Tuesday, July 2, 2013

My Views on Animal Testing

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Ruh roh Raggy! We're going to touch on a pretty polarizing topic today: Animal Testing. With the EU banning all cosmetics with animal-tested ingredients this year, and the recent news of the National Institutes of Health retiring most of the chimpanzees it uses in bio-medical research, it’s safe to say the time is soon coming where no cosmetics will be tested on animals.

That time is not, however, now.  There are still hundreds of makeup brands on the market that test their products on animals or use ingredients that are tested on animals.  I’m not saying my beliefs are the correct ones, but you do need to know where you draw your own personal line in the sand so you can literally put your money where your mouth is and buy your products accordingly.  You support companies by giving them your money- make sure the companies you give your money to actually have your support.  

So why is this such a big deal to me when I’m an open and proud omnivore?  I’ll try to break it down for you.

I strongly believe that humans are omnivores, just as rabbits are herbivores and lions are carnivores and vultures are scavengers.  I feel no guilt eating a chicken breast because I know the rest of the chicken was used in some way.  In the food industry nothing goes to waste because companies want to make as much profit as possible.  Blood, bone, fat, marrow, skin, fur, even manure all have their markets with plenty of eager customers.
   
The Beauty industry has no excuse to continue animal testing.  While I do not support all their beliefs, PETA does lead the pack in organizing and updating information about this topic for consumers to read and learn from.  They have compiled a list of Animal Ingredients commonly found in cosmetic products, but I think this guide by Ms. Stella Rose Saint Claire is more helpful in its explanations of what each ingredient is, what it does, and where it comes from.

Peta also has a list of companies (beauty and otherwise) that you can easily search by Cruelty Free (vegan), doesn't test on animals, working for regulatory change, and does test on animals. Unless the packaging says its cruelty free, assume it isn't. Don’t be fooled by the ‘this finished product not tested on animals’ bit; Just because the finished product isn't tested doesn't mean the ingredients weren't tested individually.

The Medical industry is in a different league. The California Bio-medical Research Association explains it well:

"Whenever possible, researchers do use non-animal models for research.  computer models, tissue and cell cultures, and a number of other non-animal related research methods are used today in biomedical research.  computer models are used to screen and determine the toxic level of a substance in the beginning of an experiment and tissue and cell cultures have become valuable additions to the array of research tools and techniques.  However, animal testing remains a necessity.  For example, blindness cannot be studied in bacteria and it is not possible to study the affects of high blood pressure in tissue cultures.

The living system is extremely complex. The nervous system, blood and brain chemistry, gland and organ secretions, and immunological responses are all interrelated, making it impossible to explore, explain, or predict the course of diseases or the effects of possible treatments without observing and testing the entire living system of an animal. In the meantime, scientists continue to look for ways to reduce the number of animals needed to obtain valid results, refine experimental techniques, and replace animals with other research methods whenever feasible.”

While it still isn't perfect (and there’s no way to make everyone happy), I’m very pleased with the progress these companies and the US as a whole have made on eliminating animal testing for good.

So where do you draw the line?  Do you care if your cosmetics are tested on animals or are you on the Cruelty Free/Vegan side of the issue?  Or are you somewhere in the middle like me?  Let me know where you stand and why in the comments below!


***UPDATE***

Some big bruhaha went down between PETA and Revlon at Revlon's Annual Shareholder meeting in early June.  Essentially it boils down to this: Revlon does not test its products on animals before selling them.  However, they do follow laws of the countries where they sell their products.

The USA (sadly) doesn't care about animal testing so products that are sold here aren't tested.  The EU has banned the sale of all cosmetics tested on animals so again products aren't tested.  China does require animal testing on cosmetics before they're sold, so Revlon's products are tested prior to going on the market there to keep in compliance with China's laws.

So who pays for the testing, Revlon or a distributor of Revlon?  Since the EU's ban applies to all new cosmetics and their ingredients sold in the EU, regardless of where in the world testing on animals was carried out, it must be a Chinese distributor who is paying for the animal testing before their products hit Chinese shelves.  Which means that Revlon isn't actually testing its products on animals.


I think Revlon is a great company and its unfortunate they are getting such a bad rap from PETA over this.  Revlon's done so much to improve breast cancer awareness and research, and they are very picky when it comes to where they get their ingredients from and who they contract with. Learn more here.This is a great example where thought and research must come into play when considering what products to purchase.  Bunny stickers certainly make it easier to shop, but their absence isn't a deal-breaker for me. 


Do you enjoy reading random posts like this? I have a whole category devoted to them called Stuff n' Things. Check out other Stuff n' Things posts here:
Sephora Grand Opening
The Disney Tag
Sigma Beauty Broadcast Event

Swamp Ass: Not So Fresh? You're Not Alone
Beauty Beginnings

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