Caution: This is a sensitive topic, while there are no graphic images present in this article, the information provided may be upsetting. Additionally, certain source links in this article may contain sensitive images and subject matter.
What is animal testing?
This is the term animal testing as defined by the Humane Society International.
“..procedures performed on living animals for purposes of research into basic biology and diseases, assessing the effectiveness of new medicinal products, and testing the human health and/or environmental safety of consumer and industry products such as cosmetics, household cleaners, food additives, pharmaceuticals and industrial/agro-chemicals.”Humane Society International
Animal testing is considered a form of animal cruelty. According to PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), an estimated 100 million animals suffer and die in the U.S. every year in cruel chemical, drug, food, and cosmetics tests.
How does it work?
Cosmetic testing is conducted on Rabbits, Guinea Pigs, Rats, and Mice. Animals in the rodent family are typically used in cosmetic testing due to their small size, low cost, and quick reproduction rate. In addition to that, humans and rodents tend to have similar if not the same sets of genes. According to the National Human Genome Research Institute, “On average, the protein-coding regions of the mouse and human genomes are 85 percent identical; some genes are 99 percent identical while others are only 60 percent identical.”
These are the tests conducted on animals for cosmetic safety, per the Human Society:
- 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 (common practice for pregnant rabbits and rats).
- 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.
In many cases, after the experimentation is complete the animal is killed, either by asphyxiation, neck-breaking or decapitation.
Animal Testing is not necessary
It is the job of FDA through the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act makes sure cosmetics are safe and properly labeled. While animal testing is not illegal in the united states, the FD&C Act does not specifically require the use of animals in testing cosmetics for safety There is still a requirement for companies to provide proof that the cosmetic ingredients being used are safe.
Alternatives for safety approval
There are numerous methods to provide testing data for the safety and efficacy of cosmetics. This includes and is not limited to:
Human cells cultures, Human volunteer studies, and computer models.
There are over 50 different non-animal-reliant tests that can provide data and results for cosmetic ingredient testing. Many of these options tend to be more accurate in their results.
Not all cosmetics are made using animal testing to meet safety regulations. In fact, several countries including but not limited to, India, Russia, Argentina, Colombia, Canada, Japan, and the European Union have either passed or are implementing legislation against animal testing.
What can you do?
Cruelty Free Cosmetics
There are many cosmetic brands available to the public that do not use animal testing. They can be identified by cruelty-free logos.
There are three logos used on cosmetics that are certified as cruelty free (see below). The logos come from 3 organizations that provide certifications to cruelty-free products, The Leaping Bunny, PETA, and Choose Cruelty Free (CCF).
Below are three organizations that are working to protect animals from inhumane testing.
– Cruelty Free International
– The Humane Society
For more charitable organizations check out The ethicalelephant.com’s article “Charities against animal testing”.
How do you feel about cosmetics being tested on animals? Leave a comment down below!