Behind the closed doors of laboratories millions of innocent animals are suffering needlessly as we go about living our lives in ignorant bliss. Cowering in cramped cages, deprived of everything that is natural to them, lonely and terrified, awaiting the next painful and distressing experiment.
While there are many different reasons animals are used in experiments let’s talk about the most pointless and unnecessary of all: cosmetics testing.
Despite the recent decision to ban cosmetics animal testing in NZ we still have a long way to go. There is currently no law preventing the sale and import of products tested on animals. This is where we need to be extra vigilant and know our products and understand the clever marketing that is designed to fool us.
I often wonder whose sick idea it was in the first place to drip chemicals into a rabbit’s eyes to see what would happen (The Draize test). Or to force a group of animals to ingest a product to see how much was necessary to kill 50% of them. (The LD50 [lethal dose] test is still commonly used to determine the toxicity of products.)
Did you know that until recently every batch of Botox was tested on mice (LD50 test) before being released for use on humans? Allergan, the main manufacturer of Botox, claims to have spent millions on the development of non-animal alternatives and states on their website that they have “minimised to the greatest degree possible the need for animal-based assays in the manufacture of BOTOX® and BOTOX® Cosmetic”
The words “minimise to the greatest degree” ring a few alarm bells for me. This clearly means that animals are still suffering. And what about the other companies who manufature the same product who have not been involved in the development of these alternative non-animal tests?
All that suffering so we can reduce our frown lines for a few months at a time. And it’s the mice, not us, who really do have something to frown about.
Did you know that Botox is actually classified as a medicine, not a cosmetic, allowing it to be tested on animals in countries where animal testing of cosmetics is banned? And yet it is more commonly known for its cosmetic use for temporarily freezing facial muscles in order to eliminate frown lines.
So how do we go about taking care of our appearance without causing cruelty to other beings? Simple! Just check out the SAFEshopper guide for a full list of NZ beauty and body care products that are not tested on animals.
Now, you may be wondering about the many cosmetic companies who claim not to test on animals and yet are not on any of the cruelty-free lists. Why is this? Well, in many cases it’s because they DO in fact play a part in animal testing. Take, for instance, the clever wording on make-up giant Avon’s website that claims they do not test on animals ‘except when required by law’. This basically means that they choose to sell to countries (such as China) where animal testing of cosmetics is mandatory. The same goes for Revlon and many other well known big brands. How about not selling to China, Avon and Revlon?
The testing of animals for cosmetics has now been banned in the European Union, Norway, Israel and India. New Zealand is the latest country to announce the ban.
Animals don’t use cosmetics. They are beautiful just the way they are. So why should they suffer for our vanity, and industry profit?
Laura Gentle, National Volunteer Coordinator