PLEASE BE WARNED THAT THIS FEATURE CONTAINS GRAPHIC CONTENT.
Every year, over 100 million animals are killed from animal testing (including cosmetic, neurological, medical and other forms of testing such as for AIDs, Toxicology and Hepatitis).
This statistic is bone-chilling. Nobody wants to read that. Nobody wants to accept that. There is no justification for the practice of animal testing. You are very welcome to this feature, where I will be telling you everything you need to know about the horrors of animal testing. Please be warned that this post is not for the faint-hearted, contains graphic descriptions and reveals the unpleasant truth behind our cosmetics.
What animals are tested on?
When we think of animal testing, it is easy to assume that the usual culprits are smaller animals like rats, hamsters and rabbits. While this is heartbreaking enough, I think many people are more affected when they become aware that every year nearly 70,000 dogs die from animal testing and nearly 30,000 cats die from animal testing in the USA alone.
The Beagle breed of dog is the most tested on due to its gentle nature. Beagles show the most distress and pain out of all dogs. They are involved in cruel experiments for cigarettes, hairsprays, bleach, oven cleaner and many more products; the beagles are forced to inhale toxic substances through a piped mask, and the test is only complete once 50% of the animals have been killed.
Any animals that do survive testing are killed.
Other animals who are tested on are ferrets, monkeys, baboons and gerbils. Many baby animals are tested on as well, and sometimes even witness their mothers dying from the tests, leaving them in a vulnerable and terrified state.
These animals are handled in the most inhumane manner; they are dragged around, pulled by the ears, shoved into cramped cages (even with injuries from tests). They are not cared for whatsoever in these laboratories. Many of these animals are bred in these hostile environments too, which apparently gives them ‘no rights’.
But with the evolution of science, why is animal testing for cosmetics still mandatory?
Well, it’s not. There are many brands out there who create their products from the already approved 7,000 ingredients and from natural sources. There are also alternative methods of testing new ingredients such as in-vitro testing and computer testing- hell, we’re even able to replicate human organs at this point!
It has been proven time and time again that animal testing is NOT RELIABLE. Animal tests provide accuracy results of 40%-60%, whereas non-animal testing methods provide accuracy results of 80%.
So, why do brands choose to test on animals?
To put it bluntly: these f**ktards are more hungry for money than creating ethically-produced products.
If a brand decides to sell in China, they are then required by law to have their cosmetics tested on animals. This is because the Chinese authorities require all foreign cosmetics to be tested on animals, which is contributed partially by the fact that China does not have any legal animal welfare laws.
Have any cruelty-free brands had their cruelty-free status revoked?
There have been several cases where a cruelty-free brand has had its cruelty-free status revoked upon deciding to move into the Chinese market. More recently, these brands include the likes of Burt’s Bees, NARS, Nudestix, Eve Lom, Foreo and By Terry. In some cases, the brand is owned by a parent company that tests on animals. Burt’s Bees, for instance, got bought over by Clorox, who encouraged Burt’s Bees to start selling in China. Because of this, Burt’s Bees has had its Leaping Bunny certification revoked, and is no longer considered a cruelty-free brand.
Is there any hope that the Chinese authorities will change its regulations?
Oh my god, YES! There is always hope! This brings me to the European ban of animal testing and marketing.
Cruelty Free International, the coordinators of the Leaping Bunny Program, have been the main organisation behind the European ban of animal testing and marketing. After campaigning against animal testing for twenty years, the European parliament agreed that animal testing and marketing is completely unnecessary, and hence Europe took the landmark movement to ban the horrible practice in March 2013.
Five years on, and other countries have followed in Europe’s footsteps, including Israel, India and Norway. China makes up 20% of the world’s population, but Europe makes up 15% – if Europe can ban animal testing, we can push an extra 5% to encourage China to do the same!
My favourite brand says they’re cruelty-free on their website. Why does Flawless and Pawless say they’re not?
This is a topic for an entire feature on its own, but I will touch on it in this one all the same. Many brands claim they are cruelty-free through using various loopholes that can completely mislead a consumer. L’Oreal, MAC and L’Occitane are culprits for this. Some loopholes to look out for and what they mean are:
- “We don’t own any animal testing facilities!” – which really means “we allow third parties to test on animals on our behalf!”
- “Our finished products aren’t tested on animals!” – which really means “Our ingredients were all tested on animals!”
- “We don’t believe in animal testing!” – which really means “We don’t believe in it, but we do it any way so we can make more money!”
- “We love animals, and never test on them!” – which really means “We love animals, but we let other test on them for us!”
- “We love our fans and don’t want to exclude them anywhere!” – which really means “We sell in China, where it’s required by law to test on animals!”
- “We are in partnership with *names some association that finds alternative methods to animal testing*” – which really means “We test on animals, but let’s show our customers that we have some form of ethics”
- “We never ever test on animals, except when required by law!” – which really means “We never ever test on animals, but we sell in countries that require by law to test our products on animals!”
How does Flawless and Pawless know a brand is definitely cruelty-free?
A cruelty-free brand is only added to the Flawless and Pawless list if the following points are confirmed:
- The brand does not test on animals
- The brand does not allow its suppliers to test on animals
- The brand does not allow third parties to test on animals on their behalf
- The brand does not sell in China
A simple statement on a brand’s website that simply says “We are against animal testing” or “We never test on animals” is not enough for Flawless and Pawless to be 100% sure the brand is cruelty-free, particularly if they do not have a cruelty-free certification.
Another point I would like to make is that an organic certification is NOT the same as a cruelty-free or vegan certification. Certain brands state they are cruelty-free or vegan because they are certified organic- this is an entirely different thing.
The only official cruelty-free certifications are by The Leaping Bunny, PETA and Choose Cruelty Free. Official vegan certifications are provided by The Vegan Society and Vegan.org.
So, how can I stop animal testing?
I am so pleased to tell you that there are many ways that you can become cruelty-free TODAY. The more people who become cruelty-free, the more likely it is that non-cruelty-free brands are to remove themselves from the Chinese market. The consumer market speaks loudly in business, and by choosing cruelty-free products, you are telling non-cruelty-free brands that you want ethically-produced products.
- Stop buying non-cruelty free products
- Follow Flawless and Pawless to keep up to date with shopping guides and lists of cruelty-free brands available in Ireland. Share the site and social media platforms with your friends and family to encourage them to become cruelty-free.
- Sign the petition by Cruelty Free International and The Body Shop to help end animal testing worldwide here.
- If you are working with an uncertified cruelty-free brand, please encourage them to become Leaping Bunny certified. This is the world’s only internationally recognised certification program, and your customers will love you for it!
- Donate to and fundraise for Cruelty Free International. Donations go towards the organisation being able to lobby with governments to introduce non-animal testing methods, send undercover investigators into laboratories worldwide to expose the truth, run global campaigns and fund research into alternative testing methods.
I wish you the best of luck on your cruelty-free venture. Let’s make Ireland cruelty-free.