Getting that lipstick, detergent, or pet shampoo? You might be unknowingly funding animal cruelty. This blog post will give you a gist of animal testing and how you can easily help animals on a day-to-day basis simply by being a conscious consumer.
What is Animal Testing?
Animal testing is a procedure whereby ingredients and/or the final formulation of a soon-to-be developed product is experimented on an animal to test for “safety and effectiveness”. During these experiments, rabbits, dogs, cats, guinea pigs, mice, birds, etc are placed in comfortable settings where product formulations are gently massaged onto their skin and it’s the best place any animal wants to be.
Oh, how we wish.
In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Animal testing involves crude and painful experiments on animals to develop new cosmetics and household products which includes many of our pets’ grooming products. Animals are usually housed in laboratories that are worlds away from their natural environment (i.e. mice and rats are kept in small boxes; dogs, cats, rabbits, non-human primates and other species of animals are found to be kept in wired cages). Some of these experiments includes:
1) The Draize Eye & Skin Tests
The Draize test is used to measure irritation and corrosion caused to the eye or the skin. The process includes dripping chemicals into the eyes of a rabbit or applying onto his shaved or scraped skin. The rabbits are fully restrained to prevent them from pawing their eyes or bodies to ease the discomfort and so interfere with the experiment. The results to these rabbits are usually blindness, ulceration, swelling, bleeding and skin cracking. Rabbits are known to be chosen for such experiments due to their gentle nature, are small to handle and easy to maintain, breed fast thus creating new test subjects quickly and unlike humans, they have no tear ducts to flush out the harmful substances in their eyes and so chemicals could be tested for longer periods of time.
2) LD 50 Toxicity Test
LD stands for Lethal Dose and LD50 signifies the dose that is needed to kill 50% of the animals used in the particular experiment to test for toxicity of a household product. The test is commonly conducted by forcing chemicals down an animal’s throat through a feeding tube. Other methods include injection, forced breathing of the vapour (LC50, lethal concentration 50%), and application of the substance to the animal’s skin.
Animal testing harms the planet too. To conduct animal testing, animals are constantly bred and millions of them are eventually disposed as pathogenic or hazardous waste, according to the New England Anti-Vivisection Society (NEAVS).
Behind Animal Testing (Images)
The following are some pictures taken by undercover activists in animal testing facilities. Warning: Some pictures may make you uncomfortable.
Ew, that’s terrible! But isn’t it a necessary evil in order to have safe & effective products?
Science has brought us till today where alternative testing methods that do not involve animals are available which are also more reliable and cost-effective. In addition, there are already over 8,000 ingredients in the market that are proven safe and effective for manufacturers to develop their new products. Many socially-conscious companies in the cosmetic, household products and pet care industries have already swear off animal testing and are producing excellent products. In fact, the European Union (EU) has banned the testing of cosmetics on animals and sale of most animal tested products. Israel has followed suit and banned the import and marketing of cosmetics, toiletries and detergents that were tested on animals.
What can I do to help?
Once people are aware of what goes behind animal testing, one of the first things they are eager to know is: what can I do to help these animals and to stop animal testing? The easiest way to help is to choose cruelty-free products whenever you shop for your home, personal care items and even for your pets (such as those listed in the Leaping Bunny program and PETA). By doing so you’re supporting these companies’ animal-friendly initiatives as well as telling those who still do that animal testing is outdated and unnecessary. Beware though, some companies claim to be cruelty-free but aren’t listed in the above shopping guides. You may want to write to the company to clarify its cruelty-free policy. Here are some questions you may ask:
- Does the company test its products, ingredients, or formulations on animals?
- Does it contract with an outside laboratory to conduct tests on animals?
- If it does not currently conduct or contract out tests on animals, does this decision reflect a permanent commitment to using only humane alternatives?
- If the company is cruelty-free, find out if they are aware of the cruelty-free certification program such as the Leaping Bunny and suggest that they take steps to join the program.
By choosing cruelty-free, you can definitely feel good knowing that you are doing your part for animals and the environment through what you buy.
Thinking of going cruelty-free for your pets as well? Browse through cruelty-free pet products at www.bubbly-petz.com.