Given our growing environmental awareness, animal testing is a hot-button issue among beauty lovers and activists alike. As we move toward more natural, less chemical and carcinogen-packed products in our regular routines, we’ve got cruelty-free beauty on the mind, too. I will pledge to go UGLY to save animals! Will you?
Did you know that millions of animals—including dogs and cats just like the ones with whom you might share your home—are tormented in U.S. laboratories annually for cruel experiments? While this fact might have surprised you, here are the top shocking animal experimentation facts that you should know. Some of these stats are according to DoSomething.org….
- Over 100 million animals are burned, crippled, poisoned, and abused in US labs every year.
- 92% of experimental drugs that are safe and effective in animals fail in human clinical trials because they are too dangerous or don’t work.
- Labs that use mice, rats, birds, reptiles and amphibians are exempted from the minimal protections under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA).
- Up to 90% of animals used in U.S. labs are not counted in the official statistics of animals tested. Take a stand by kidnapping your friends’ products that were tested on animals (seriously!).
- Europe, the world’s largest cosmetic market, Israel and India have already banned animal testing for cosmetics, and the sale or import of newly animal-tested beauty products.
- No experiment is illegal, no matter how cruel, irrelevant to human health, redundant, or painful.
- Ninety five percent of animals used for experiments are excluded from the only federal law offering any sort of protection.
- Even when valid alternatives to animals are available, the law doesn’t require that they be used.
- Ninety two percent of experimental drugs that are safe and effective in animals fail in human clinical trials because they don’t work or are dangerous. Even animals that are protected under the AWA can be abused and tortured. And the law doesn’t require the use of valid alternatives to animals, even if they are available.
- According to the Humane Society, registration of a single pesticide requires more than 50 experiments and the use of as many as 12,000 animals.
- In tests of potential carcinogens, subjects are given a substance every day for 2 years. Others tests involve killing pregnant animals and testing their fetuses.
- The real-life applications for some of the tested substances are as trivial as an “improved” laundry detergent, new eye shadow, or copycat drugs to replace a profitable pharmaceutical whose patent expired.
- Several cosmetic tests commonly performed on mice, rats, rabbits, and guinea pigs include: skin and eye irritation tests where chemicals are rubbed on shaved skin or dripped into the eyes without any pain relief. replaces a procedure that uses animals with a procedure that doesn’t, refines a procedure to alleviate or minimize potential animal pain. If brands are able to answer “no” to all of those points, then they’re cruelty-free for all intents and purposes, even if they haven’t made it to PETA’s official list. These 10 beloved brands are among the very favorites, but what makes them even better is that they’re entirely cruelty-free, which goes to show that beauty without cruelty does exist.
- LUSH is a UK-based bath and body brand and is a longtime mainstay of vegan, cruelty-free beauty products, and their wide variety of offerings are more than just guilt-free—they’re really fun, too, with everything from a vodka-based salt scrub that banishes body acne to luxurious bath melts that render skin soft and heavenly-scented.
- E.L.F. Crazy cheap and cruelty-free? Yep, E.L.F. covers all the bases. The high-quality, low-priced brand sticks to a totally cruelty-free ethos, so much so that the company’s CEO, Joey Shamah, was award with a PETA Trail-Blazer Award for his commitment to never testing on animals. You have no reason at all to feel guilty next time you blow just your spare change on a full face’s worth of makeup. François Nars is vegan himself, so it only makes sense that his eponymous brand take the high road on animal testing. Because Heat Wave was made for your lips, not animals’. (Note that while NARS as a brand does not test on animals, their parent company, Shiseido, does.)
- NYX has affordability, accessibility, and awesome products is the name of their game when it comes to NYX, which is made all the better by the fact that they don’t test on animals. After being purchased by parent company L’Oreal, which historically tests on animals, NYX proclaimed that they would enforce remaining 100% cruelty-free despite the acquisition. That’s commitment. LOVE THESE PEOPLE!
- Physician’s Formula-BECCA BECCA makes just about every cruelty-free beauty list, and for damn good reason: It’s one of the few high-end brands to actively adopt the approach, even going so far as to condemn the practice. Quoth the brand’s website, “BECCA actively participates in collaborative research to prove that other methods are in fact more relevant and reliable. BECCA test its products comprehensively in human clinical trials. All trials are conducted on paid volunteers and neither BECCA, nor any company contracted to BECCA, conducts tests on animals.” Jump on board!
American products are animal tested in China because if any of our ingredients are not available on the Chinese market, they have to be tested. And because they don’t have laws against animal testing, you can bet that’s what they do most of the time. It’s obvious that the lawsuit put against various cosmetics companies has had an impact. Here’s to hoping that China works fast to save our furry friends from a tragic end.Replacing animal tests does not mean putting human patients at risk. It also does not mean halting medical progress. Instead, replacing animal testing will improve the quality as well as the humaneness of our science.The reasons why animal testing persists are often not scientific. Instead it can be due to conservatism within the scientific establishment – it is easier and more comfortable to simply do what has always been done. Test results on animals can be easily compared to earlier tests on animals to give confidence to scientists. Regulators can adopt a ‘tick box’ approach, divorced from the needs of the real world.
Types of alternatives
- Almost every type of human and animal cell can be grown in the laboratory. Scientists have even managed to coax cells to grow into 3D structures, such as miniature human organs, which can provide a more realistic way to test new therapies. Cell cultures have been central to key developments in areas such as cancers, sepsis, kidney disease and AIDS, and are routinely used in chemical safety testing, vaccine production and drug development. Both healthy and diseased tissues donated from human volunteers can provide a more relevant way of studying human biology and disease than animal testing.Human tissue can also be used after a person has died (e.g. post-mortems). Post-mortem brain tissue has provided important leads to understanding brain regeneration and the effects of Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.
Computer models Computer models of the heart, lungs, kidneys, skin, digestive and musculoskeletal systems already exist. They can be used to conduct virtual experiments based on existing information and mathematical data. Rapid advances in technology have allowed for the development of sophisticated scanning machines and recording techniques that can be used to safely study human volunteers.An innovative technique called microdosing can also be used in volunteers to measure how very small doses of potential new drugs behave in the human body. These microdoses are radio-labelled, injected into human volunteers and measured (usually in blood samples) using a very sensitive measuring device called an accelerator mass spectrometer
Human medical breakthroughs
- Less high-tech studies for nutrition, drug addiction and pain can also be carried out on consenting humans in the interest of advancing medical science. These studies can help replace animal tests.
- Brain imaging machines that can ‘see’ inside the brain can be used to monitor the progression and treatment of brain disease. They can help researchers understand the causes by comparing with healthy volunteers.
- With the growing sophistication of computers, the ability to ‘model’ or replicate aspects of the human body is ever more possible.
- Human tissue can be donated from surgery (e.g. biopsies, cosmetic surgery and transplants). For example, skin and eye models made from reconstituted human skin and other tissues have been developed and are used to replace the cruel rabbit irritation tests. Companies such as Episkin, Mattek and CellSystems GmbH now produce these tests in easy to use kits for companies to use to test their cosmetics and other substances.
- Human cells have been used to create innovative little devices called ‘organs-on-chips’. These can be used instead of animals to study biological and disease processes, as well as drug metabolism. Devices have already been produced that accurately mimic the lung, heart, kidney and gut. The ultimate goal is to use these chips to create a whole ‘human-on-a-chip’.
- Once new alternatives have been developed, there are also massive bureaucratic hurdles to implementing and enforcing their use. One of the most important jobs the Cruelty Free International science team does is encourage regulators to accept and promote alternative methods to animal testing.
- Thankfully, the development of alternative methods is growing. Due to innovations in science, animal tests are being replaced in areas such as toxicity testing, neuroscience and drug development. But much more needs to be done.
Alternatives to animal tests are often cheaper, quicker and more effective
“Cosmetics are by and large not a medical product saving lives,” Anthony James, the head of the Laboratory Animal Services Centre at the Chinese University of Hong Kong has argued. “It’s not a need, it’s a want. There has to be a higher bar set for animal testing for cosmetics, and it shouldn’t be permissible at all where there are alternatives.”
- Daily MakeOver said in 2012 that not all animal-free testing cosmetic companies are completely true to their word. Surprise! Surprise! When their products enter China, it’s anyone’s guess whether they are tested on little critters. So as an animal lover I am ecstatic to hear that China’s State Food and Drug Administration has proposed a draft for non-animal testing alternatives on their cosmetics.
- Physician’s Formula does not test on animals, and also claims a “mostly vegan” ingredients list for all of their products. The brand has long been a favorite of the sensitive-skinned—and now it can be a favorite of the beauty ethics-conscious, too.
- Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics– Every product from this alternative brand comes with the guarantee of being 100% vegan and cruelty-free, so you can go ahead and breathe a sigh of relief while clutching your precious Lip Tars. It’s recommend you give their other offerings a try, too: Their Cosmetic Colour Pencils are amazing for both eye and lip purposes.
- Hourglass and their extensive (and well-designed) collection of killer beauty products, especially considering they’re entirely cruelty-free and listed on PETA’s preferred brands list. It’s just yet another reason to be impressed by the high-quality, slightly under-the-radar brand.
- Tarte is another high-quality favorite to add to the list: Not only does Tarte not test on animals, but they have a wide selection of vegan makeup, too, which means even the most diehard can get in on their beloved makeup and skin offerings. We’re especially fond of their mascaras, so look no further for full, feathery lashes that benefit you and our animal friends.
- Too Faced – Many people wore Too Faced makeup for years without ever suspecting that they might actually be cruelty-free. Forgive us for saying, but the brand just seemed too good, each product packed with pigment and a real pleasure to use. Lo, each product is completely cruelty-free, with even their brushes made from soft synthetic “teddy bear” hair.
With that said, the definition of “cruelty-free” is controversial: Some brands don’t personally test on animals, but may be owned by parent companies that do, or use third parties to test on animals on their behalf. Another big no-no is selling products in China, where animal testing is mandatory. Let that one sink in.
Alternatives are better
- Crude skin allergy tests in guinea pigs only predict human reactions 72% of the time. But a combination of chemistry and cell-based alternative methods has been shown to accurately predict human reactions90% of the time.
- The notorious Draize skin irritation test in rabbits can only predict human skin reactions 60% of the time. But using reconstituted human skin is up to 86% accurate.
- The standard test on pregnant rats to find out if chemicals or drugs may harm the developing baby can only detect 60% of dangerous substances. But a cell-based alternative (EST) has 100% accuracy at detecting very toxic chemicals.
- The cruel and unreliable shellfish toxin testing on live mice has now been fully replaced with a far superior analytical chemistry method that is better at protecting humans.