3D Printed Skin, South Korea

2019 | The End of Animal Testing

Category: Bio-Printing
Industry: Animal Testing
Location: International
Related to: Sustainability, future of technology, Bio Printing, sustainable systems, animal testing
Reviewer: Troy Droussiotis / Parsons School of Design

The cosmetics industry is one of the most wasteful industries in the world, surrounded by controversies regarding ethics and sustainability, such as packaging waste, toxic dyes, cheap labor, and water usage and contamination. One issue, however, stretches beyond cosmetics into medicine and has become an infamous and incredibly controversial topic in the last few years as a response to growing technology: animal testing. Not only is animal testing inhumane, but it is a massive sustainability issue, abusing resources and energy, all while damaging the biodiversity of habitats around the world; Not to mention, the massive amounts of toxic waste created from the disposal of animal carcasses and various chemicals used in toxicity testing, laboratory sanitation, and the upkeep of animal quarters. It is estimated that millions of animals are used in research per year that goes unreported to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). This is because the USDA does not require research facilities to report their animal usage. Though the morality of animal testing is generally not in question, the necessity of it is.

Some believe that animal testing is a necessity to any product being released for public usage; The suffering and deaths of animals are outweighed by that of humans. Some countries, such as China, even require animal testing before they allow any products to be released to the public, making it virtually impossible for cruelty-free companies to reach international recognition. The new development of bioprinting, spearheaded by Organovo, suggests an alternative method of study that is more humane, efficient, and sustainable, and could possibly bring an end to the controversy surrounding animal testing. Being in its early stages of development, many companies are apprehensive to invest in this new technology, fearing that it would be a waste of time and money. This monetary fixation invalidates the remarkable potential this technology possesses. The objective of this analysis is to (1) highlight the negative environmental impact of animal testing, (2) introduce the process of bioprinting, and (3) discuss the potential of bioprinting to further prove the validity of this innovative technology.