All those who have watched the movie ‘Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde’, must have noticed how cosmetics companies use animals for testing their products and ingredients before they are actually confirmed to be used on people. The movie does not exactly show the process of testing though. Most people are under the impression that testing cosmetics on an animal means to apply lipstick, nail polish or mascara to the subject animal. This might seem to be a funny sight, right? But that is not how the tests take place. Read on to find out about the gruesome truth behind some of the famous brand names that many of us might make use of in our day- to – day life.
We all love our pets at home. Even if some pet lovers do not own any animals themselves, they make it a point to stop by, to pet or play with a stray on the road, even if it is just for a while. We love our animals like our own children and cannot bear to think of hurting them. Yet, we unknowingly use products that have been prepared after torturing and killing numerous animals. These are tested on animals first because they contain chemicals that can have dangerous side effects on people. It is now time for us to stop and think. We cannot let this go on and to stop it we need to first acquaint ourselves with the facts regarding this.
Primarily, we need to clear our misconceptions about the testing that takes place with animals in the laboratories.
• Animal testing does not involve only mice. Companies that conduct animal testing use many different species like rabbits, guinea pigs, fish, birds, cats and dogs, as well as mice and rats. These animals are usually bought from breeders or taken from shelters.
• It is not only cosmetic companies that test their products on animals. Many items purchased and used by consumers every day, such as household cleansers, cosmetics, drugs, cigarettes, paints, dyes, plastics, food additives and pesticides.
• The products are not just applied to the animals like they are on humans. It involves force feeding subject animals, skin and eye irritation tests like testing products on their shaved skin and inside their eyes. This is extremely torturous to the helpless animals.
• Generally, they are not taken care of well and no pain relief is administered to the animals and they suffer from excruciating pain. They are even burned, crippled or poisoned. Many animals even suffer from depression, anxiety and other psychological disorders in laboratories.
• The animals are not set free after the tests. Most animals are killed during the process or soon after. Even pregnant animals and their fetuses are killed mercilessly.
• Testing products on animals does not mean that they are safe on humans. Each species reacts differently to various substances. In fact, 92% of products that pass animal tests fail in human clinical trials because they are too dangerous or don’t work.
Is there a humane alternative?
Science has greatly advanced and now we have different alternatives that could be used instead of causing any harm animals. Companies can use ingredients that are already known to be safe, of which there are thousands. These ingredients have been safely used for decades or have been tested in the past and don’t require new testing. Companies can also use non-animal tests that are already available or invest in the development of new non-animal methods. Nearly 50 non-animal tests have been validated for use. Cell culture, molecular and computation methods are now well-developed scientific tools. Human skin cultures can be grown and purchased for testing skin irritation testing. Robotic technology can screen thousands of chemicals at once using cells grown in the lab. These modern alternatives can offer results that are not only more relevant to people, but faster, more efficient and cost-effective.
In March 2013, the European Union (EU) banned the sale of any cosmetics or cosmetics ingredients that have been tested on animals. This means that companies all around the world will have to abandon animal testing for cosmetics that they want to sell in the EU. Israel, too, has banned cosmetics testing on animals. The Drugs Controller General of India has suspended all tests on animals for cosmetics until non-animal methods are accepted, and the government is considering a permanent ban. However, in countries like China and the United States of America animals are still used to test cosmetics ingredients and products. Brazil also requires that some, but not all, cosmetics be tested on animals.
What can we do to stop this?
Firstly, we must try to stop purchasing products that employ such inhumane methods for their production. We should write to these companies to tell them why we do not support their product. The PETA website has a list of brands which use animal testing. Also, we must educate and urge more and more people to join together in large numbers and condemn this terrible practice.
It is true that giving up your favorite shampoo or lipstick is going to be hard. But just think of the number of animals that were hurt and killed. It is also true that we are not directly involved but we must keep in mind that the people who knowingly don’t try to do anything to stop wrong from happening, are actually partaking in it. One does not becoming an animal lover just by branding oneself that. The actions of that person must be such that work for the good of animals. Therefore, if people all around the world join hands to stop this then soon testing on animals will be banned in every single country and animals can live a safe and happy life.