Animal testing can occur during the testing of cosmetic products and other chemicals, drug research and development and fundamental biological research (scientific research).
The European Union has agreed to ban most cosmetic testing on animals from 2009, along with importantly a ban on importing cosmetics with ingredients tested on animals into the EU.
However, cosmetic tests actually represent a very small proportion of the procedures carried out on animals. Animal testing is carried out for many more procedures including for pesticides, food additives and preservatives.
However, fundamental biological research and drug research and development account for the largest proportion of animal testing procedures. Most testing occurs at the development rather than the research stage – before new drugs can be tested on humans they have by law to be tested on two species to test the ‘whole body’ effect.
It is possible to apply negative screens in relation to animal testing, for example screening out companies which:
- provide animal testing services
- have tested cosmetic products or their ingredients on animals in recent years
- have tested cosmetic products or their ingredients on animals in line with a fixed cut-off date policy
- have tested medicines on animals in recent years
- have tested other products on animals in recent years
It may also be possible to engage with companies on this issue.
PETA have produced specific guidance relating to cruelty-free investing – Cruelty-Free Investing: Matching Your Investments With Your Values
The use of real fur is argued to be cruel and unnecessary in modern societies. It is viewed as a luxury item for which many believe there can be little ethical justification.
Some campaigners focus particularly on fur which is not the by-product of the food industry, such as rabbit fur, but which comes from fur farms or from trapping wild animals. Others believe that all animal skin (which includes all fur and leather) contributes and supports an industry which exists only through the mistreatment of animals.
Negatives screens can be applied to companies which produce fur and leather.
Intensive farming and meat sale
Concerns around intensive farming and the sale of meat range from those who advocate for better treatment of animals in the production process of meat, to others who argue that the existence of a meat industry itself is unnecessary and cruel.
Concerns for animals include the conditions in which they are kept, how the animals are transported and the methods of slaughter.
There are also a wide range of environmental and health concerns around intensive farming; including the use of antibiotics and its contribution to antibiotic resistance, the industry’s contribution to greenhouse gases, land use and biodiversity loss.
Negative screens can be applied to companies deriving turnover from intensive farming, slaughter houses or meat sale.
Farm Animal Investment Risk and Return (FAIRR) have produced a report outlining guidance and case studies around ‘Considering Farm Animal Welfare in Investment Decision-Making‘