annonEvery year, millions of animals suffer and die in painful tests todetermine the safety ofcosmetics. Substances such as eye shadow and soap are tested onrabbits, rats, guineapigs, dogs, and other animals, despite the fact that the test resultsdon’t help prevent ortreat human illness or injury.Cosmetics are not required to be tested on animals and sincenon-animalalternatives exist, it’s hard to understand why some companies stillcontinue to conductthese tests.
Cosmetic companies kill millions of animals every year totry to make a profit.According to the companies that perform these tests, they are done toestablish the safetyof a product and the ingredients. However, the Food and DrugAdministration (FDA)which regulates cosmetic products, does not require animal testing.Some of the testsused on animals are eye irritancy tests, acute toxicity tests, and skinirritancy tests.In eye irritancy tests, a liquid, flake, granule, or powderedsubstance is droppedinto the eyes of a group of albino rabbits. The animals are oftenimmobilized in stocksfrom which only their heads protrude. They usually receive noanesthesia during the tests.After placing the substance into the rabbits eyes, lab techniciansrecord the damage to theeye tissue at specific intervals over an average period of 72 hours.
The tests sometimeslast seven to eighteen days. Reactions to the substances includeswollen eyelids,ulceration, bleeding, swollen irises massive deterioration, andblindness. During the tests,rabbits eyelids are usually held open with clips, because of this, manyanimals try to breaktheir necks as they try to escape.Acute toxicity tests, commonly called lethal dose or poisoningtests, determine theamount of a substance that will kill a percentage, even up toone-hundred percent, of agroup of test animals. In these tests, a substance is forced by tubeinto the animalsstomach or through holes cut in their throats. Experimenters observethe animalsreactions which can include convulsions, labored breathing,malnutrition, skin eruptions,and bleeding from the eyes, nose, or mouth.
The test was developed in1927 and thetesting continues until at least fifty percent of the animals die(usually takes 2-4 weeks).Like eye irritancy tests, lethal dose tests are unreliable and have toomany variables tohave a constant result.Skin irritancy tests are conducted on rabbits, guinea pigs andother animals. Theprocess involves placing chemicals on the animals raw, shaved skin andcovering the skinwith adhesive plaster. The animals are immobilized in restrainingdevices to prevent themfrom struggling. Meanwhile, laboratory workers apply the chemicalswhich burn into theanimals skin.
Alternatives to cosmetic testing are less expensive andgenerally more reliable toperform. Animals have different biological systems than humanstherefore the tests can’tbe as accurate as the current tests. Some alternatives include cellcultures, tissue cultures,corneas from eye banks, and sophisticated computer and mathematicalmodels.Companies can also devise a formula using ingredients already provensafe by the Foodand Drug Administration. Most cruelty-free companies use a combinationof methods toensure the safety of a product.Lobbying by animal welfare groups has resulted in federal,state, and locallegislation severely restricting animal experimentation. For example,under the U.S.
Animal welfare act, all animals used in biomedical research must bebought from vendorslicensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The USDA inspectslaboratories whereanimals are used and enforces federal laws regarding treatment and careof the animals.Biomedical scientists have also taken action to prevent the abuse of theanimals, mostlybecause abused animals may not provide reliable data. The AmericanPhysiologicalSociety, the National Institutes of Health, and many other scientificorganizations havejoined to lay down guidelines for the use and treatment of experimentalanimals.
Now,there are also many universities with animal welfare committees.In the United States survey by the American Medical Association,it was foundthat 75 percent of Americans are against using animals in cosmetictesting. Hundreds ofcompanies have responded by switching to animal-friendly test methods.To help put anend to animal testing, people can stop buying products that were testedon animals. Youcan also call and write to these companies, or write to yourcongressional representativeabout the alternatives that can be used.