Animal Testing for Cosmetics

We are blessed in so many ways that it can be hard to see what truly lies behind our day to day luxuries.  Pampering, head to toe, in products that make us feel relaxed, beautiful, refreshed and just downright special, (as we should all feel).  But when is the last time that you stopped to think; at what expense are these products being made?  Not the actual cost, but the moral cost?  Who suffers while we gain?  Do we point fingers or should we start taking responsibility for our own consumerism?

little-fuzzThe facts are that there is a large majority of cosmetic testing that goes on today where they use animals as their subjects.  Yes, that’s right, that cute little “wabbit” is the one they use to check for safety and hazard potential before it goes on our own delicate skin.

*Although they are not required by law, several tests are commonly performed by exposing mice, rats, rabbits and guinea pigs to cosmetics ingredients. This can include:

  • skin and eye irritation tests where chemicals are rubbed onto the shaved skin or dripped into the eyes of restrained rabbits without any pain relief
  • repeated force-feeding studies lasting weeks or months to look for signs of general illness or specific health hazards such as cancer or birth defects; and
  • widely condemned “lethal dose” tests, in which animals are forced to swallow large amounts of a test chemical to determine the dose that causes death.

At the end of a test the animals are killed, normally by asphyxiation, neck-breaking, or decapitation. Pain relief is not provided. In the United States, a large percentage of the animals used in such testing (such as laboratory-bred rats and mice) are not counted in official statistics and receive no protection under the Animal Welfare Act.

It is heartbreaking and sad for those of us that have a true affinity and love for animals.  No shame is necessary but education is key.  Learning what is behind your favorite products, ensuring that they are coming from a natural source and from a cruelty free testing resource are a step in the right direction.  Know that here in the United States animal testing is NOT required like it is in China.  We truly do have choices.

*What can be done to end animal testing for cosmetics? 
One approach is through legislative and policy initiatives that prohibit the testing of cosmetics on animals. The Humane Cosmetics Act was introduced in the United States and if enacted would prohibit animal testing for cosmetics in the U.S. and the import of animal-tested cosmetics. Europe has led the way by banning all animal testing for cosmetic products and the sale of all newly animal-tested cosmetics. A longer term approach is to develop non-animal tests that provide a broader range of human safety information—including information about cancer and birth defects—that would provide complete evaluation of new products. Until that time, an effective approach is consumer pressure; companies will get the idea if consumers show a strong preference for cruelty-free cosmetics and support an end to cosmetics animal testing.