Although unnecessary, many brands still test their products on innocent animals
Saman Dara, Contributor // Illustration by Alex Maertz
If you’ve convinced yourself that animal-tested products are safer, okay to purchase once in a while or “not that bad,” this is an invitation to ponder the impact of your choices. Test your compassion towards another living thing and in accordance, adopt cruelty-free products. Cruelty-free shopping is a rewarding and guilt-free experience – just look for a bunny leaping or pink floppy ears on your products!
Animal testing is still rampant within the biomedical, commercial and healthcare industries. In the US and Canada alone, over 104 million animals – including mice, rats, frogs, dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, monkeys, fish and birds suffer in labs each year. Globally, animals are subject to burns, shocks, poison, starvation, addiction and brain damage. These animals are then destined to be killed by asphyxiation, neck-breaking or decapitation. The practice is immoral and unnecessary.
Yes, you read that right, unnecessary! There have been scientific breakthroughs which avoid animal testing, such as using donated human skin to create realistic models for dermatological and toxicity testing. This innovative product testing would be applicable for human use because, surprise surprise, humans are nothing like loveable, helpless rodents. Additionally, non-animal testing is far more efficient and cost effective. These progressive experiments can last from minutes to hours rather than the months required with traditional test species.
It’s 2018. We should have faith in new testing methods, and more importantly, we should know better! The best test species for humans is humans. Animal testing is irrelevant and inhumane.
Ethically, we need to abandon brands that conduct animal testing. These days this can be very, very difficult as brands are endlessly intertwined with one another. Supporting and purchasing animal-tested brands condones these actions and funds future practices. It can be difficult to truly monitor what your purchases are encouraging, especially with the deceptive labels we see today. It feels as though one can be misled by the label “cruelty-free.” Nonetheless, we should aim to endorse truly cruelty-free products.
From a global perspective, the dynamics of the cosmetics industry are complicated. China’s regulations require foreign brands to use animal testing. Many parent companies who are shelved in China receive criticism, and rightly so. This means that even if a brand is advertised to be cruelty free, their parent company may not be. Doing your research is essential to purchasing from ethical brands.
Ethical products are most accessible in North America since brands have diversified into cruelty-free culture. It can feel tempting to purchase products for an aesthetically pleasing design and/or use, without thinking about how the product got there. Yet, embracing cruelty-free products allows our voices to be heard, and companies will be forced to accommodate our values. In early November 2018, Michelle Thew, CEO of Cruelty Free International announced, “Covergirl marks a new milestone in this area as the largest makeup brand to be certified cruelty free after having met our rigorous criteria. It demonstrates how it’s possible to be an accessible and innovative brand without inflicting suffering on animals.” The mandate also means that Covergirl is no longer available in China. This development brings hope for cruelty-free communities around the world and increasing accessibility. Change starts with individuals, specifically consumers, to acknowledge cruelty free as the status quo. Begin by re-evaluating your own belongings and morning routine products and ask your friends to do the same.