Sunday, November 2, 2008

Animal testing for cosmetics

Due to lab testing, "one animal dies every second in the US, in Japan every 2 seconds, and in the UK every 12 seconds" (source: Choose Cruelty Free). Over six million animals were experimented on in Australia in 2004 (source: AAHR). Although this figure doesn't address the severity of the experiments, it's still a staggering amount. Shouldn't animals have the right to live without this kind of exploitation, as we do?

The animals used for testing are: dogs, preferably beagles for their docility and easily maintained hair, cats, monkeys, mice, rats, rabbits, sheep and pigs.

image credit: quetxal

Animal rights organisations argue with those in the medical field about whether the testing is necessary. One one hand, humans and animals are biologically different, so the animal testing results can be irrelevant to us, and many of the testing results gathered have been ineffective. However, drugs have the potential to be harmful to humans if not tested first.

I'm not a scientist. I don't know who's right. But I do know that cosmetics are tested on animals as well as drugs. Animal testing for cosmetics is unnecessary, and proof of that is simply that vegan cosmetics are on the market, and nobody's died. Although cruelty-free drug options don't exist, cruelty-free cosmetics definitely do. I prefer to purchase those products and I encourage you to do the same. Here's why:

  • They're available at a number of different price points and some brands are very inexpensive.
  • For most items of cosmetics you buy, there is a vegan alternative.
  • If you care about animals, take a stand and show it by choosing not to endorse unnecessary animal testing for cosmetics.
  • They aren't necessarily hard to find. You can find cruelty-free cosmetics at your local supermarket.
  • The products not tested on animals aren't in any way inferior. I love my Nature's Organics shampoo a lot more than the Sunsilk and Pantene I previously used.
It's a simple way to make an ethical difference. Visit (AU) or (INT) for lists of accredited cruelty-free cosmetics. Another thing to note is that although product might state 'This product is not tested on animals', they may be sneakily hiding the fact that the ingredients were tested on animals. Check it on one of those sites first.

Here's a short list of Australian, widely-available cruelty-free make up brands:
Face of Australia

And cruelty-free hair care:
De Lorenzo
Organic Care
Nature's Organics

Body care:
Thursday Plantation
Nature's Organics

I also have to mention that, despite their reputation, The Body Shop lost its CCF accreditation: something to do with the L'Oreal takeover in 2006, perhaps. It seems they follow the animal-testing practices of their parent company now.

If you can't find a particular product in a cruelty-free version, Google it. There's a wealth more information available. I found a lot of the answers to my questions by searching the Vegetarian and Vegan Society of Queensland forum.

For more info:
Choose Cruelty Free
Caring Consumer
AAHR Medical research fact sheet

And if you're interested, I use:
Nature's Organics shampoo and conditioner - available at most supermarkets
Innoxa Satin Sheen Natural Finish Makeup - I love how light it is. Gives me a smoother complexion and looks like I'm wearing nothing at all.
Innoxa eye liner pencil - from a pharmacy
Thursday Plantation roll-on deoderant - I got this from a pharmacy, I think
Red Seal Natural toothpaste - available at supermarkets
Nature's Organics sorbolene cream - available at most supermarkets or pharmacies


Kerry said...

Ow I didn't know that about The Body Shop. Damn. And I bought a body butter from there today too :(

Oh well, at least now I know. Thanks for letting us know!

Lulu said...

Great article! Cosmetic companies regularly test on animals. It is terrible. It is important to check where the product comes from, look for certification, and make sure it is cruelty free and not tested on animals. I prefer to make my own products and/or buy organic natural skin care products that i know are safe.