Argument: Animal testing for non-life-saving human products is unjust

Supporting Evidence

Davis, “The Hidden Costs of Sexier Lipstick:Animal Testing in the Cosmetic Industry”, Harvard Law School “Criticism of testing for frivolous ends, not surprisingly, abounds.27 Standing alone, such criticism probably does not do the persuasive work needed in order to convince most of those who favor animal testing that their position is mistaken. When, however, the argument is coupled with credible and non-emotional attacks on the validity of animal tests, it gains (as suggested above) strength. Baird and Rosenbaum give an example of how the two elements can be woven together by first noting the pain caused by the “Lethal Dose-50” (LD-50) test and then giving the following description of that test:
T[he] LD-50 test requires feeding [test animals] a sufficient quantity of the product in question to find the dose that kills 50 percent of [them] …. “Because most cosmetic products are not especially poisonous, it necessarily follows that if a rat or a dog has to be killed this way, then very great quantities of the cosmetic must be forced into their stomachs, blocking or breaking internal organs, or killing the animal by some other physical action, rather than by any specific chemical effect.”28
While this statement may at first seem to constitute an effective argument based on the observation that the LD-50 test is misplaced in an area of products in which not only very small quantities of any given substance are intended for use at one time but also that none of the substances are intended to be taken internally, the interest in human health could easily be seen to trump nonetheless. For what, researchers are required to imagine,29 would happen if, say, a toddler came across a bottle of fingernail polish remover and drank its entire contents?
If reasonable animal rights supporters would concede that it is an important objective of science and regulatory schemes to prevent products that can kill people (in however improbable a manner) from reaching consumers, animal testing of cosmetics should arguably be thought every bit as important as animal testing of drugs. But if a combination of the frivolity and invalidity arguments is ultimately somewhat disappointing in this instance, what, exactly, is wrong with it? As this essay sees it, the problem with Baird and Rosenbaum’s statement is once again over-reliance on emotion, and the strength of arguments such as those of Dillman, Green, Peskoe, and others30 is their simplicity – their unemotional, wholly empirical nature. The preceding paragraph is by no means an argument that the validity argument should fail. Instead, it is attempt to delineate that defense’s boundaries – an important endeavor in this area, where strong arguments may ultimately fall short of their mark when they are made specious through the use even of implied, let alone vividly explicit, emotional pleas.