What if your makeup had unknown and unlabeled side effects? What if what you’re putting on your face caused extreme pain and torture to thousands of dogs? What if I told you the above scenarios are 100% a reality? Dog lovers listen up, your makeup may just be involved in more animal abuse than you will ever know.
Animal testing is a very common way that many cosmetic companies test the safety of their products. The animals they test on are not just your average mouse or rat, they also consist of guinea pigs, rabbits, and yes, even cats and dogs. Beagles are the most common breed used for animal testing, because of their passive nature. It is crucial to keep in mind that these tests are not just applying blush onto a rabbit, or putting lipstick on a mouse. These tests are forced and extremely painful injections, often times forcing these animals to ingest toxic materials until it kills them in order to research the amount of dosage that is lethal.
What goes on behind the closed doors of cosmetic companies is animal cruelty disguised in the name of science.
Nail polish is tested on the eyeballs of bunnies and dogs skin is burnt and shred from acid. Lethal dosage testing is performed on dogs and rats, forcing them to ingest a toxic amount of chemicals until it kills them, and are force fed products to see the negative effects for months on end. The ones that don’t die from the painful testing are killed when the test is over by breaking their neck, decapitation, or strangling.
Beagles that are tested on never see the sunlight and will never feel grass beneath their paws. They will never go for a walk or know what it's like to feel loved. They'll never play with other dogs and have never sleep without fear. They are kept in small dark cages and chained up while experimented on.
In every single scenario, the animals are provided no form of pain relief and are not even protected by the Animal Welfare Act.
Before you click off and turn a blind eye, ask yourself this: would you willingly donate money to someone so they could go beat up a dog or pour acid on a cat? Why is animal abuse somehow suddenly justified because it provides you with a product? Why is it that people fume when a video of someone throwing puppies off a bridge goes viral, but buy products from companies who force feed poisonous chemicals to dogs and break their necks?
The truth is a hard pill to swallow, but it is easy to change your actions and live guilt free knowing your money is going to companies who care about their customers and the animals.
Busting the Myth
Let's get a common question out of the way first...
Q: Isn’t animal testing required to ensure the safety of the product?
A: No. The U.S. does not require animal testing in any ways for cosmetics. If a company performs animal testing, it is because the company has chosen to do so.
Q: So, If animal testing isn't done, how will we know if the product is safe?
A: Simply put, there are many non-animal testing methods that have proved to be much more effective and safer than traditional animal based models. These include cell culture analysis, in vitro, and many other complicated words you probably don't care to read. I could write a book on all the alternatives, but that's not what this article's about.
Animal testing is dangerous for people, too.
For one, mice, rats, and dogs are much different than humans. Often times the reaction a mouse may have to one chemical will be completely different than what a human's reaction will be. This is extremely dangerous when it comes to drug testing, as 92 percent of drugs end up being dangerous to humans, despite having no ill effects on the animals tested (Archibald and Coleman 32.) Because of this, many scientists do not rely on animal testing for their data, but perform it simply because they were instructed to and it has been a part of the system for so many years. The British Medical Journal points out that "Most [scientists] felt that the value of the animal data they collected was limited. Three said they did these studies solely because they had to- the data themselves were of no practical use" (Watts 182.) Not to mention, state and federal tax dollars are what pays for the funding of these useless tests, when they could be put into funding education and other important programs.
Heard enough? Now for the easy part.
How can you go cruelty-free?
- I encourage you to look through your makeup bag and hair products and research the companies the make them. Determining what products are cruelty-free takes no time at all. Look on back of the packaging for a small bunny symbol. If you don’t see one, ARME has a great app called "Cruelty-Cutter" which allows you to scan an item and immediately find out if the product was tested on animals. It's available on the App Store and Google Play, or you can go here to learn more.
- Don’t throw out your products that test on animals. It’s a waste of money and products. Instead, once you finish using the product, replace it with one that doesn’t test on animals. You will be surprised how many wonderful cruelty free options there are.
- Take the pledge to go cruelty-free
There are many organizations working on changing the animal testing system. ARME's Beagle Freedom Project and Beagle Rescue League, Inc are some of the many amazing groups that rescue the beagles that are being tortured and tested on. You can even adopt their rescue beagles and give them a loving home. Donating to these rescues and getting involved puts more beagles in homes and less in labs.