Animal Use in Science: Exploring the 3Rs

Module 7

Cosmetic Product Testing on Animals

Competency: Examine the historical, regulatory, and legal trends of cosmetic product testing on animals

Learning Objectives:

  • Describe how and what animals have traditionally been used in cosmetic testing
  • Identify alternatives to testing cosmetics on animals
  • List common symbols and phrases that indicate products are not tested on animals
  • Identify key legislative elements related to animal testing in the US
  • Compare animal testing laws in the European Union and the US
  • Identify regulatory bodies that oversee cosmetic testing in the US

Assessment Option 1: Cruelty Free Consumers Research Activity

  • Identify two cosmetic or household products that you use
  • List marketing phrases or images used to note that a product is cruelty free (if applicable)
  • Research each product to determine if it is tested on animals
  • Describe the animal testing typically used on this type of product
  • Find a similar product that is the opposite of your “tested on animals” result
  • Compare the cost and consumer ratings of your product vs a similar product that is/is not tested on animals
  • Share your thoughts on using a product option that is not tested on animals
  • Present your findings in a chart, digital presentation, outline, or written summary

Assessment Option 2: Written Argument: Letter to a Congressional Representative

  • Identify your position for or against the passage of the Humane Cosmetics Act
  • Support your position with at least three specific points regarding the impact of the act
  • Identify how passage of this act would impact humans
  • Identify how passage of this act would impact animals
  • Identify how passage of this act applies the 3Rs
Download Materials

Lesson plan, worksheets, and activities (PDF, 601 KB)


The Draize Test
(PowerPoint, 4.4 MB)

Advocacy, Policy Change, and Scientific Advancement in the Cosmetic Industry
(PowerPoint, 11.0 MB)

Cruelty Free Cosmetics
(PowerPoint, 8.2 MB)

Linked External Standards:


HS-ETS1-3 Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts


Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.