Controversy Surrounding Animal Testing in the Cosmetic Industry

Controversy Surrounding Animal Testing in the Cosmetic Industry


This literature review is focused on the controversy that surrounds animal testing in the cosmetic industry. Utilizing a examination of quantitative and qualitative methodological approaches this research provides an inclusive means to gather relevant data. The results show the benefits of a well-rounded and balanced qualitative research approach. This study could be applied to any study of methodology.

Research Philosophy

Research in the field of animal testing in the cosmetic industry that utilizes the Positivism, or quantitative, Interpretivism, or qualitative and Post Positivism, a hybrid of both will be examined in order to determine which method is the most relevant to a study of corporate social responsibility in the oil industry. These methods are created in such a way that provides critical information that allows for a credible examination of the strengths and weaknesses in the underlying industry (King, Keohane and Verba 1994, pp. 3). This evaluation will allow for an interpretation of actions based on gathered evidence which will provide insight into the most relevant method of researching the corporate social responsibility elements in any industry.

Quantitative methods assist in the discovery and assessment of empirical evidence through statistical patterns, while the qualitative methods enable a wide range of the subjects experience to be added to the research (Yin 2003, pp. 16). This form of analysis will aid in the evaluation of the justification of approaches to animal testing in the cosmetics industry.

This section will include the research method, sampling, reliability, validity and data analysis process.

Research Approach

Despite the potential ethical and moral issues surrounding animal experimentation in the cosmetics industry, Kimmel (2007, pp. 5) utilized a quantitative method employing the Positivism approach that argued that the end result has produced substantial results benefiting the fate of the human race. His approach illustrates the benefits that can be achieved through the construction of empirical evidence based on scientific methods. Studies including the potential for a large data set benefit substantially by the positivist approach Anderson (2006, pp. 111) also used the quantitative method to employ the positivist philosophy in order to ascribe the instruments of deductive reasoning and sound hypothesis testing to achieve his objectives. His studies goal to evaluate the impact of the neural mechanisms on the emotional response to the fear stimuli was ably achieved through the implementation of the large sample sets examined in the quantitative manner. The benefits attributed to the end results have been credited with illustrating the links that exist between the behavioural manipulation potential and the fight or flight response (Anderson 2006, pp. 111). This approach can be credited with an objective view of the world that allows the subjective experience to unfold.

Neal (1985, pp. 423) strongly supports the notion of animal testing citing his quantitative studies employing the approach to examining associated social attitudes. With the concept of better living standards for the animals involved as well as advanced diagnostic methods for future animal generations, his approach was founded on the belief that the animals studied were separate from the human element, yet entitled to many of the living conditions. His view of this argument justifies the use of the animals through the development of their capacity to live well, demanded a close, dependant relationship with the subjects, which in turn is a net positive for all involved. Conversely, DeGrazia (1996, pp. 75) argues that animals are due equal consideration, and employing a post-positivist qualitative approach, based on a mixed method that determined that the moral and ethical utilization of animals in the testing process is wrong. He justifies his approach by ascribing a moral status and the need for an equal approach to the testing process. In this instance the study made sure that the researcher was removed from the subjects.

Wilhelmus (2013, pp. 1) utilizes the qualitative post positivism approach in order to evaluate a large number of subjects to the Draize eye test. This form of analysis employed a large number of animals in the quest to determine the influence of external irritants on the eye. The utilization of qualitative data and surveys enabled a quality assessment of conditions that illustrates the full range of potential. The need to expose a large number of subjects to chemicals in order to achieve credible results was rewarded with substantial steps forward in the industry (Loprieno1992, pp. 809). The utilization of the scientific method, in close proximity with the subjects, in order to create empirical evidence, coupled with experience is a viable practice when facing large numbers of potential subjects.

The area of animal testing, in every form, is credited with allowing major advances in the production of medicines and cosmetics (Marzulli and Maibach 1983, pp. 281). With a proven value that enables the ability to combat skin disease in both the human and animal kingdom, the justification for the methodology is argued to lie in the medical advances. Further supporting the benefits of the practice of quantitative studies, Bronaugh and Maibach (1999, pp. 167) point to the demonstrative aspects of the results which assist in determining the end parameters of the research. The converse ethical argument points to the unreliability of many of the test results to the large difference between species (PETA 2013, pp. 2).

Both the qualitative and the quantitative approach have been utilized in an applicable manner, yet, the most relevant form for a well-balanced study of the animal testing in the cosmetic industry would be found in the qualitative mixed Post Positivist approach, as employed by Wilhemus (2013, pp. 1) and Degrazia (1996, pp. 72). This method allows the production of empirical data via the questionnaires, alongside the addition of personal experience which will be essential in the study of the animal testing in cosmetics industry. The potential for large sample groups during the examination will be addressed in the approach, thereby adding to the value and potential of the application.

Research Strategy

In order to achieve the goal of this study and develop a fundamental understanding of the role of the controversy that surrounds animal testing in the cosmetic industry, a qualitative approach utilizing a questionnaire structure together with industry review was determined to be appropriate (Yin 2003, pp. 16). Yin (2003, pp. 16) argues that the use reliable elements in any given analysis adds to the overall substance of the results. This approach will provide the foundation for an inclusive well rounded study.

Studies that utilize empirical research advance due to theory and logical inquiry that are developed alongside each another (Yin 2003, pp. 15).

Data Collection

Data for this study will be collected the through questionaries’ and case studies in a qualitative approach we (Yin 2003, pp. 16). This method allows for a perception of balance in the results.

Data Analysis

It is vital to efficiently decode, interpret and examine qualitative research findings (Pope, Ziebland and Mays 2000, pp. 20).

Reliability, Validity, and Generalizability

Reliability and validity are argued to be one of the most critical aspects of data analysis and collection during research (Miles and Huberman 1994, pp. 23). The credibility of quantitative results is in the associated reliability of the data and methods as well as the underlying findings. Silverman (2006, pp. 21) illustrates that reliability can be created when respondents fully understand the question. This must be present in order so that the responses can be coded correctly.

Codification is achieved by formulating questions as directly as possible, avoiding any obvious forms of ambiguity (Silverman, 2006, pp. 23). Before starting each questionnaire a brief explanation of the research as well as its themes are given to the interviewees. This facet enables interviewees to understand the exact meaning of the questions which were asked. In each instance the subjects should be informed with the same information and starting point for the discussion, this serves to putting each person at ease (Silverman 2006, pp. 24).

The potential method in which to achieve validity is through the comparison of different kinds of data, this is referred to as triangulation (Silverman 2006, pp. 25). This approach illustrates that the results have demonstrated that triangulation helps to assure the truth status of each person. The truth status was further cemented by assuring that the personal information, alongside information about the interviewees firm would be treated confidentially. Finally, the findings are promised to be reported anonymously. This anonymous strategy was applied because anonymity is presumed to improve the content of truth of the interviewees’ responses (Silverman 2006, pp. 25).

Ethical Issues

Ethical issues should be clearly and directly addressed in order to alleviate potential issues (Yin 2003, pp. 17).

Research Limitations

The primary limitation to this study stems from the methodology utilized. Qualtitative studies often are subject to a large amount of variables that have the potential to alter the results (Creswell 2003, pp. 53). The answers to the questionaries’ are often dependent of the background of the person being interviewed (Creswell 2003, pp. 51). This fact tempers the final results of the study.


Anderson, M. 2006. Tasks and techniques. New York: Nova Science Publishers.

Bronaugh, R. and Maibach, H. 1999. Percutaneous absorption. New York: Dekker.

Creswell, J. 2003. Research design. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications.

Degrazia, D. 1996. Taking animals seriously. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2013. Ban on animal testing – European Commission. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 8 Aug 2013].

Kimmel, A. 2007. Ethical issues in behavioral research. Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub..

King, G., Keohane, R. and Verba, S. 1994. Designing social inquiry. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.

Marzulli, F. and Maibach, H. 1983. Dermatotoxicology. Washington: Hemisphere Pub. Corp..

Miles, M., Huberman, A., Hlady Rispal, M. and Bonniol, J. 2003. Analyse des donnees qualitatives. Bruxelles: De Boeck universite.

Miller, N. 1985. The value of Behavioral Research on Animals. Teh Rockefeller University, 40 (4), pp. 423-440. 2013.. Cosmetics and Household-Product Animal Testing. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 8 Aug 2013].

Pope, C., Ziebland, S., & Mays, N. 2000. Analysing qualitative data. BMJ, 320(7227), 114-116. doi: 10.1136/bmj.320.7227.114

Silverman, D. 2006. Interpreting Qualitative Data (3 ed.). Oxford: The Alden Press.

Yin, R. 2003. Case study research. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications.


Controversy around animal testing and experimentation in the cosmetics industry

Is animal testing in the field of cosmetics beneficial

Should animals be subject to death in order to determine the level of toxicity in proposed cosmetics product
Should skin irritation testing be tested on mice if the animal in question will not feel any ill effects
Would you employ alternative methods over live animals in the cosmetics industry
Should the test animal be restrained during a testing
Is it allowable for a product to not be tested prior to market entry
If a test on a non-animal subject is considered inconclusive, should a live animal test be utilized
Is the European ban on animal testing a positive step
Should international companies that utilize animal testing be able to sell products in markets that ban the practice
Given the long history of animal testing, do you think that the practice has served to keep the general public safe
Is the potential for medical advances a good enough reason to use animals in testing
Does the prospect of an animal’s death stop you from allowing it to be used in the cosmetic industry
Can advances in technology fully replace the animal in the laboratory
Given the lack of similarity between subjects do you believe the results of animal testing are worth the process
What is your ethical and moral position on the practice of animal testing in the cosmetic industry
What are the primary benefits that are attributed to the practice of animal testing in the cosmetics industry
What are the primary detriments to the practice of animal testing in the cosmetic industry
What do you believe the future holds for the practice of animal testing in the cosmetics industry
Do you believe that animal testing has been beneficial for the animals standard of life
Is the practice of animal testing weakening the ability of the animal to survive