McWilliams: Product animal testing is not only unethical, but also unreliable

Leta McWilliams

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by the Collegian or its editorial board.

More and more consumers are joining the opposition behind cosmetic companies testing on animals. Nars, one of the most popular cosmetic companies, announced it’s choice in July to start testing on animals in order to begin selling their products in China, the biggest makeup consuming industry. The company was once praised for being cruelty-free, leading the fight to end animal testing, and now they face backlash from their costumers. In regards to cosmetics, there is virtually no benefit that comes from testing on animals other than market expansion.


About 94% of successful animal trials fail in human clinical trials. Certain chemicals that are proven to have negative effects on animals are beneficial to humans, making the results of the testing unreliable. For example, according to neurologist Aysha Akhtar, a drug used to lower the risk of organ transplant rejection called tacrolimus was almost rejected because it was detrimental to the animals in their clinical trial.

In order to sell products to other countries, such as China, cosmetic companies are required by law to test their products out on animals. It’s estimated that cruelty-free cosmetic companies are missing out on approximately $29 billion from China’s market. It all comes down to greed versus compassion, which was Nars’ recent downfall.

The inhumanity of cosmetic companies testing on animals is undeniable. The Animal Welfare Act, meant to prevent inhumane acts against animals, fails to protect rats, mice, fish and birds, which is about 95% of the animals experimented on. This makes the animals more prone to abuse, because there is no legal obligation to prevent harm.

There are so many new ways to test products without testing on animals. In vitro testing can test products on human cells in a petri dish, eliminating any sort of harm on an animal or a person. Another alternative is testing the products on artificial human skin, which would produce the best results for cosmetics, and eliminate animal testing all together.

Though it is only legally required for animals to be tested in China, it is still legal to test cosmetics on animals in 80% of countries around the world. However, there are many things the US is trying to do to stop animal testing. On June 6, Representative Martha McSally introduced the Humane Cosmetics Act. The act prohibits cosmetic testing on animals, and makes it so no cosmetic company born from the United States can sell their products to other countries if there were any animal clinical trials. This act would push other countries, especially China, to become cruelty-free.

Many customers are upset about Nars no longer being a cruelty-free brand. Kat Von D, a well-known owner of her self-titled brand, responded to Nars’ announcement stating how disappointed she is.

Just to show Nars’ hypocricy, they posted an apology on Instagram about pulling out of the cruelty-free industry. They know what they did was wrong, but they won’t miss an opportunity for more money.

The misconception that cruelty-free makeup companies are lesser in quality just isn’t true. There are many quality brands, such as Too-Faced and Anastasia Beverly Hills that are high end and cruelty-free. There are even brands to replace drugstore brands, such as Colourpop, that are cheap without testing on animals.

There are even local brands from Colorado, such as Zents and Mineral Fusion that are cruelty-free or have vegan options. The more people stop giving money to brands that test on animals, the sooner it will stop. When possible, find brands that are vegan or that are on PETA’s approved brands list.

The use of cruelty-free make up is not just a trend. It is a new way to look good, feel good and do good by no longer supporting companies that test on animals.


Leta McWilliams can be reached at letters@collegian and online at @LetaMcWilliams