When it comes to cosmetics, cruelty-free means the product was manufactured or developed in a way that did not involve experimentation on animals. Many cosmetic companies have pulled away (or never participated in) animal testing, but there are still several companies that continue to test their products on animals before bringing them to the market. Read on to learn why animal testing is unnecessary.
Animal Testing Is Painful
If a cosmetic company chooses to use animal testing for its cosmetics, they will likely test rabbits, mice, guinea pigs, or rats. There are a few common tests done on these animals (No pain medication is given):
- The Ocular Irritation Test: To determine if the product causes eye irritation, a small amount of the product will be placed into the eye of the restrained animal. The animal is then monitored over time to see if any redness, swelling, or other irritation develops.
- The Skin Test: The product will be placed on a shaved area of the animal and monitored for any signs of irritation.
- Force-Feeding Studies: The animal is force-fed amounts of the product over time to determine if birth defects or cancers develop.
It Produces Inaccurate Results
Not only are the above tests painful, but they don’t produce accurate results. In the first place, animal skin is different than human skin, which means that the results found from a rabbit won’t necessarily translate to equal results on a human being. Similarly, different animal species react differently to different chemicals, which means the results from one animal can’t translate to another — or to a human. The interpretation can potentially under- or overestimate real-world dangers to people.
In addition, these tests don’t reflect the way people actually use the products. It’s difficult to interpret the animal results for a human user. Consumer safety isn’t a given after animal testing.
It’s Not Required by Law
Some companies pass around the myth that animal testing is required by law, but while companies are free to use animal testing, it’s actually not law in America.
China, however, continues to require animal testing for products manufactured and/or sold in the country. Officials will go so far as to test items pulled from store shelves, meaning that if a company sells their product in China, they likely can’t be considered cruelty free.
Encouragingly, however, the European Union recently banned the sale of products that have been tested on animals. If a company wishes to sell their product to European Union countries, they must be cruelty free.
There Are Plenty of Alternative Testing Methods
With more than 50 non-animal tests in use (and more being developed), companies have many ways to test the safety of their products.
Sophisticated computer models exist that can produce human-relevant results in a short amount of time.
In the Human Repeat Insult Patch Test, human volunteers willingly allow testers to place the product on a small area of skin. The skin is then monitored for signs of irritation, and the process is repeated several more times.
In addition, thousands of ingredients have already been proven safe. If a company wishes to create a safe product, they can begin with those tested ingredients.
The sad truth is that animals that undergo cosmetic product testing die. And many of them die after being subjected to high levels of pain. Unfortunately, their death often comes about through asphyxiation, neck breaking, or decapitation.
Choose Cruelty Free
The simple way to help is to choose cruelty-free products. Choose Deter Outdoor’s line of safe and effective sunscreens, insect repellents, and more that are all cruelty-free and made with natural ingredients.