testing, but when it comes to make-up a test animal will never see any sort of anaesthetic in its sadly short lifetime.



Myth No 4. “Testing on animals is the only way to test if some products are safe for human use.”

Unsurprisingly, different species have varying reactions to substances. This makes it difficult, and sometimes impossible, to know for sure what the results of animal testing mean for humans. Animal testing is not a foolproof method of testing for human use, but in countries where testing is less regulated it tends to be relatively inexpensive when compared to other testing methods. For older companies who have been using these methods for decades there can also be a reluctance to change and innovate their labs.


There are a number of faster, more accurate methods of testing such as artificial human skin and technology that can be used to screen thousands of chemicals against cells grown in a lab (in-vitro), but sadly these methods haven’t been widely adopted by many of the giant cosmetics conglomerates.



Myth No 5. “Animals can’t feel pain, or at least they don’t feel it as badly as humans do.”

Not only do animals feel pain, but because the animals commonly used in testing have similar nervous systems to ours, they feel it exactly as we would – sometimes more severely. Recent experiments have uncovered that when mice are exposed to pain, they contort their faces into expressions similar to those of a human being in pain, while other experiments showed they reacted with high-pitched, barely audible “screams” to pain stimuli.


Physical pain aside, research has also found that lab animals often suffer from a host of psychological disorders within the lab and, if they’re lucky enough to live, in later life. Depression, anxiety, stress and PTSD are all witnessed frequently in test animals.



Myth No 6. “Lab animals are protected by law and released to live happy lives after testing is completed.”

Again, if only this were true. The vast majority of lab animals die during testing, and those who are “lucky” enough to survive the testing are often euthanised shortly afterwards.



These are just six that I’ve heard most often, but I’d love to hear what other myths might be flying around out there! Tell me in the comments!



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In march this year there was a break through so no cosmetic products could be sold if tested on animals...however it says certain products, so not all?

bunnybeautiful moderator

@Vabbbs Hi there! On March 11, 2013 a European ban on all cosmetics tested on animals came into effect. This law applies to any product classified as cosmetic, not medical, and means any new product coming onto the shelves cannot have been tested on animals anywhere in the world if the cosmetician wants to sell it in Europe. 

However, the law does not stop them from testing on animals for products they are not selling within the EU. 

So, for example, L'Oreal could, and will, continue to test its cosmetic products on animals in order to sell those cosmetics in China (where animal testing is a legal requirement), and will simply not sell those exact same products on EU shelves. All they have to do is vary one ingredient, or sell them under another name, and they that's all.

The new law is a big step towards ending animal testing, but sadly it didn't put an end to it - cruelty-free shoppers have to be just as vigilant as before. You can see my blog about the law and its effect on shoppers here: http://bunnybeautiful.co.uk/eu-ban-on-animal-tested-cosmetics-why-the-fights-not-over/

Hope that helps!

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