How to combat animal testing

I’m against animal testing for cosmetics since as long as I realised it went on. I haven’t always been able to avoid products that did test, partly due to the lack of information I had on cosmetic brands. But since then, there has been much more media spotlight on the issue. The main question I ask people who are for animal testing for cosmetics is one of logic: why don’t the companies use ingredients that are known to have a long, safe history from use? I realise this can only go so far.

A face cream can’t claim to have a ‘patented, innovative ingredient’ if it is one that has already been used for years. However, it is a pretty good marker for the majority of cases. The irony of this is, of course, that these safe ingredients were likely to be tested many years ago on animals, but it could still stop further animals being hurt for the sake of a new Benefit mascara. The sad thing is, there are non-animal alternative ways of testing that are, possibly, more accurate. There are inventions such as EpiSkin™, EpiDerm™ and SkinEthic that are artificial sheets of skin that mimic reactions that real skin would feel from chemicals. There is also a Lymph Node skin allergy test that can reduce the use of guinea pigs and mice by up to 75 percent. These are just a small sample of the inventions that are available to companies wanting to test their cosmetics. With this in mind it does beg the question: why don’t more companies at least try them?

After the 2013 EU ruling, cosmetics were banned from being tested on animals by law. L’oreal are one brand that I was extremely happy with for leading the pack and saying NO to animal testing before this ruling; but then I delved deeper. Whilst it is true that L’oreal do not test on animals in Europe, they do test on animals in China. But it’s not that simple. Every cosmetics brand in China has to test on animals by law to distribute their products there. But for me, this makes L’oreal seem completely hypocritical. You can’t claim to be empathetic towards animals and then go back on your stance purely to expand and make more money. This isn’t me putting the blame solely on L’oreal, it is clearly an issue that stems from China’s cosmetics distribution laws as a whole. In fact, many cosmetic companies that claim to be cruelty-free test on animals if their cosmetics are distributed to certain countries. MAC, Max Factor, Bobbi Brown, Benefit, Maybelline, Revlon are just some companies that are known to test on animals for these reasons. Maybe I have convinced you, or maybe I’ve just confused you. But I hope this encourages you to do a bit more reading on the subject, as it’s much more complex than I can fit into 600 words.

My view is that it doesn’t hurt to look for cosmetics that are completely cruelty-free because it won’t change the quality or price of the product. crueltyfreekitty.com is an amazing site to use as a starting point as she has compiled lists of cosmetics, bath and body and skincare brands to help you easily find companies that don’t test. Lastly, don’t worry! You won’t be switching to a brand that is made and sold from anybody’s shed, many of the brands are well known . So don’t throw away your Urban Decay Naked palette out of protest just yet, you might be pleasantly surprised.

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