A Bunny Would Never Wear Mascara
From mascara to bleach - animals are used in product testing.
Many years ago, I took a job in an animal testing facility in Philadelphia. They mainly tested cosmetics and household products for big companies before marketing.
On my interview, the director told me, “Once you've been here a few days, you lose respect for all living things.”
I was instantly horrified.
I accepted the job so I could see for myself what I had been reading about for years; that animals were tortured and killed for non-essential luxury items such as cosmetics and personal care items. I worked there for almost one year. What I had been reading about was true. Animals were treated inhumanely and suffered so that mascara or deordorant could be marketed. They suffered a great deal in the name of science and safety. However, the reality of it is that testing these products on animals does nothing to ensure consumer safety.
And it isn't required by any law.
Rabbits were routinely used for testing products but consider that rabbits do not have tear ducts to wash away chemicals as humans do. Any results from a test done on rabbits tells us nothing about how a human would react.
I asked an employee in charge of 'gassing' animals with toxic chemicals if this was all to guarantee human safety. He laughed and stated, “No, this does nothing to guarantee safety – it's done to protect ourselves against consumer lawsuits.”
One frivolous lawsuit consisted of holding a rabbits eye under running water for 24 hours straight. Why? Because a consumer claimed her mascara irritated her eye and wanted to sue. Ridiculous? I think so.
Add to that tests done that clearly damaged the skin and eyes of animals but companies could not market the product with those results. The lab would be instructed to re-do the test at different 'dosing' levels until the desired results were obtained. It's deceptive marketing at its best.
And then factor in all of the products that passed animal tests with flying colors but once consumed by humans, were found to be toxic and sometimes deadly.
But there is good news. As consumers become increasingly educated on this issue they are opting for the cruelty-free alternatives and that sends a big message to the companies that still test on animals. Many major companies such as Mary Kay and Nature's Gate ceased all animal testing and now stamp their products “cruelty-free” or 'no animal testing.'
Other companies such as Johnson & Johnson, Unilever and Church & Dwight, however, continue animal testing.
Europe has recently banned all animal tests for cosmetic ingredients, formulations, and final products. In addition, the sale of cosmetics and ingredients that have been tested on animals, regardless of where the testing occurred, is also prohibited.
There are effective, state-of-the-art technologies to test product toxicity that could replace outdated animal testing methods.
According to The American Anti-Vivisection Society in Jenkintown, alternatives are being developed and utilized. Their mission is to “end the use of animals in science through education, advocacy, and the development of alternative methods.”
And just how many animals are used in cosmetic and household product testing?
Vicki Katrinak, Policy Analyst for AAVS said there is no way of knowing the exact numbers of animals used in cosmetic testing. “Animals such as birds, rats and mice are not covered by animal welfare laws so their numbers are not recorded, " she said.
The trend, Katrinak added, is that less and less animals are being used and is optimistic that the ban in Europe will have a ripple effect in the United States for companies to development more alternatives.
AAVS, in partnership with The Leaping Bunny Program has compiled a list of 360 'certified' companies that have stopped all animal testing. She urges people to contact companies that have not joined this list to consider it. Some, she said, do not animal test but are not aware of the importance of showing this to the public A letter or phone call could make the difference, she explained. “There are so many ingredients out there already known to be safe,” stated Katrinak, "We don’t' need to be testing on animals for cosmetic purposes.”
As consumers we vote with our dollars. It sends a strong message to companies when we stop purchasing their products. There are actions you can take from buying only cruelty free products to writing a letter to companies like Revlon and Johnson & Johnson, urging them utilize non-animal testing methods for their products.
Cruelty-Free products are easy to find. Giant, Wegmans and Bunn's Natural Foods in Southampton have large selections from lipstick and lotions to herbal hair color and shampoo. And you could ask your local store to carry a line of cruelty-free cosmetics and household products, if they don't already.
The list of cruelty-free products include: Seventh Generation, The Body Shop, Earth Friendly Products, Aubrey Organics, Kiss My Face and Burt's Bees. And add to that 354 more!
Almost anywhere you buy your personal care items you'll find some cruelty-free products.
For a complete list of companies and products that are Cruelty-Free, visit http://www.leapingbunny.org/shopping.php . They list all companies that have stopped testing including pet products, cosmetic companies, household products and personal care items.
For more information from The American Anti Vivisection Society; www.aavs.org