My Insight: Animal Testing for Cosmetics

Ok, so yes, this is yet another blog post reacting to the shockingly dramatic animal testing awareness window that Lush conducted this week, I don’t want to post photos of it, because to be frank, it’s pretty horrific. But if you would like to read more about the campaign that has triggered this post, there is a piece on The Daily Mail which covers the story.

First off, this got me very annoyed as I love Lush products, but absolutely hate how they have to make everything political, it’s alienates some customers and pressures others into agreeing with issues that most of the time the regular member of the public doesn’t know the full story on.

Anyway, enough about Lush, because this stunt has clearly done wonders for their brand in terms of coverage. What a great PR stunt right? You think they are just doing it to be nice, but really, it’s about the money at the end of the day, no matter what you might think.

Did you know that animal testing on finished cosmetics has been banned in the EU since 2004?

Did you know that animal testing for cosmetic ingredients has been banned in the EU since 2009?

Don’t believe me? You can read all of the papers on the EU legislation here.

I think this is a key point that a lot of people have either not been educated on or have chosen to ignore. There is so much intense campaign against animal testing, that I think lots of people just automatically agree with it, without any further education, because let’s face it, it is horrible and why would you think it was ok?

However, cosmetics made in countries outside of the EU have different rules, in China, legally all cosmetics must be tested on animals before going to market and to be fair, China has greater issues to deal with for the time being. Animal testing does take place in America, but it is regulated by the the Animal Welfare Act, which ensures that animal testing that does takes place is done so as humanely as possible and to strict regulations. You can read about American’s rules on Animal Testing on the FDA website.

What about pre-2008 products and ingredients?

Chances are that in most products there will be an ingredient or two that was originally tested on animals, take Glycerin for example, this is such an old ingredient and so widely used in all sorts of cosmetics. Even if a brand is cruelty free or made after the EU ban, chances are that at one time in that products past, something will have been tested on an animal. This realisation has made me a bit sceptical about the whole cruelty free cosmetics issue.

How to be a savvy, cruelty free shopper?

OK, so we all know about things like PETA and the BUAV leaping bunny sticker on products, however, if a product is made in the EU, it has to be cruelty free in theory, so you don’t need to be a slave to the labels.

Another point to consider is that if a product claims to be cruelty free without these certificates on the pack, it has to be true. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) would not permit any cosmetic product to make this claim if it wasn’t true. It’s the law!

Check the labels, if a product is made in the EU, you are safe to buy, it can’t legally be tested on animals. If it’s made in China, it will definitely be tested on animals. If it’s made in America, you can’t be sure, you best look into it, however, there is a big trend for cruelty free in America so it is likely to state if it is.

But what about animal testing for medicine? 

Surely if you are against animal testing on cosmetics, you shouldn’t want animal testing for medicine. Even if testing on animals results in a cure for a horrible illness?

If you are against animal testing for cosmetics, do you condone eating meat, wearing leather and farming animals for food? How do you classify which of these is ok and which is cruel and should be banned?

If no one ate pork, we wouldn’t have a need to farm pigs, would they become extinct?

Something to think about.

What do you think?

Comment below or tweet me @JayneJRead



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10 thoughts on “My Insight: Animal Testing for Cosmetics

  1. Great post Jayne – I too was very skeptical of this publicity stunt by Lush. I can’t believe it was just about ‘awareness raising’ – except of their own brand. I don’t believe this will have made many people at all change their pre-existing views on the subject of animal testing.

    Interesting to read about the legislation on the matter in different parts of the world – it’s all about being informed!

    1. I’ve encountered so many people who have a very narrow view of these sorts of issues but without knowing the full story, so I thought it was important to point people in the direction of some facts. If you search for animal cruelty issues online almost everything that comes us is from a extremist or campaigner point of view and strongly biased. It annoys me.

      Thanks for your comment, I’m pleased you like it.

  2. I can see that this is something you feel strongly about but I think you too should hear a few facts. Whilst animal testing within the EU is banned, the law has not actually been enforced yet as high powered individuals within the beauty industry keep appealing for the enforcement to be postponed. Products made within the EU are still therefore regularly tested on animals.
    Yes, I agree that Lush have brought about a lot of publicity for their own company but what they are campaigning for is an incredibly good cause. Do you honestly think that they wouldn’t do some background research before backing a campaign as strongly as they have done?
    And as for your remark ” You think they are just doing it to be nice, but really, it’s about the money at the end of the day, no matter what you might think.” who are you to tell me that what I think is wrong? I agree that their stunt may partly have been about driving sales but you aren’t able to state as fact that their only interest was profit.
    I appreciate your views on the matter but I do think that you should double check your facts before posting next time and try to avoid telling people what they should think.

    1. Hi Annie, thank you so much for your comment. I am in no means telling people what to think and I’m sorry that you think I am. Each to their own, I just wanted to let people know the other side of the story because I think it is so rarely communicated to the masses. I did do lots of research, I work in the beauty industry and have read all the papers on the subject, which state that in the EU, animal testing on end cosmetic products is completely banned and has been for sometime. Testing on individual ingredients is a foggy subject, when you consider some ingredients have been around for decades, they will of course have been tested on animals at some point.

      1. I know that it has been completely banned in theory but the the law hasn’t actually been enforced yet. The reason that the campaign against animal testing is being fought so strongly at the moment is because the law enforcement date is early 2013 but there has been another appeal raised to postpone this for a further ten years and that is currently being considered by the EU parliament.

        1. Hi Annie, thanks for coming back to me. Do you have have access to the papers on this? I would be interested to read more.

  3. Well done for pointing out that finished cosmetics can’t be tested on animals in the EU (and haven’t been in the UK for some time). I have something to raise on your point about medical testing.

    I don’t know if you’d dismiss us as a ‘campaigner point of view’ but FRAME supports research into alternatives to animals in medical and scientific procedures. One of the reasons it is taking so long to find cures for many illnesses is that animals and humans are very different at a cellular chemistry level. Around nine out of 10 drugs that seem promising in animal tests fail when they are put into clinical trials on humans.

    Alternative, human cell-based tests would probably be much more effective. UK law says that non-animal tests should be used where they are available, but there’s no imperative to look for those alternatives.

    FRAME is one of the few organisations that is actively looking for them. We have a laboratory at the University of Nottingham where scientists are looking for ways to identify diseases and potential treatments, without the need for animals.

    If any of your readers are interested in further information they can reach me on info at frame dot org dot uk

    1. Thanks for your comment, I appreciate your time to comment and will certainly look into your cause.

  4. The campaign was about REACH and how the animal testing alternative list hasn’t been updated. You talk about poor consumers who don’t know the full story or are one sided … looks like you are one of them.

    And pigs are a domesticated species which by definition means that without the care of man, they cannot survive … while this isn’t really true for pigs, if we didn’t keep them for meat they would still be kept as pets and not go extinct. Weak argument, not at all related to the cause and not really something to think about.

    Good job linking to the legislation though, a lot more people need to know about this matter. I just hope the common lay man can spot how easy it is to loophole around the American laws and end up doing animal testing.

  5. Hi Jayne being a huge animal lover this article caught my eye and worried me. I’ve been shopping with cruelty free companies like Lush for many years now. I’m confused though as I looked up the EU Legislation as you suggested and it only confirms that the complete ban was 13th March this year, after Lush and others were campaigning for this

    “The marketing ban applies since 11 March 2009 for all human health effects with the exception of repeated-dose toxicity, reproductive toxicity and toxicokinetics. For these specific health effects the marketing ban applies since 11 March 2013, irrespective of the availability of alternative non-animal tests.”

    I don’t understand the objection to a cosmetic company campaigning for this, all be it shocking, to raise awareness. If there was profit making to be made for this I think good on them, is that not what a business is about? I’d rather spend my money on a company who fight for this type of thing than some of the others who make misleading claims.

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