Thursday, May 10, 2012

Cosmetic testing on animals

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When most people go to the store to purchase cosmetics and household cleaners they usually don’t put too much thought into it. Most people do not realize that 14 million animals die and suffer each year for these products that are almost meaningless to humans. Cosmetic animal testing is a very big problem that gets greatly overlooked. It is a problem that has lasted for centuries.

According to the All for Animals Newsletter, animal testing on cosmetics goes way back to the seventeenth century when animals were believed to feel no pain. After it was proven that they could feel pain the testing stopped for a while. However, it began again in 1 when a woman died from mascara. After that incident the Food and Drug Administration passed an act for animal testing on cosmetics.(Issue 1) However, that act is no longer in effect, but companies continue to test on animals.

There are several different types of tests used on animals each day. The two most common ones are the Draize Test and the LD50. The Draize test is an eye test named after a man by the name of John Draize. This test involves dropping a substance into an animal’s eye and watching the results. (All for Animals Newsletter, Issue 1) This test is usually preformed on albino rabbits, and it is done by clipping their eyes back. The painful results of this test include swelling of the eyelids, inflammation of the iris, ulceration, bleeding, blindness, and death resulting from broken necks. (the animal breaks their neck in an attempt to get free). The LD50 or Lethal Dose 50 is preformed by force-feeding a substance to a group of animals until fifty percent of them dies. Substances may also be pumped into the animals stomach, injected under the skin, into a vein, or into the lining of the abdomen. This test, as well as the Draize test, is preformed without administering any kind of painkillers. Many health professionals agree that these tests are crude and imprecise. However, many scientist agree that these tests are vital in obtaining scientific test results that are reliable and accurate. No matter what any scientist says


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about cosmetic animal testing, there are reliable alternatives. As a matter of fact, some scientist have actually said that these alternatives are faster, cheaper, and provide better information.

So what are these alternatives? There are many of them. One very common one is the use of cell cultures, which is artificially grown cell cultures that come from the upper part of the skin and they react just like normal skin. According to Prof. Hans Junginger, this is the easiest way to test new ingredients as well as finished products. He also mentions that using these cultures will save money as well as lives of animals. Another popular alternative is the use of corneas from eye banks. This, of course, replaces the Draize test. The following are some more effective alternatives given in issue of the All for Animals Newsletter Eyetex A test-tube procedure that measures eye irritancy via a protein alteration system. This replaces the Draize test. Skintex A test-tube method to access skin irritancy that uses pumpkin rind to mimic the reaction of a foreign substance on human skin. Epi pack Uses cloned human tissue to test potentially harmful substances. Neutral Red Bioassey Cultured human cells that are used to compute the absorption of a water-soluble dye to measure relative toxicity. Testskin Human skin grown in plastic bags is used to test irritancy. Topkat computer software program that measures toxicity, mutagenicity, carcinogenicity, and teratonogenicity. So with all of these alternatives that are more cost effective, better predictors of human injury, provide quicker results, and don’t hurt animals Why don’t all companies use them? The answer is that they have a fear for human safety and they fear product liability suits.

There are no laws that say cosmetics have to be tested on animals nor is there one that says that they can’t be tested. However, there is a good side. There are laws to regulate testing. In Britain, these laws go way back to the 1876 Cruelty to Animals Act. This act set up a system of licensing and certification. This act was later replaced by the Animals Act of 186. In the United States, there is an Animal Welfare Act that started in 166 and has been amended five times. (the last being in 11) This act sets standards for transportation and husbandry of laboratory animals. Two other forms of protection for laboratory animals is the U.S. Public Health Service Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals and the Health Research Extension Act of

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185. Both of these regulate research funded by National Institutes of Health and require regular reports. They also require animal care and use committees.

Finally according to a chapter in Animals and Alternatives in Testing History, Science, and Ethics, written by J. Zurlo, D. Rudacille, and A.M. Rudacille, the best thing yet to protect laboratory animals is the establishment of Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (IACUC). These committees review all procedures and facilities that have to do with the testing of an animal, whether or not pain will occur. They must make sure that the number of animals being used is sufficient, and that the scientist are using the three R’s 1. Refinement . Reduction . Reduction. Besides these acts, many scientist have acknowledged the fact that they have a responsibility to these animals. They see that they need to respect the welfare of these animals by proper care, use, and an avoidance or minimization of distress, pain, and suffering. They also make sure that animals stay in good health because they know that animals in poor health could cause serious experimental error.

Even though these protection acts, and good scientist are out there it doesn’t make testing okay, just better. Testing still needs to be completely stopped. Some companies refuse to acknowledge the fact that testing needs to be abolished. These are companies that continue to torture and kill these poor helpless animals. According to an abstract called Animal Testing by the Cosmetic Industry these companies and examples of their products include Unilever Dove soap, Cutex, Wisk Laundry detergent, I Can’t Believe it’s not Butter, Echo, Crem Silk shampoo Proctor and Gamble Max Factor, Clarion, Cover Girl, Luvs, Pampers, Vidal Sassoon, Crest toothpaste, Tide laundry detergent, Head and Shoulders Colgate-Palmolive Palmolive shampoo, Colgate toothpaste These are just a few of the companies that are still testing the list goes on and on. However, there are over 500 companies that are “cruelty-free”. These companies include Avon and Revlon.

There is yet another side to this. There are many companies that claim to be “cruelty-free” but really aren’t. This may mean that the company itself hasn’t tested on animals, but the company where it got it’s ingredients from has. There is no government standards to define this

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term so according to an online brochure by the Health and Safety Alliance, “Not Tested on Animals “ can really mean The exact final product formula was not tested on animals, but single ingredients or ingredient combinations were. The manufacturer did not conduct animal testing, but the ingredient supplier did. What does the claim “Not Tested on Animals” or “Cruelty-Free” really mean? The manufacture did testing in another country. Ingredients or the finished product have not been tested within the past five years. In reality most ingredients have been tested on animals at some time or another. However, companies have no business misleading consumers. There are some honest companies that don’t make the claim “cruelty-free” simply because of one of the above reasons.

There is a question that remains on my mind How could a company morally hurt poor animals? Most people look at them at being nasty rats, but those nasty rats are warm blooded creatures that can feel pain, and besides 10-15 percent of these animals are dogs, cats, and monkeys. Now how could people promote hurting those household pets. Companies and supporters say that it is for our own well being. Well, I have shown a number of alternatives that equally, if not more, effective. Besides, what about the animals well being? Many people believe that they have nothing to do with what companies do. However, without consumers are what makes a company. So what can we do? Stop buying products that are tested on animals. This is simple enough. If a company loses a lot of consumers for this reason then they will be forced to stop testing, and I’m sure that any kind person can find it in their hearts to sacrifice a couple of their household products and personal items for the sake of these harmless creatures.

I don’t know if testing on animals will ever be stopped. There will probably always be those stubborn companies out there that just will not give in. However, we can try to abolish it. I have found out that in the last ten years animal research has dropped by 50 percent. If we can only keep this trend continuous then everything will be just fine. Scientist and activist want totally different things. I believe that with a little teamwork they can get on the same grounds. For now maybe we can get the scientist to really promote the three R’s. It’s not abolishment..but it’s a start.

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