Animal testing is a controversial issue that has attracted attention of consumers, companies, animal welfare groups, and governments. Animals are currently used by pharmaceutical and cosmetic companies to test their products before they reach consumers. However, this practice has been deemed unethical and cruel by many governments and businesses. For example, the European Union has implemented laws prohibiting cosmetics tested on animals (BBC, 2013). However, many companies around the world still use animals to make sure that products (cosmetics, drugs, household care, etc.) are totally safe for humans. I think that imposing higher taxes on these companies would discourage them from taking advantage of animals and possibly motivate them to seek alternative ways of testing.
Proponents of animal testing argue that it is the only available and accurate approach to testing. They claim that animals are best experimental subjects that can help modulate and understand how products may affect the human body. However, it is not quite true as new, innovative methods of testing are emerging that help avoid unnecessary cruelty. Thus, Human Society International (2017) stressed that cell-based in vitro methods and computer modelling help achieve the same or even better results. One may expect that imposing higher taxes on companies would encourage them to invest in these advanced technologies, thus eliminating the practice of animal testing as such.
However, there are some challenges that need to be considered. First, companies may oppose this discriminatory decision because it is controversial from the legal perspective. Second, smaller companies may lack resources to develop and apply computer models, enzymatic screens, bioinformatics tools, in vitro cell cultures, and other techniques (Doke & Dhawale, 2015). It may be more cost-effective for them to continue using animal testing rather than investing substantial human and financial resources in new technologies. Finally, companies may be reluctant to replace their established practices with some innovative ones that may not even work. Therefore, governments planning to impose higher taxes for animal testing should consider these challenges and create favorable conditions for companies to change. Raising awareness and promoting research are critical for making the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industry more responsible and effective.
BBC. (2013). EU bans sale of all animal-tested cosmetics. BBC News. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-21740745
Doke, S. K., & Dhawale, S. C. (2015). Alternatives to animal testing: A review. Saudi Pharmaceutical Journal, 23(3), pp.223–229.
Human Society International (2017). Costs of animal and non-animal testing. Retrieved from http://www.hsi.org/issues/chemical_product_testing/facts/time_and_cost.html
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