Animal testing, otherwise known as ‘vivisection’, still plays a large part in the beauty industry, with over 100 million animals being exposed to horrific experiments every year in the US alone. This definitely needs to be stopped, but what are the facts, and what can we do to stop this form of animal cruelty?
Although it was made illegal to sell animal-tested products in the EU in March 2013, animal-testing is still a prerequisite in order to sell cosmetics in countries such as China. Following the European ban, Gavin Grant, chief executive of the RSPCA, made this statement:
There are still many animals being used across the world to develop cosmetics products that will be sold outside of the EU. We will now be taking our message to these countries and companies to ask them to follow our lead and end this suffering.
This means that if companies wish to sell their products abroad, they will have to conduct animal tests, preventing them from being cruelty-free.
Whilst several companies, such as MAC and Avon, suggest that they generally “avoid” animal testing, they also state that they cannot guarantee that their products are 100% cruelty-free. Avon’s website includes this statement:
Unfortunately, a few countries require […] animal testing. Avon, in partnership with other organizations, works to help advance government acceptance of alternative non-animal testing methods. But if a compromise cannot be reached, we must comply with the testing required by local law.
Therefore, despite the EU ban, animal testing is still a large problem in the cosmetics industry, and statements such as these simply appear to be a device to distract people from the fact that they still test on animals.
Additionally, many companies have found a loophole to refer to themselves as ‘cruelty-free’, since they continue to release products that have previously been tested on animals, as the 2013 law states that only products that have been newly tested in this way are prohibited. Below is a list of a few companies that either sell in countries that require animal testing, or continue to sell products that have been previously tested on animals:
The greed of these companies is the root of the issue; they only continue testing on animals so they can make more profit in countries that require this form of experimentation. In buying cosmetics and household products that are cruelty-free, we can show our support for companies that don’t try to make money at the expense of animals’ lives.
But it’s not all bad!
Many organisations are taking action to eradicate animal testing around the world, such as the Leaping Bunny Program, which companies can apply to in order to become certified as cruelty-free (you can find their logo on the back of cosmetics and household products). Just by conducting a quick search on Google, you will be able to find an extensive list of companies that don’t test on animals, and even some, such as Lush and Barry M, that are 100% vegetarian! Lush states on its website that they ‘work collaboratively with forward-thinking scientists and animal rights groups to create alternative long-term solutions to animal testing for the global cosmetics industry.’ Below is another list which includes a few companies that are cruelty-free:
According to the Humane Society International, more than 40 tests have been validated as safe alternative methods to animal testing which are, in fact, more cost-effective. It has also been suggested that these methods are safer for humans, since we are not relying on the tolerances of other species to certain chemicals. This is a step in the right direction, which hopefully means that eventually all products will be tested using alternative methods. And, by becoming cruelty-free consumers, we are helping to put an end to animal abuse in the cosmetics industry.
If you want to learn more about cruelty-free products, visit Leaping Bunny.