When a close friend of mine starting advocating to end animal testing on cosmetics, I started to think more about animal testing in general. I decided that I also wanted to start using cruelty-free cosmetics, and I knew it would be challenging, but I had no idea how many daily products I use are currently being tested on animals. Almost every drugstore cosmetic product I used, all of my hair products, most of my daily vanities like deodorant, toothpaste, soap, etc., even things like the laundry detergent my family uses are being tested on animals. I can absolutely understand animal testing for science and medical purposes, but testing make-up products on rabbit and beagles seems absolutely pointless to me at this time.
According to Wikipedia, "cruelty-free is a label for products or activities that do not harm or kill animals." Cosmetic products are tested on beagles, rabbits, rats, and other rodents to test for allergic reactions, damage to the internal organs, and for cancer over time. The animal test subjects are most likely killed after being experimented on. The animals either eat or inhale the cosmetics in order to do the tests to the organs, or shaved to have the cosmetics rubbed on their eyes, skin, and/or ears. In my opinion, it is not humane to test cosmetics on animals like this because it is cruel. No living creature wants to live in a tiny cage, being forced to eat and inhale various cosmetic products, for something as trivial as anti-aging foundation.
Currently, the European Union, Israel, India, and very recently, China, do not allow animal testing for cosmetic products. In the United States however, animal testing is currently legal (care2). Hopefully, this will soon change. According to care2, lawmakers are currently working on a new law to band animal testing in the US; "The Humane Cosmetics Act (H.R. 4148), which was introduced by Rep. Jim Moran, will make it illegal to conduct or commission animal testing for cosmetics after a one year phase in, which will be followed by a ban on the interstate sale of products and ingredients that were made using animal testing after three years." With over 20,000 safe products according to the EU, manufacturers should easily be able to create new and safe products that do not require animal testing if this act is passed.
What can you as an individual do to support the end of animal testing on cosmetics? Well for one, you can urge local, statewide, and national lawmakers to pass laws banning animal testing on cosmetic products. You can sign petitions with PETA, the ASPCA, Leaping Bunny, etc. to show your support. You can urge stores and companies to start becoming cruelty-free. Recently, Birchbox released a statement on their website that said they soon will be offering cruelty-free products, due to an overwhelming large request from customers. Companies will change if enough customers make a stand. We all just need to push them a little.
On a smaller scale, you can start shopping cruelty-free. At first, I had a pretty difficult time finding products that I could use, but the "Cruelty-Cutter" app for my iPhone was a lifesaver for me. It has a very large directory to look up products and manufacturers that are cruelty-free. and a barcode scanner to check individual products. For me personally, this app was the easiest cruelty-free app to use, and I have had great success with it so far. Another easy way to tell if a product is cruelty-free is to look for a little bunny on the back of the product, like the one I posted with this article. Companies have to pay the 'Leaping Bunny" company for the right to have the bunny appear on their products, and it is a way to let consumers know that they are absolutely cruelty-free. Vegan prroducts and products with a "cruelty-free" label are usually safe, but "this product is not tested on animals" may not be. In some countries, cosmetic products must be tested on animals if they are to be sold in said country, so while the product may not test on animals in our country, they could be testing overseas. CoverGirl had that problem a few years ago, but now that China has made animal testing illegal, hopefully they will become cruelty free. Some drugstore brands that I like that are cruelty-free are elf and Wet N Wild, and some more expensive products include Urban Decay and the Ulta home brand. One myth about shopping cruelty-free is that it is all extremely expensive, but it dos not have to be. For a complete list of cruelty-free products, check out leapingbunny.org.
Going cruelty-free is a challenge, but it is well worth it in my opinion. I have owned multiple dogs, guinea pigs, and a rabbit, all animals that are test subjects, and I cannot imagine testing cosmetic products on them. Back when make-up was first being invented, yes I think it should have been tested on animals first. But today, we have been using make up long enough to work out the serious kinks in new products. With so many safe ingredients, and more accurate ways to test products that would not harm any living being, I think that this testing is now causing more harm than good. Today, scientists can use donated human skin from cosmetic surgeries and "test-tube skin" to test cosmetics on, and obviously because it is human, it works a lot better than any products tested on animals. It's faster, more effective, and cheaper, so why not ban animal testing and do this? Animal testing for cosmetics was needed in the past, but we have evolved as humans, so our cosmetics need to evolve to, and we should leave animal testing in the past where it belongs. So for your New Year's resolution this year, why not pledge to become cruelty-free? I know I am, and I am proud of it.