Is there anyone who thinks testing beauty products on animals is a good idea? We bet a lot of people think it’s an archaic practice that’s not utilized much anymore. Wrong. An article in the New York Times presents just how common it still is. And to complicate the issue, labeling is not very regulated, so it’s difficult to tell which companies do and don’t test their products on animals.
Back in 2009, the European Union banned companies from animal testing for certain factors like skin irritancy, acute toxicity, and light sensitivity. EU countries can’t import products that have been animal tested for those criteria, either. But nothing like this exists in the US. The Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011, which contains some recommendations about animal testing, was introduced this summer but hasn’t been adopted yet.
To further confuse things, no one can agree on what “cruelty-free” means. The FDA officially has no stance on that term, so it can be used to mean whatever companies want it to mean. If a product claims “not tested on animals,” that could be referring only to the finished product, not the individual ingredients, which are often sourced elsewhere.
So do we still need to do animal testing? Scientists don’t agree. Frankie Trull, president of the Foundation for Biomedical Research, told the NYT, “Most ingredients in cosmetic products were tested long ago, so very little testing is done nowadays. [But] in some cases, animal models are still a necessary part of ensuring ingredients will not cause harm to people.” However, Dr. Nancy Beck, who was a policy adviser for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, said, “Science has evolved, and we have the technology now that maybe we didn’t have 30 or 40 years ago to do safety assessments without using animals.” So companies have to choose whether or not they’ll still use animals for testing.
And a lot have stopped, but you may be surprised to learn about the ones who still test on animals. You can check out a full list at PETA’s website but here are just a few of the brands that still use animal testing: Aveeno, Chapstick, Clearasil, Shiseido, Vidal Sassoon, ROC, Neutrogena…the list goes on.
So do you care about this issue?