Some of you may have read the title here and thought it’s a bit obvious but bare with me on this. I am aware of animal testing and have read up on it and just how horrific it is. This means to me it goes without saying I would never, ever even consider buying something tested on animals. I get upset when other people seem to not really care all that much. But recently I became aware that some people don’t actually realise what animal testing really is. They are not uncaring they just do not really have the facts.
When Facebook friends were getting up in arms about Tesco dropping Unilever brands my husband commented to one saying “its a great time to start buying products not tested on animals”. Her reply was a joking one saying something along the lines of “my rabbit would not mind having make up tested on her” with a picture of a cute animal wearing mascara. Whilst this was meant in jest, it highlighted there are a group of people out there who actually believe that they just apply a bit of mascara to a rabbit or put some new shampoo on a beagle. They are unaware of what animal testing actually is. Or burying their head in the sand, as they say ignorance is bliss!
With this in mind I decided to write this post to give a bit more information on what animal testing actually is. I have not posted photos or gone into it too much detail, but hopefully it will give you a good insight.
What is animal testing
For a start animals involved in animal testing are kept in terrible conditions. They are normally in a cage alone for their entire lives with absolutely nothing to stimulate them. Animals can go crazy just from the loneliness and boredom alone. The cages themselves are barren and have no comfort for the animals. On top of this they are tested on which means they spend their lives in these barren cages absolutely terrified of what will be coming next or in constant pain from what has previously been done to them. It is bleak and heart breaking to see pictures of this online. They are lost, disturbed and utterly broken.
Next comes the actual testing. Animals are cut open, fed poisons, have painful toxins rubbed into their shaved or raw skin or dropped into their eyes to name just a few options. I think the worst I read was rabbits having the skin shaved off their backs, being pinned down to a board and a lamp shining UV on the red raw area of exposed flesh. This obviously causes immense pain for the animal and they are given no pain killers. The only pain relief they get is when they are eventually killed, which most are.
Which animals are tested on
No animals escape testing, they will use any. Often what the test is for will determine which animals will be used. Some of the most commonly used are rabbits, rats, mice, monkeys and beagles. Often picked as they are intelligent, good natured or trusting animals who will not fight back. To me that just makes it all the more heart breaking.
Effectiveness of animal testing
Many people believe animal testing is a necessary evil. However, there is a growing call that using animals is not reliable at all for showing how things will affect the human body. Reactions can be under or over-estimated. The fact that it cannot show what will happen to a human makes it utterly unnecessary. This applies to both cosmetic and medical testing. These experiments were first used back in the 1930’s when we didn’t understand the world or biology the same way we do now. You would have hoped by now we could have conceded to this and all started investing in alternative testing methods!
The law and testing on animals
While many countries have banned animal testing in cosmetics, including the EU, it is still allowed in others, such as America. That being said, the place where most companies fall down is on animal testing in China. In order to sell to mainland China (excluding Hong Kong) companies have to agree to their products being tested on animals. They still put a nice bunny logo on their website saying “not tested on animals” as technically they don’t test on animals, they allow others to do it for them. It is important to be sure the bunny on the packaging is a real cruelty free logo and not just one they put on there, my blog post here goes into this a bit further.
China is a hot topic. Real cruelty free companies, like the ones listed on my cruelty free list, made a decision to loose profit and simply not sell in China. Others, like Avon, L’Oreal and Mac have chosen to allow testing on their products to make more money. As with everything it ultimately comes down to profit! Some claim they sell there to try to change the law from within but I call bullshit on this. I think China would be more inclined to change policies if the brands Chinese people want won’t sell there. On top of this, Chinese people may start questioning why they can’t get all these products and start to put pressure on the Government to change it’s laws too.
However, the law in China is relaxing on animal testing for cosmetics made within the country itself so hopefully it will change for imports too in time. This does give me some hope there is light at the end of the tunnel!
So sorry for the long post, but hopefully having read this you will feel a bit more informed. And hopefully it has convinced some people to start to change the products they buy to cruelty free alternatives. It is not hard, I promise! Have a look at resources both on this blog and in other places online to make the change easier too!