Many buyers don’t know that not only medicines, but also beauty products are still tested on animals. A campaign against animal testing of beauty products was successful in 2013, since the European Union signed a ban on animal testing in EU, but this directive does not restrict animal testing in other countries. The most known is China, that requires animal testing for all cosmetic companies, that want to sell their products on Chinese market. If the companies already tested their products with other methods (such as volunteers), they still have to test on animals or pay China for the tests. Such companies are Revlon, Mary Kay, Estee Lauder, Avon and Oriflame. The third category are companies that don’t test on animals, but can’t guarantee the ingredients weren’t tested or are owned by companies, that do test on animals. Such companies are L’Occitane, Melvita (owned by L’Occitane), Body shop, Yves Rocher and others.
But why is animal testing even controversial? At least from the ethical perspective, because the test are very painful (for example use of acid in eyes) and in most cases death (when determining fatal dosage of substance), but the animal are executed also after the tests (because they aren’t needed any more).
Why test on animals?
But why would cosmetic products even be tested on animals? The most used argument between supporters of animal testing is, that animals are very similar to humans (we share 98,8% of genes with chimpanzees). But this makes us question if is it ethical to test on beings so similar to us? Animal testing supporters of course change the argument, that animals are too different from humans to even compare (not only by appearance, but also because of lack of emotion and intellect). Anyway, it is very difficult to ethically justify use of animals in painful testings, when there are many better alternatives.
what can i do?
I’ve only came across this topics a few years ago, because it seemed almost impossible, that companies would still test on animals in 21st century. How can public, that likes to talk about well being of animals and environment, support animal testing? I guess they don’t know about it. In fact companies would do anything to cover the truth. Buyers wouldn’t feel very good about knowing that animals are in pain because of their cosmetics. How could the brands present they found that a certain cream is ”for sensitive skin” or that ”this product must not get into the eyes”? I wonder who sacrificed his eyes to test what happens…
The most important thing consumers can do is stop buying products tested on animals or brands, that are owned by such companies. Ingredients can also be a problem, because companies have difficulties ensuring that other companies did not test it on animals. This divides companies and brands into three categories: cruelty free list (with products, not tested on animals and ingredients, also not tested on animals + certificated cruelty free cosmetics), grey list (where companies can not ensure other companies did not test the ingredients) and black list (with companies, that do test on animals or pay other companies for tests). Some organizations like PETA create lists with companies, that DO test (link) and those who DO NOT test (link), but this data is not very reliable as companies can pay to get on the cruelty free list (even if they DO test on animals). I like a Facebook group Bela lista izdelkov, ki niso testirani na živalih (link) (only in Slovenian), where members really like to help others with advice on which brands to choose from. They also communicate with companies, for which we don’t know if they do test on animals or not and that is very important. Companies like to avoid direct answers and usually talk about the previously mentioned directive (EU ban on animal testing), which sadly is not restricting animal testing outside of European Union. It also does not restrict animal testing in EU as companies can test outside in other countries (like L’oreal and many others).
which brands are cruelty free (do not test on animals)?
Lists often change, so regular checks are adviced. In the time of writing this lists are the most accurate:
- cruelty free (DO NOT test): link
- DO test: link (you can also find this list at the bottom of this post)
- grey list (do not know if ingredients are test or not): link
These lists are quite long, so I will soon be posting a short list of companies I recommend 🙂 Sign up for newsletter below to get the mail when it will be published.
CRUELTY FREE certificates
The easiest way to buy cruelty free products is to buy products with cruelty free certificates. There are quite a few on the market, which makes it difficult to decide, so a list of cruelty free certificates you can trust will soon be published.
ALTERNATives to animal testing
- In-vitro testing
This method enables testing of ingredients and final products on a simulation of human skin. This is one of the most accurate testing methods, as animal skin or mucous membrane is not similar to human skin. For example testing of drugs already proved that some drugs can cure illnesses on mice, but do not work on humans. Some scientists warn, that animal testing is not necessary, but is still cheaper than alternative methods. No wonder industry isn’t interested in change.
2. Computer testing
Computer software is so advance nowadays, that basic and more advance simulations can be easily done on computers. These can also be used for simulating reactions of ingredients and drugs already in use. This would drastically lower the amount of used animals (numbers are increasing every year!).
3. Testing on volunteers
This is the most accurate method as real human skin is used and the dosage of substances is very low. With this method labs would not test unfinished products and would be more cautious than when they test on animals. Testing on volunteers should be a logical choice, because those cosmetics are meant to be used by humans, not animals! But don’t get mislead by this; testing of food for animals or for people can be very cruel as well. Have you ever though about how did scientists discover that a certain margarine lowers cholesterol? That’s right, with testing on animals. These did not look like idealized commercials with happy families; scientists first increased their cholesterol levels and then force-fed them to test if levels drop or animals die because of heart and vascular illnesses. These differ from human illnesses, so these researches can not help cure humans.
4. Human body simulators
Did you know, that american army uses live animals to test psychological conditions of their soldiers? They stab them with knives (without any sedatives and pain killers) and cut their organs. This way they recreate high blood loss and check soldiers’ response to suffering. You can read more about this here (link) and find many videos (secretly filmed) of such trainings. I don’t advice watching them to anyone with upset stomach or with a bit of compassion.
What is your opinion on animal testing of beauty products and drugs on animals? Share it in comments below 🙂
SOURCES AND ADVICED READINGS: