Animal research is big business. Today it is a multi-billion dollar industry encompassing pharmaceutical, medical, cosmetic, agricultural, chemical industries and university and government bodies.
Over 115.3 million animals are used in experiments annually. This EXCLUDES rats, mice, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and agricultural animals used in agricultural experiments. This number also fails to take into account the majority of countries who do not record or publish their animal testing figures.
While there is much debate on the usefulness of animal testing for scientific purposes, it has become increasingly evident that testing for cosmetic purposes is an outdated, unnecessary and cruel method to ensure safety and efficacy of beauty products.
“If you want to test cosmetics, why do it on some poor animal who hasn’t done anything? They should use prisoners who have been convicted of murder or rape instead. So, rather than seeing if perfume irritates a bunny rabbit’s eyes, they should throw it in Charles Manson’s eyes and ask him if it hurts.”- Ellen Degeneres
In 2012, PETA discovered that companies such as Avon, Mary Kay and Estée Lauder had been marketing their products as cruelty-free, but were quietly paying for tests on animals in China.
In cosmetic testing, dogs, cats, rats, mice, guinea pigs, rabbits and other animals are forced to swallow or inhale massive quantities of test substances or endure the pain of having caustic chemicals applied to their sensitive eyes and skin.
In cosmetic product research, tests are carried out for skin or eye irritation, skin sensitisation (allergy), toxicity (poisoning), mutagenicity (genetic damage), teratogencity (birth defects), carcinogenicity (causing cancer), embryonic or fetal genetic damage and toxicokinetics (to study the absorption, metabolism, distribution and excretion of the substance).
“Isn’t man an amazing animal? He kills wildlife – birds, kangaroos, deer, all kinds of cats, coyotes, beavers, groundhog, mice and fox by the million – in order to protect his domestic animals and their feed. Then he kills domestic animals by the billion and eats them. This in turn kills man by the million, because eating all those animals leads to degenerative and fatal health conditions like heart disease, kidney disease and cancer. So then man tortures and kills millions more animals to look for cures for these diseases. Elsewhere, millions of other human beings are being killed by hunger and malnutrition because food they could eat is being used to fatten domestic animals. Meanwhile, some people are dying of sad laughter at the absurdity of man, who kills so easily and so violently, and once a year sends out cards praying for Peace on Earth”.- David Coates.
- Over 100 million animals are burned, crippled, poisoned, and abused in US labs every year.
- 92% of experimental drugs that are safe and effective in animals fail in human clinical trials because they are too dangerous or don’t work.
- Labs that use mice, rats, birds, reptiles and amphibians are exempted from the minimal protections under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA).
- It’s mandatory for all products to be tested on animals in China. Meanwhile, the European Union issued a ban on the sale of new cosmetics that are tested on animals.
- Less than 2% of human illnesses (1.16%) are ever seen in animals. Over 98% never affect animals.
- According to the former scientific executive of Huntingdon Life Sciences, animal tests and human results agree“5%-25% of the time.”
- Sex differences among lab animals can cause contradictory results. This does not correspond with humans.
What you can do
As a consumer: Avoid cosmetics and toiletries that have been tested on animals, or have animal-based ingredients is easy — see a list of products that are cruelty free, here
Click here to call on Procter & Gamble, Unilever and Colgate/Palmolive to stop testing on animals.
As a donor: if you wish to donate to a charity, ensure does not support the use of animals in research.
As a student: advise your teacher and/or your school/institution that you will not take part in the use of animals in classes, and encourage them to adopt non-animal alternatives in their teaching.
Countries that have banned animal testing:
- European Union
Watch this touching video of chimps being released from a testing lab after 30 years in cruel confinement:
Published studies, reviews and reports on animal experimentation compiled by Australian veterinarian Dr Andrew Knight
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
InterNICHE is the International Network for Humane Education.
For the alternatives to animals in teaching, and a good place for conscientious objectors to seek assistance, visit Learning Without Killing.
For details of which products are not tested on animals visit Choose Cruelty Free.
By Natalie Kyriacou, Director