Does Your Makeup Routine Kill Animals? By Celina Koellhofer

Millions of animals die every year because of this inaccurate and unnecessary practice.

Many people are unaware that killing animals is apart of the development of their favorite cosmetics. Animal Testing is the process of testing chemicals on animals, to study how the ingredients react with different skin types. This practice is illegal in many countries such as Israel, India, and much of Europe. Large brands such as L'oreal, Mac, and Estee Lauder all test on animals. Testing on animals allows them to sell their products in China, where this procedure is not only legal but required. Millions of animals die every year because of this inaccurate and unnecessary practice. There are over twenty alternative tests that are not only more accurate, but cruelty-free. Animals react much differently to chemicals than humans, making animal testing highly inaccurate. Even though many brands still test on animals, there are hundreds of cruelty-free brands, such as Kat Von D, Bite Beauty, and Wet N Wild. However, it is the consumer’s decision whether they will buy from cruelty-free companies or not.

A rabbit's injuries and pain after being tested. Photo by Peta.org

Although testing cosmetics on animals first started in the 1930’s, animal experiments have been occurring since the seventeenth century. In the seventeenth century, William Harvey, an English physician, used animals to study how blood circulated throughout the body. It was not until the late 1800’s that animal testing became more popular among doctors and scientists. Doctors used animals to study how they would react to certain vaccines. In the 1930’s, when cosmetics started to become popular, a women had a bad reaction to a tube of mascara. This incident caused cosmetic brands start to test on animals, because they did not want other potential customers to have bad reactions to their products. The amount of animal testing increased significantly from the 1930’s, up until the 1990’s. In the 1990’s, regulations started to go into effect, to ensure the treatment of animals was not as severe. Since the mid 1990’s, countries have taken initiative to start banning the practice of animal testing. The European Union was the first group to ban the cosmetic testing of animals. Norway, Israel, India soon followed passing laws that banned animal testing. Although over thirty countries have banned animal testing, the United States is still not one of them. Even though cosmetic testing is not required in the United States, there are cosmetic companies that still participate in it. There have been efforts made to ban animal testing in America, such as the Humane Cosmetics Act. This law was introduced in June of 2015 by members of the House of Representatives. This law would have banned the testing of cosmetics on animals, but unfortunately, it was never passed. The country that is most well known for its animal testing is China, which unlike The United States, requires animal testing on all cosmetics.

The graph projects the number of animals used anually for research in the United States. Photo by newsimg.bbc.co.uk

At the end of all three of these procedures, animals are killed, either by decapitation, breaking their necks, or choking.

Many people do not know how gruesome animal testing is, and what is involved. The animals that normally undergo testing are rabbits, mice, rats, guinea pigs, cats, and sometimes monkeys. There are mainly three types of animals tests that exist, but the type that is performed depends on what cosmetic is being tested. The first procedure is when chemicals are rubbed onto the animal’s skin, or put into their eyes. Most of the time, the animal is restrained and has no pain relief in this situation. The second procedure is force feeding the animal over the period of weeks or months to see if it develops illnesses or birth defects. This is both slow and painful for the animal. The third and final procedure is forcing an animal to swallow a certain amount of chemicals all at once to determine the dose that causes death. At the end of all three of these procedures, animals are killed, either by decapitation, breaking their necks, or choking. Often, the results that are obtained from animal testing are inaccurate or inconclusive. This is because animals and humans are not the same, causing them to both react differently to substances. So the question is, why are innocent animals suffering and dying every year for test results that are not even useful? Over 100 million animals die every year from cosmetic testing, which is a number that can be reduced to zero if we stop testing on animals and use alternative methods.

Animals that are tested on normally spend their whole lives in cages. Photo by peta.org

With over twenty alternatives to animal testing, why are drug and cosmetic companies still using old methods that are not even accurate?

The alternatives to animal testing are not only more accurate, but also cheaper. One of the most popular alternatives is vitro testing, which uses models based on human cells to test different chemicals. Not only is this test 100% cruelty-free, but each test is also $20,000, which is $10,000 less than the normal animal test. Every year, the vitro testing industry is growing not only in popularity, but in billions of dollars per year. This year, the industry is projected to grow to 9.9 billion dollars. Another popular alternative to animal testing is microdosing, which involves giving human volunteers one low dose of a substance to see how the body is affected. Imaging techniques are used to monitor how the drug reacts with the body, and screen out what parts of the drug do not react well with the body. One other alternative to animal testing is computer modeling. Computer modeling was developed to show progression of diseases when a drug reacts with the body. These models are able to make very accurate estimates on what drugs will react negatively with the body. With over twenty alternatives to animal testing, why are drug and cosmetic companies still using old methods that are not even accurate?

This shows the process of Vitro testing. Photo by prlog.org

Even though large companies like Covergirl, Mary Kay, and Maybelline test on animals, there are still many brands that keep their practices cruelty-free. A few of the cruelty-free makeup brands at Sephora, a large cosmetic store, are Anastasia Beverly Hills, Beauty Blender, and Milk Makeup. Even though most drugstore brands test on animals, a few that do not are Hard Candy, Milani, and Elf. There are also many cruelty-free brands that sell online, some of the most popular being Colourpop Cosmetics, Lush, and Makeup Geek. The consumer can also tell if a makeup brand is cruelty-free by seeing if they are Leaping Bunny certified, or a PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) approved company. Being Leaping Bunny Certified or PETA approved means that a brand meets the international gold standard for non-animal tested products. Knowing about Leaping Bunny or PETA approved can make finding cruelty-free products much easier.

Lush Cosmetics has so many amazing cruelty-free products. Photo by cloudinary.com
The Leaping Bunny logo. Photo by crueltyfreeinternational.org

Since the 1930s, millions of innocent animals have died, and are currently dying every year because of animal testing. Animal testing is not only gruesome, but inaccurate most of the time. The possible alternative methods to animal testing that are not only more accurate, but more cost effective. Using animals for cosmetic and drug testing is outdated and should be changed. Why should millions of animals die for a blush?

A monkey spending their life in a cage. Photo by huffingtonpost.com

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