According to the Humane Society of the United States, or HSUS, approximately 500,000 animals suffer and die each year from cosmetic animal testing alone. Various tests, for the sole purpose of science studies, are run through mice, rabbits, rats, hamsters, guinea pigs and multitudes of other animals, the effects are nothing less than fatal or highly damaging. Shampoo, mascara, lipstick and other products that seem generally harmless, even helpful, to humans can be equivalent to poison to animals in labs.
Some chemicals used on animals are designed to cause cancer, blindness, swollen eyes or skin, internal and external bleeding, organ damage, birth defects or other harmful effects in order to cause a reaction for studies. As substances are forced down their throats, dripped into their eyes or smeared over raw skin, they have no choice but to suffer through the pain. The amount of suffering these innocent animals go through is simply unjust and cruel.
As for how long these tests may last, some can last weeks or even months to get results. That means animals are held against their will in captivity under deadly circumstances for elongated amounts of time, suffering each second of it.
After these ‘lab rats’ are poked and prodded, the Humane Society International, or HSI states that they are frequently killed, that is if the tests themselves did not already kill the animal. Asphyxiation, or the process of being deprived of oxygen, decapitation, and neck breaking are the most common ways of mass slaughtering animals after they have been used in testing.
Yes, animal testing is the conventional way of creating and testing new chemicals and products that may not be known to be safe for human use yet. This process may allow scientists to create new life saving solutions for humans. Though this may be true, there is an abundance of alternatives to animal testing that do no harm.
Some alternatives can even be MORE reliable than animal testing, such as cell and tissue testing. Companies such as EPISKIN and SkinEthic reconstruct human skin for the purpose of testing without all the violence.
If a company does not want to completely switch their way of testing, there are also bountiful amounts of pretested alternative ingredients that are safe to use in products. In the United States alone, over 230 companies have already made the switch to e cruelty free. Many of the biggest cosmetic brands have become Leaping Bunny certified as cruelty free by Leaping Bunny International such as Covergirl, Bare Mineral, NYX and BECCA. Not only has the US begun the race towards being cruelty free, but 38 other countries have restrictions or bans on animal testing.
Major brands may seem be to blame for this type of abuse of animals, but what can we as consumers do? Though we may not be in direct contact with brands who use animal testing for their products, we can still use more indirect ways of protesting cruelty free testing.
The Be Cruelty Free Pledge, as organized by the HSI, is a way for consumers to peacefully protest. This is a virtual petition people can sign their names to in order to bring attention to the ban of animal testing. Supporting companies that are cruelty free as well as contacting companies that are not, to urge them to step towards becoming cruelty free, are other ways to make change.
The process of animal testing for the purpose of cosmetic products, as well as many chemicals and products, is quite honestly merciless and inhumane. The fact that the majority of companies covering the globe still abuse, torture and kill animals for the sake of science, when there are so many less brutal options, that can even be more effective, is unacceptable. As consumers, we are faced with the challenge of deciding what to do. The challenge against this these conventional actions is not only critical, but necessary.