Animal Product Testing And Ways To Become Cruelty-Free
Animal testing is currently legal in 80% of the world; nearly 300,000 animals are killed in China alone. Only 5 countries within our nation have banned the testing and importation of any cosmetics products tested on animals. The closest law the U.S requires is The Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011. This un-adopted law only encourages alternatives to product testing, but has yet to create major change. This essay will answer 3 main questions; what the testing consists of, which advancements and replacements in our world today, and how you can join the cruelty free team.
‘Animal product testing’ refers to the tests and procedures done on living animals for the purpose of finding the effectiveness-whether neutral or negative-of a product before sold to consumers. Cosmetics such as soap, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, perfume, nail polish, skin care, body care, and makeup products are used for testing. The most common animals used for testing within the U.S are as follows: fish, mice, rats, hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, birds, chimpanzees, and a range of farmed animals. The 4 main types of tests performed are Eye Irritation and Corrosion, Skin Sensitization, Carcinogenicity, and Reproductive and Development. Eye Irritation and Corrosion dates back to the 1940’s. A substance is dripped into the rabbits’ eyes, or smeared onto their shaved skin. The substance is then kept for a 2-week period. Laboratory technicians later return to check for inflamed skin, ulcers, bleeding, scabs, swollen eyelids, cloudy eyes, and blindness. Skin Sensitization dates back to the 1960’s. An adjuvant is injected into the previously tested animals, whom are most commonly guinea pigs and mice. An adjuvant is a substance which enhances the body’s immune response to an antigen. This means that whatever hurtful reaction the substance caused to the body, the adjuvant will activate the body’s immune system to fight back. The reason for this type of testing is to find soothing agents to add into products for sensitive human skin. Multitudes of these tests would backfire. The pain of the animal would immediately increase instead of decrease, and eventually kill them. Carcinogenicity dates back to the 2000’s. Substances are ingested or inhaled by force to rats or mice. This occurs over a 2-year period. The found ‘toxic’ substances of the inhaled or ingested, called carcinogens, are highly poisonous causing tumors or cancer. Tumors and cancer are caused by cells rapidly dividing, or DNA change within out body genome makeup. Reproductive and Developmental dates back to the 2000’s. Female rats and rabbits are administered a substance week prior to mating through gestation. Mating through gestation means conception during which the female egg has been fertilized by the male sperm, and a fetus is developing in the uterus. This test tracks the fertility, growth, survival, and development of the offspring. The pregnant animals are killed. The fetuses are examined through weight, sex, as well as external, visceral, and skeletal alterations.
Science has evolved. Methods of testing have been created that were not available 80 years ago. Animal testing is an outdated process that does not always provide the most reliable results. Scientific advancements have allowed many more alternative options or ‘replacement testing.’ The advancement tests created are as follows: Artificial Tissue, Vitro, Microfluidic Chip, Micro dosing, Imaging Studies, and Computer Models and Simulations. Tissue Testing is when artificial tissue is grown in laboratories. Excess human tissue from surgeries such as tummy tucks and circumcisions are donated. With the real tissue given, enzymes are added to allow the tissue to grow. The tissue is put into dime-sized plastic trays for testing. Vitro testing collects animal cells or tissue through cotton swaps. It is used to The sample is brought to lab technicians, and they test the cells and substance within a test tube. Microfluidic Chip Testing is when a chip contains tissue samples from different parts of the body, such as lip and eye. These parts are linked by microchannels. Microchannels supply a substitute blood type to imitate the process of blood flow within the body. Micro dosing gathers human volunteers. These volunteers substitute for animals in this type of test. The volunteers are given a dose of a drug that is high enough to cause effects on a cellular level, but nothing too high to cause the whole body to react. Imaging Studies allow us to see images within the human body. A wide range of imaging tools allow doctors to view nerves, tendons, muscles, organs, and bones. Examples of these tests are as follows: Radiograph (X-ray), Computed Tomography (CT), and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). Computer Models and Simulations replicate parts of the human body. Models of organs and metabolisms can study heart tests, crash studies, and effects of medicines. These medical advancements are proven to be faster, most cost-effective, and provide a higher accuracy rating.
Some companies remain hesitant to transfer over to a cruelty-free environment. There is an international ‘safe list’ of chemicals is present for companies to work off of. The chemicals on the list have been tested on animals in the past and are used in billions of products across the world. The marketing goal of companies is to come out with ‘new’ and ‘innovative’ products to grab consumers’ attention. Society jumps at the chance of trying to find the latest miracle product on the market, and something that will give them results that have never been reached before. An example of this would be the mindset of a person who struggles with acne. If this person hears of a product that uses a ‘new’ and ‘innovative’ mixture of ingredients that have just been found to cure breakouts, the acne prone person would be a lot more reluctant to purchase the ‘new’ product, than continue what they’re using, giving them sub-par results. Some people within the testing community believe that a ban on animal testing could create a stall, “If there was something innovative where the safety could not be completely verified by alternatives, then yes, an animal testing ban worldwide would prevent that innovation from being produced on the market”, (Lamoriello, 3). Although there have been many alternative tests created, there is 1 area of testing that isn’t fully created just yet. For example, no laboratories have a method of replacement for testing inhalation. Harvard is working hard on artificial lungs, and is planning to have it be completed soon. In fight back to the doubt of lab technicians, it only a matter of time before the ‘artificial lungs’ are created. One test should not stop us from furthering our ability to test and to find new substances to work with.
Companies try to trick consumers into thinking their products are cruelty-free when they are not. Some websites of products may state “we do not test on animals except when required by law”. “When required by law” means if a new product us put onto the market, the brand may comply to test their product on animals. Another way companies trick consumers are by putting the labels “all-natural”, “cruelty-free, and “not tested on animals” on their products’ packages. Many would immediately think these statements indicate a product completely free of animal testing. That is not the truth. Many brands use third-party testing. Third-party testing means that lab technicians will test the ingredients that makeup the product on animals, but not test the finished product itself . This makes it difficult for consumers who are aiming to join the cruelty-free team.
There are many steps one can take to become cruelty-free. You can begin your transition slowly and steady. You do not have to go through every product you own and throw out what is tested on animals. To make the transition easy, when you finish a product, simply throw it out and replace the next with a non-animal tested product. Websites such as Logical Harmony and Cruelty-Free International provide lists of 100% cruelty-free products, ‘do and don’t’ lists, pros and cons, names of people supporting ethical treatment of animals, and links to web sites for purchase. These websites provide global certification for providing accurate products of being completely free of animal testing. It is accessible to anyone and can be understood no matter the amount of knowledge on the topic of animal cruelty. The organization PETA makes things pretty easy as well. PETA stands for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. PETA is the largest animals rights organization in the world. PETA provides a black leaping bunny logo on products that are entirely cruelty-free. If you see a leaping bunny logo, you know that you are ‘good to go’ to purchase the product. For people who may be too lazy to research, one can sign up for Cruelty-Free Beauty Box Subscription Services. These subscription service send a box of products to your doorstep once a month. All products sent are 100% Vegan. Transitioning doesn’t have to be hard. Anyone can support animal rights.
If society comes together, a difference can be made by demanding animals no longer be tested on. People should support brands that have a strong stance against animal testing. Reach out to companies via email and letter. Tell them that you do not support their product and will no longer purchase it until it has become free of animal testing. Praise and bring attention to the products who are free of animal testing. Join city walks or strikes to spread awareness. Revealing truthful images of testing within the streets will catch the attention of civilians. Join the #BeCrueltyFree campaign by the Humane Society International. HIS not only spreads awareness in the U.S, but also addresses the issues of animal cruelty worldwide. #BeCrueltyFree is the largest campaign. Be encouraged to visit the Humane Society International website and sign their petition. The petition will be sent to the U.S government to show that the people of America want change.
Many organizations have made a huge difference from their support. Since 2001, PETA raised $4 million to non-animal research, development, and method validation, The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have helped donate $6 million, and The National Institute of Health (NIH) have tested more than 10,000 compounds in the ToxCast Program. The compounds mean that laboratories for the alternative testing equipment were created.
The strive for abolishment of animal testing is not just secluded to the United States. The strive is worldwide. Cosmetic testing and selling are completely banned in India, Norway, European Nation, and Israel , and most recently New Zealand . A poll was taken by The Humane Society International (HIS). The poll asked the public who would support a national cosmetic testing ban. The percentage of supporters were significantly high: Canada 81%, United states 73%, Brazil 66%, Japan 70%, Taiwan, 64%, and Australia 81%, South Korea 70%. Canada is currently working with the government to introduce the Cruelty Free Cosmetics act to ban cosmetics animal testing as well as the marketing of newly animal tested cosmetics. The United States is continuously supporting the Humane Cosmetics Act to phase out animal testing and prohibit the import of animal testing in cosmetics. Brazil created the São Paulo Ban which is their push for an increase of acceptance of non-animal testing methods. Japan got politicians, regularity, and stakeholders involved to help push for a national band. Australia has petitioned to introduce a ban on cosmetic animal testing. Taiwan created a cosmetic animal testing ban in October of 2016 and is supposed to become effective this year in 2019. South Korea created a $155 million government commitment for an operation to create alternative testing laboratories, as well as provide the alternative testing equipment. The world wants change.
Cosmetic testing has caused innocent creatures to go through the most tortuous pain, unrelieved until they die from the severe torment. The alternative tests have greater speed, accuracy, and are most cost effective. With the knowledge we have today, the world will only grow within its technology advancements. We are the power and we are the change. Join the team and #BeCrueltyFree.