I came across this article and was impressed at the wide scope of information it offered in such a short, easy to read article. I found respect in the fact that it offered alternative solutions to animal testing and also mentioned the fact that tests done on animals is not transferable to humans.
This article was posted by IDA.org - In Defense of Animals
The Hidden Ingredient in Cosmetic Testing: Animal Suffering
Every year, cosmetics companies kill millions of animals to test their products. These companies claim they test on animals to establish the safety of their products and ingredients for consumers. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not require animal testing for cosmetics, and alternative testing methods are widely available and lead to more reliable results. Hundreds of companies – including Avon, The Body Shop and Mary Kay – already use humane non-animal testing methods to ensure the safety of their cosmetics.
Painful and Deadly Tests
Product testing is commonly performed on animals to measure the levels of skin irritancy, eye tissue damage, and toxicity caused by various substances used in the manufacture of cosmetics. In the Draize test, caustic substances are placed in the eyes of conscious rabbits to evaluate damage to sensitive eye tissues. This is extremely painful for the rabbits, who often scream when the substances are applied and sometimes break their necks or backs trying to escape the restraints.
Lethal Dosage (LD) tests are used to determine the amount of a substance that will kill a predetermined ratio of animals. For example, in the LD50 test, subjects are forced to ingest poisonous substances (through stomach tubes, vapor spray inhalers or injection) until half of them die. Common reactions to LD tests include convulsions, vomiting, paralysis and bleeding from the eyes, nose, mouth or rectum.
The Failure of Animal Testing
Not only is animal testing inhumane; it is inherently inaccurate. For example, LD tests do not measure human health hazards, but only determine how toxic the product is to the type of animal it was tested on. Test results cannot be extrapolated from a mouse to a rat, let alone from a rat to a human. Each species reacts differently to various substances. Moreover, LD test results can be affected by the age and sex of the animals tested, their housing and nutritional conditions and how the compound is administered.
Humane and Effective Alternatives
Non-animal testing methods that are more reliable and less expensive have been developed. These make use of cell and skin tissue cultures, corneas from eye banks, and sophisticated computer and mathematical models. Some companies avoid testing altogether by using non-toxic natural ingredients or those that have already been safety-approved by the Cosmetics, Toiletry and Fragrance Association. As Gordon Baxter, cofounder of Pharmagene Laboratories, which uses only computers and human tissues to create and test drugs once said, “If you have information on human genes, what’s the point of going back to animals?”
Why Test On Animals?
Regulatory agencies don’t require animal testing of cosmetics, and the effectiveness of non-animal product testing methods has been thoroughly demonstrated. In 2003, the European Union passed a ban on the use of animals in cosmetics testing starting in 2009, and a complete sales ban effective in 2013. So why do some American companies still insist on conducting these barbaric and obsolete tests?
The resistance of industry technicians and researchers trying to protect their jobs accounts for some of the reason. In addition, corporate legal departments typically use animal testing as a way to evade liability in the event of a lawsuit. However, consumers who purchase products from companies that test on animals are also partly responsible. Compassionate consumers must use their purchasing power to send a strong message to cosmetics manufacturers that testing on animals is cruel and unacceptable.
What you can do
1. Only buy products from companies that don’t test on animals! A comprehensive list is available at www.leapingbunny.org. Encourage your friends and family members to support humane companies, as well.
2. Let companies currently testing cosmetics on animals know that you will not buy their products until they stop. Most companies have toll-free numbers that you can call for free!