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Alternatives to Animal Testing

Updated on July 7, 2013

We learn from our children

I know animal testing by cosmetic companies is a hotly debated topic. Animal cruelty in any form seems so senseless. When our daughter, Lucy, told me she was going to be writing an argumentative essay for her philosophy class on alternatives to animal testing, my ears perked up! I knew I would learn something from her research.

I rarely wear make up because I work at home and do most of my businessmeetings via telephone and webinars. When I do wear make up, I use Bare Essentuals, a company I learned about from Lucy. As you will read in Lucy's essay, they do not do animal testing!

As I write this, I remember that I had a dream last week about a rabbit. It was scratching at my door, wanting to come in. And now I am becoming a bunny advocate! It is so interesting how dreams really do come true.

Is it Time to Re-evaluate Your Choices?

Lucy asked me to publish her essay in my blog. I do so with pride, and with the hope that you, the reader, will evaluate the choices you are making surrounding which companies you are supporting as you purchase their products. You can express your support of other testing methods by voting with your dollars.

Lucy Heckenlively
Lucy Heckenlively

Lucy's Essay

Animal Testing: Stop the Cruelty

If you knew that the products that you used every day had been tested on animals, had blinded them, or even killed them, would you continue to use these products? Each year, millions of helpless animals suffer and die in these painful tests administered by cosmetic companies. As humans, we have the ability, and the responsibility, to stand up against the inhumane treatment of animals that are being used to test our cosmetic products. The American public should discontinue the use of products by companies that support the inhumane testing and treatment of animals.

Animal testing kills innocent, defenseless animals that cannot fight for their own life. One day they are happy; innocently eating, drinking, and playing, and the next day they are defenseless; in the hands of a human monster. The life of laboratory animals consists of deprivation, isolation, and misery. According to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, known as PETA, animals are routinely cut open, poisoned and forced to live in steel cages for years. Rats and mice are denied a place to dig and hide; dogs and cats are deprived of exercise, and rabbits have no room to leap. Video footage from inside laboratories shows that animals cower in fear every time someone walks by their cages.

There are numerous cruel tests done on animals in cosmetic testing laboratories. Acute toxicity tests are used to show how toxic a certain product is, and the amount required to cause death. Animals are force fed high doses of products, such as toothpaste, or cologne, and are forced to inhale the product. The animals given the highest doses have convulsions, seizures, paralysis, and bleed through the nose and mouth, before they ultimately die. Draize eye-and-skin irritancy tests place rabbits in full body restraints while the product, such as mascara, or shaving cream is dripped or smeared into their eyes; their eyes are clipped open and they are not given any anesthesia. “After placing the substance in the rabbits' eyes, laboratory technicians record the damage to the eye tissue at specific intervals over an average period of 72 hours, with tests sometimes lasting 7 to 18 days. Reactions to the substances include swollen eyelids, inflamed irises, ulceration, bleeding, massive deterioration, and blindness” (People…2000). Animals may break their necks as they struggle to escape. These tests are often administered with the use of the LD50 test, which means the animals are given doses of the product until half of the test group dies. A report released by Animal Aid concluded that “toxicity testing on animals is exceedingly unreliable at predicting human toxicity, that it's an extreme form of deliberately inflicted animal suffering and that the adoption of advanced non-animal methodologies should be an absolute priority” (Cosmetics…34).

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not require animal testing for cosmetics, and alternative testing methods are widely available and lead to more reliable results. Companies such as ABBA, Almay, Avon, Bare Escentuals, The Body Shop, Bumble and Bumble, Burt’s Bees, Clinique, Crabtree and Evelyn, Kiss my Face, M.A.C, Nivea, Norelco, Revlon, and many others, “do not conduct or commission any animal tests on ingredients, formulations, or finished products and they pledge not to do so in the future.” (Companies…2006)

There are many different types of product testing methods that are inexpensive, accurate, and cruelty-free. The test method called “eyrtix” is done instead of the draize eye test; A vegetable protein from the jack bean mimics an eye’s reaction to a chemical- Avon uses this method. A method known as “Epipac” uses cloned human tissue to test potentially harmful products. A software program called “TOPKAT” measures factors such as toxicity, and is used by the U.S. Army, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Food and Drug Administration.

There are many actions that can be taken to get the message out there, to make a difference and save innocent furry critters. It’s fairly simple! The American public should stop buying products that test on animals. This is one of the most important steps that can be taken. There is a pamphlet from PETA that lists companies that do not animal test- it is a business card size pamphlet, which makes it easy to carry around and pull out when shopping. This will truly help support the cause, and every time you go to use shampoo, toothpaste, face wash, or any other cosmetic products, you will know that the products were never responsible for the death of hundreds of innocent animals.

Ghandi once said: “To my mind the life of the lamb is no less precious than that of a human being. I should be unwilling to take the life of the lamb for the sake of the human body. I hold that, the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man" (Stevens, 2006). Next time that you take a shower, and get ready in the morning, I hope that you will remember this information, and think about how that product got into your hands. And hopefully, after knowing all about animal testing, next time you go to the store, you will look at the label, and choose to buy products that proudly do not test on animals.

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    • thetoph profile image

      thetoph 

      4 years ago from Dalrymple, South Ayrshire, United Kingdom

      In the 21st century, there is absolutely no reason to test on animals. I watched a documentary about the chimpanzee that was brought up to use sign language and then when the experiment was over the poor thing was given over to LEMSIP (not the cold and flu remedy company!) for experimentation for new drugs and cosmetics. It broke my heart! Anyway, I use a company in Ayr called Ogg and Company who sell mainly natural products such as Burts Bees, Crabtree & Evelyn and Arran Aromatics, you can find them at http://www.oggandcompany.co.uk if you are looking to buy non animal tested products

    • profile image

      caitlyn 

      6 years ago

      Nice article. well written, good facts etc., however I must point out that Avon does not animl test it's products itself, but it DOES buy chemicals and materials from companies that DO test them on animals. This, I feel, is a form of animal testing and Avon is using the "anti-animal testing" tag to improve it's business, whilst knowingly using products tested on animals.

    • profile image

      swapna 

      6 years ago

      ur article touchd my heart ................n it was realy helpful.........

    • profile image

      Ghanshyam 

      7 years ago

      Scientists are working hard to reduce the use of animals in experimentation, but it is sure that there are no alternatives of animal testing on this earth.

    • profile image

      Nick 

      7 years ago

      Your daughter Lucy has such powerful words. It means so much to people who care 4 animals.

      -Nick

    • Jody Heckenlively profile imageAUTHOR

      Jody Heckenlively 

      8 years ago

      Thanks for your comments, Konrad! I bet you wrote a very persuasive article! I have passed along your thanks to my daughter!

    • profile image

      Konrad 

      8 years ago

      I'm in eigth grade and our teacher told us to write persuasive articles. The topic I chose was Animal Abuse. I myself have a cat and often when I whatch TV I see the commercials that show how animals are tortured and abandoned. These commercials gave me such a bad feeling in my stomach and I just couldn't stand it. Thanks to your daughtered I have some facts that will help me write my article.

      Thank you,

      Konrad

    • Jody Heckenlively profile imageAUTHOR

      Jody Heckenlively 

      9 years ago

      Thank you for your comments, nithin. I will pass your praise along to Lucy.

    • profile image

      nithin 

      9 years ago

      i hate animal testing and your daughters words were so powerfull

    • Jody Heckenlively profile imageAUTHOR

      Jody Heckenlively 

      9 years ago

      It's just not necessary, is it!?! Thanks for your comments, James.

    • James Oates III profile image

      James Oates III 

      9 years ago from Southern California

      I feel similarly...I do not support species abuse...

      Warmly,

      Jim

      www.JamesOatesIII.com

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