Cruelty-free products are products which are not tested on animals. All over the world hundreds of thousands of animals - usually rabbits, guinea pigs, rats and mice - are made to undergo painful experiments to test cosmetics, toiletries, household products and their ingredients.
Why should I be aware of this?
Ethical shopping decisions are now easier than ever and go a long way to making a brighter future for laboratory animals. We can help save the lives of animals by supporting cruelty-free companies and products. By reading the labels which say ”Not tested on animals” and purchasing goods in a more discerning manner, we go the extra mile for animal rights.
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Hundreds of thousands of these animals are poisoned, blinded, and killed every year in tests for shampoos, household cleaners, cosmetics, hairspray, and other personal care and household items. The law does not require these tests as they often give misleading results. Proponents of animal testing believe that these experiments offer the best way to prove that new products won't poison humans or cause dangerous irritation to our skin and eyes.
Products which are not tested on animals usually mention this fact on the back or the bottom of the label. Some companies test ingredients on animals and not the finished product. Other companies are entirely cruelty-free, meaning that the do not test their products or the ingredients to those products on animals. There are also vegan companies, which do not test on animals or use animal by-products such as milk, honey and beeswax.
In response to public pressure, many large consumer products companies have abandoned animal testing; Avon, Revlon and Esteé Lauder are among them. And the European Union recently voted to phase out all product testing on animals. The more consumers who refuse to buy products that were tested on animals, the sooner animal testing of consumer products will become a thing of the past worldwide.
What can I do?
- Read labels carefully before making your purchases. "Cruelty-free" products should not include animal ingredients, nor should the product or its ingredients be tested on animals.
- Look out for the leaping bunny logo which appears on the packaging of many cosmetics and household products whose manufacturers are approved under the Humane Cosmetics Standard or the Humane Household Products Standard. This is your guarantee that a product — and its ingredients — have not been tested on animals.
However several sophisticated non-animal product tests now in use today that are faster, cheaper, and far more accurate at predicting human reactions to a product than old blinding and poisoning animal tests. These tests include human cell cultures and tissue studies (in vitro tests) and artificial human skin and eyes. These tests mimic the body’s natural properties, and a number of computer virtual organs serve as accurate models of human body parts.
Instead of carrying out the tests on a rabbit’s eye by burning it with chemicals, manufactures today carry out tests on donated human corneas. Human skin cultures could be grown and ordered for irritancy testing.
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