This morning, after waking up next to my fur baby, bestie, and buffalebrity, Barbara Jean. I flipped on the TV in time to hear the news that as of January 2020, the state of California will Ban Cosmetic Testing on Animals.
As the owner of a small local business in the beauty industry, (renew bath + body located Elmwood Ave) I have made every attempt to educate and analyze the products sold at Renew. I am proud to say that all 40 product lines (skincare/makeup/bath + body) share my belief that products should be cruelty-free.
It’s good to know that there are companies, consumers, activists, and now governments that are committed to protecting the rights of animals. As we are becoming more aware of what is being used in the products we consume, and their impact on the environment, it’s also worth spending a little time discussing the effect those products have on the thousands of mice, rats, rabbits, and dogs, etc.. used in the research and design of those products.
So, what exactly does Cosmetic Animal Testing include? How is animal testing beneficial to cosmetic companies? And, most importantly, why has testing on animals been tolerated by companies and consumers for so long?
Let me say before I go any further that I respect the sanctity, integrity, and dignity of life for humans and animals. And I strongly believe that animals are sentient, and are capable of feeling pain, discomfort, and fear.
Cosmetic testing and experimenting on live animals, involves being forced to undergo a procedure that is likely to cause pain, prolonged suffering, distress, or lasting harm. To be observed without pain management or intervention, and after they have been used, are often euthanized.
The methods can include dermal penetration, skin sensitization, acute toxicity, draize test, and skin corrosion or irritation. After a quick internet search, I located dozens of articles that outline testing parameters, that include:
- Dosing with a known toxic ingredient to document the signs and symptoms observed prior to the creatures inevitable and slow death.
- The coat being shaving, and the application of a topical ingredient known to cause an allergic reaction.
- Injection of an ingredient to the skin or eyes that may cause irritation or corrosion, and then observing the animal overtime.
How is animal testing beneficial to cosmetic companies?
The most obvious benefit is to observe the reaction on an animal prior to experimenting on a human. It’s also more cost effective and relatively unregulated, as compared to human testing.
Many alternatives to animal testing exist, and can include the use of over 5000 known and proven safe ingredients. There’s a fairly new technique called In vitro screening systems which if used would significantly reduce or eliminate the need for animal testing, and is currently used throughout Europe. In vitro tests the endpoints of a chemical to determine potential risk to humans. A third option is to use a product such as, EpiSkin, a reconstructed human epidermis.
With so many alternatives available to companies, why has animal testing continued?
There are no clear answers. Many believe it comes down to the bottom line, lobby groups, or corporate culture. But the most important takeaway is that the U.S. is up to a decade behind animal testing bans issued in other countries like, Brazil, India, Israel, New Zealand, Turkey, the UK (banned in 1998), as well as the European Union.
Bills to end animal testing have been introduced in New York and Hawaii, and have now been passed in California. These bills would “phase-out the sale of animal-tested cosmetics within state boundaries. The New York Cruelty Free Cosmetics Act introduced in 2016, and again in 2017, by assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal has been followed by the Hawaii Cruelty Free Cosmetics by State senator Mike Gabbard (D)and the California Cruelty Free Cosmetics Act by California State senator Cathleen Galgiani (D).”
Tonight, I hope you will join me in cuddling your own “Barbara Jean” a little more tightly. And tomorrow, when you wake up, I hope you will join me in applauding California for this long overdue ban on animal testing. I hope that in the coming days, we can hold thoughtful community conversations through social media, letter writing, and by initiating conversations with family and friends to ultimately call on our local and state representatives and let them know that we feel it’s time for New York to issue legislation banning animal testing.
Because technology alternatives exist.
Because we already have more than 5,000 clean, effective, and proven safe ingredients that when combined will help you defy age, beat acne, reduce skin redness, hydrate, and control oil better than chemical based ingredients.
And because hurting animals in the pursuit of beauty is wrong.
In a world where you can be anything, be kind.
Lead photo by sibya, Pixabay.