The beauty industry is a billion dollar business, but beyond the breathtaking ads and flawless models promoting products to achieve that ideal “halo glow,” there’s a terrible truth you might not want to hear: many of the products used in these advertisements are illegally tested on animals. And while this sounds like it must be an exaggeration, shockingly enough 100% of the beauty companies that use animal testing have been found guilty of cruelty and abuse.
This beauty and lifestyle blog post is going to explore this issue in depth and let you know what you can do about it.
Federal Cosmetics Act:
Upon the introduction of the federal cosmetics act in 1938, strict rules were established to protect human beings from animal cruelty (and in turn animal testing) when it came to testing beauty products. In practice however, this has become very difficult to enforce.
Currently, over 300 million animals are used in cosmetic companies’ tests every year, whether for their skin or hair care products or for their makeup. When you consider that 1,100 of these species are used each year because they grow faster and cost less than other animals like primates and horses you begin to realize how much is being taken from the next generation that’s too young to even understand what’s happening to them.
Suzannah Linton, a researcher for Humane Society International, said that “there is not one single piece of legislation that protects animals from cosmetics testing anywhere in the world.”
What’s more is that many of these tests are questionable and unethical even by industry standards. The three main types of tests are acute toxicity tests (which force an animal to ingest or inhale a large dose of chemicals at one time), skin and eye irritation tests (where various chemicals are applied to the eyes or skin to see how they react; often causing severe pain), and repeated-dose toxicity studies (where animals are exposed to low doses of chemicals over longer periods with no regard for short-term effects).
All three of these types of tests are widely considered archaic and inhumane. Yet, in the last 20 years, cosmetic companies have been allowed to use more and more new types of tests on animals to keep up with the demand for newer products.
One of the most damaging types of animal testing is frequent and prolonged exposure to ingredients that are later found to be dangerous. For example, some companies test hundreds or thousands of chemicals on one species only to discover that a few of them cause severe health problems. This is because many items are so similar that it only takes a small percentage for the animal’s health to suffer from adverse reactions all because they were tested on one model rather than a larger group like humans.
Humane Society International/Canada has campaigned for over a decade to create an alternative method for testing beauty products on animals, but the cruelty still goes on. Their approach is to create a practice known as 3R’s: Refine, where animal tests are refined to reduce suffering; Replace, a process that aims to replace animal testing with human-relevant methods; and Reduce, which focuses on developing test methods that will reduce the number of animals used.
One commonly-used strategy used today is the “new generation” test method, which uses existing scientific knowledge about ingredients instead of injecting them into an animal. Companies conduct these tests in isolated cells and tissues or using computer models in place of animals.
These strategies are a start, but there is still more harm than good being done to innocent creatures. Here are a few simple ways you can stand up for animals who are being deprived of their rights to a natural existence:
1. Write your government and tell them you want an immediate end to animal testing for cosmetics products. Let them know that you demand cruelty-free products in Canada and abroad.
2. If the government won’t listen, contact companies directly and let them know that their practice of animal testing is unacceptable in today’s society. With enough people speaking up, they will be forced to stop the abuse or lose customers.
3. You can also talk to your friends and family about these issues and start a discussion about the best ways to prevent animal testing and comply with federal laws.
By working together we can create a better world for all living creatures.