Animal Testing: Alternatives and Cruelty-Free Cosmetics

| 12/30/2010 11:21:57 AM

L.HoltHow much do you think about the common products you buy? Do you know where they’re made? How they’re formulated? Do you consider the ingredients and how they’re approved for human use?

How often do you consider the use of animal testing in a product’s development? With good reason, this practice has been called the secret ingredient in cosmetic, personal care and household products. This is something that we here at The Herb Companion are especially passionate about, and, though many of our readers may be aware of the issue, some might not. We think it’s important that all of us know we have alternatives that don’t involve cruelty to animals. The practice is alarmingly widespread, so in this blog, I’ll focus on the cosmetics industry.

The very good news is that, as consumers, we can be a powerful influence on getting companies to eliminate these barbaric practices, simply by purchasing our products from companies that do the right thing.

Testing on animals has long been used in many forms of research as a way to evaluate a product or ingredient’s effects without endangering a human. One common method is the Draize test, which measures eye irritants. Albino rabbits are chosen because their eyes are less suited to flushing irritants than regular rabbits. The test subjects are restrained, often with their eyelids clipped open as the product is applied. Sometimes the rabbits with break their own necks as they struggle to get away from the pain. Lethal dosage tests—the infamous LD50—consist of either forcing animals to ingest the chemical in question, or injecting it until a certain percentage of them die.

Perhaps the worst part of this is that none of these tests is necessary, or even particularly useful, according to some experts. FDA regulations do not require testing on animals for a cosmetic product’s approval. As more methods are developed to replace animal testing, researchers are finding that the tests they intend to replace are inexact and thus not useful in determining actual human reactions to a given product or chemical. In fact, in reaction to the cruelty and inefficiency of these tests, the European Union passed a ban on animal testing for cosmetics, to be expanded in 2013 to ban the selling any product that has been tested on animals. The cosmetics industry in America has been slow to respond. In fact, even the pharmaceuticals industry shows faster response.

There are many alternatives to animal-tested products.
Photo by junicks/Courtesy Flickr

1/9/2016 1:18:48 PM

thanks for this informative article. It's the 1st info I've seen that says it all. Let's all boycott Proctor & Gamble and Johnson We need to punch these bullies where it hurts, taking our dollars away. I use Wet & Wild cruelty free cosmetics. they're great. and very cheap!