Wendy Higgins: Animal testing is the beauty industry’s well-kept ugly secret

 

Share
Related Topics

Animal testing is the beauty industry’s well-kept ugly secret. Many consumers still shop under the assumption that cosmetics animal suffering is a thing of the past. The truth, however, is altogether harder to swallow - thousands of animals are still used to test cosmetic chemicals.

The campaign to end cosmetics cruelty has its roots in Britain, where public outrage at the suffering of animals for vanity products like lipstick and shampoo grew throughout the 1970s and 1980s, leading a newly-elected Labour government to end the practice in 1997. The 1990s also gave rise to a vibrant campaign to end cosmetics testing Europe-wide. Initially met with industry resistance, overwhelming public and political support eventually won out and Europe’s labs stopped cosmetics animal testing in 2009.

This was a milestone victory but by no means the end of the story. Many companies continue to test on animals in countries such as the United States, China and Brazil, either because the regulatory authorities require it, or because the companies still feel they need to do some testing. In these countries, there is limited public scrutiny and animals continue to have cosmetic chemicals forced down their throats, dripped into their eyes and applied to their shaved skin, sometimes in doses high enough to kill. China, as one of the few countries in the world to require such testing, bucks the global trend and provides another reason for companies not to kick the animal-testing habit.

Modern science, political will and consumer pressure hold the key to a cruelty-free future, and Humane Society International’s Be Cruelty-Free campaign is working globally to make that a reality. The pace of scientific advance over the past few years has been staggering, and more scientists are calling for non-animal methods that are faster, usually cheaper and almost always much more precise than last century’s animal testing. Three-dimensional, reconstituted human skin models better predict how chemicals behave on people than dosing rabbits, and animal-free toxicity assays produce results in a fraction of the time and cost of the average mouse test. While the rest of the world joins this technology race, China has not—yet.

Next year, Europe will introduce a ban on selling newly animal-tested cosmetics, for the first time ethically excluding products that don’t comply. For some beauty companies, commercial ambitions in Europe - the world’s largest cosmetics market – may be a compelling driver to revolutionise their approach. As 2013 approaches, Chinese regulators are also beginning to show interest in non-animal alternatives. If China embraces this opportunity to modernise its testing, it will switch from being an obstacle to ending animal testing to being a vital part of the solution. 

We invite beauty companies to join our campaign to help persuade China and regulators in other emerging economies (like Brazil, India and southern Africa) that the future will be based on non-animal testing approaches to guarantee consumer safety. The companies should comply with the forthcoming EU ban and use only ingredients that can be established safe without new animal testing and, increasingly, this will be no restriction whatsoever. If companies choose to be short-sighted on this issue, then consumers also have a choice to make about the products they buy.

Wendy Higgins is Communications Director at Humane Society International UK www.hsi.org/becrueltyfree

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Business Focused Business Analyst - Finance and Procurement System Implementation

£350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Reading are...

Head of Business Development and Analytics - TV

competitive benefits: Sauce Recruitment: Outstanding analytic expertise is req...

Commercial Property Solicitor - Bristol

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: A VERY HIGH QUALITY FIRM - A high q...

Head of ad sales international - Broadcast

competitive + bonus + benefits: Sauce Recruitment: Are you the king or Queen o...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Tory whips have warned the Prime Minister that he could face a Tory revolt over the European arrest warrant  

A bizarre front for the Tories’ campaign against Europe

Nigel Morris
 

Daily catch-up: EU news, and other reasons to be cheerful

John Rentoul
Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker