This is part 1 of my Basic Beginner’s Guide To Cruelty-Free living. Here I’ve tried covering few basic questions, to help you get a better picture of the scenario. So, let’s dive right in!
What is animal testing?
Every year, millions of animals are used for and sometimes even killed in the name of “animal testing”. In the name of testing, toxic chemicals are injected into animals, they are doused with corrosive substances, even shaved and rubbed with irritants. Animal testing is indeed the ugly underbelly of cosmetic industry, worldwide.
The countries where animal testing is very common are: USA, Japan, China, Australia, France, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany and Brazil. Sadly, enough the past few years saw only an increase in the number of animals being subjected to animal testing therefore, many organizations, global societies and NGOs have come into play to protest against animal testing and to encourage consumers to use cruelty-free brands.
Why do companies test on animals?
Animal testing is carried out in order to determine about various aspects of cosmetics. The results influence, whether or not a particular product is suitable for use on humans and the choice of ingredients in formulating a product. The most commonly tested aspects are:
● Dermal penetration tests: These are carried out get a better understanding of absorption of a product/ ingredient through the skin. These tests also indicate the quantity of chemical reaching the bloodstream.
● Skin sensitization: To determine whether the ingredient being tested evokes an allergic reaction on the skin or not.
● Acute toxicity tests: These are done to determine the danger of exposure to a chemical through mouth, eyes or skin. To carry these tests out. Animals are exposed to lethal doses of chemicals through injections.
● Skin corrosivity tests: These tests are to confirm the level of irreversible damage caused onto skin by exposure to a certain chemical.
● Endocrine/hormonal disruption tests
Laws for animal testing
Each country varies in its laws for animal-testing. The general laws are aimed at reducing the number of animals used and to decrease the degree of pain inflicted upon the animals under experimentation.
Why is animal-testing mandatory in China?
China has a bad reputation of selling low-quality cosmetics and fakes. Therefore, to prove the safety of their products, they are involved in extensive animal testing. Right now, most of their labs are not fully equipped or trained to carry out alternative methods of testing.
Alternatives to animal testing
● Use of In Vitro screens
● Use of artificial skin
Why are companies going cruelty-free?
Because of the disturbing facts about testing on animals, cruelty free cosmetic and skincare brands help to pave the way to sustainable and ethical beauty practices. When a company labels itself as cruelty-free, it implies that they do not test their products on animals in any way.
It is not mandatory for companies to go cruelty-free in any part of the world but cosmetic and skin care companies are doing it to save the environment and our ecosystem.
To consider a company totally cruelty-free, the following requirements must be fulfilled –
(1) These companies or their parent companies do not test their cosmetics or ingredients used in making these cosmetics on animals.
(2) These brands must not hire third parties for testing or experimentation on animals.
(3) These must be certified by organizations like: Leaping Bunny, PETA etc.
On what basis do PETA and Leaping bunny certify companies as cruelty free?
PETA requires a company to submit a written pledge that they will not test on animals. While, getting certification from Leaping bunny requires a company to clear an on-site, audit / inspection to verify that the claims of the company are indeed true. Therefore, a leaping bunny certificate is more legit.
Why should you choose cruelty-free?
Cruelty free cosmetics and skincare products help you look and feel beautiful without carrying the guilt of using something that involves hurting an innocent creature. Most of cruelty free cosmetics are free of harsh chemicals and animal-ingredients, too. Though, this not mandatory.
Going cruelty-free is one of the many steps that an educated generation like ours must take to protect poor animals from being subjected to pain and injustice.
If you made it til here, you can also have a look at the Part 2 of the series: How To Go Cruelty Free?
Also, make sure to share the article to spread awareness.