The Ugly Side of Beauty

Despite our best attempts, animal testing for the cosmetics industry is still common practice. No accurate statistics are available for the US, as rats, mice and birds are exempt from the provisions of the Animal Welfare Act of 1966 (signed into law by Lyndon B. Johnson), however, they make up the largest proportion of the animals used. Conservative estimates for the number of animals consumed annually start at 20 million. Under certain conditions, an Animal Efficacy Rule is sufficient in the United States for the approval of a new drug.

An Animal Efficacy Rule is used to approve certain types of medication, it was established by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2002. These medicines must protect or at least alleviate serious or life-threatening diseases, with clinical studies to verify human efficacy from ethical or practical reasons are not feasible. In these cases, proof of efficacy in model organisms in animal experiments is sufficient.

But what about the beauty industry?

Millions of animals continue to suffer and die in agony every year in the laboratories of the beauty industry, when, for example, fixed rabbits have corrosive administered into their eyes, and then the damage is observed: Depending on the type and dosage of the Substance occurs in painful inflammation and severe burns of the eye.

90 percent of all chemical raw materials used in cosmetics are also used in other areas, such as industrial spray paint or as a glue in a packaging. As a result, the ban on animal testing has been undermined, as all these substances must continue to be tested in animal experiments. Even if active ingredients are used in medicine in some form, they may still be tested on living animals.

Manufacturers use this loophole in legislation. Every single production unit (batch) must be tested for its toxicity. The test substance is injected into the abdominal cavity. The death struggle with convulsions, paralysis, breathlessness often lasts three to four days.

The animals eventually suffocate in full consciousness.

The development of new experimental methods that do without animals is expensive and whose results are not recognized worldwide. Another reason to continue to stick to animal testing for many manufacturers is the fact that animal testing remains mandatory in China and many other markets. If you want to distribute sunscreen or another care product worldwide, you will test it on the designated animal beforehand. The experiments have now been moved to countries willing to turn a blind eye to animal welfare.

Only a handful of companies, such as the major cosmetics giants, Procter & Gamble, Unilever or LÓreal, admit animal testing is being carried out. Most cosmetic manufacturers use skillful formulations or give no information at all to avoid damaging their image.

It can be assumed that, with a few exceptions, a large proportion of the care products in the supermarket or drugstore still have painful and excruciating procedures carried out on animals, although the consumer believes that these have long become a thing of the past.

So anyone who wants to ban animal cruelty from the bathroom should still be careful to use only products from companies that do not carry out any animal testing and also ensure that their suppliers do not test live animals.

Meanwhile, the full range of beauty – and care products are also available without animal distress, from your local drugstore to the high-tech anti-aging care products you buy at your local boutique.

The most common cruelty-free drugstore makeup brands are Covergirl, Wet’n’Wild, Physicians Formula, Milani, Hard Candy, Jordana, and Sonia Kashuk; the complete list can be found in the table below.

If you want to check whether your product is free of animal suffering, you will find a positive list of all manufacturers on PETA's website.

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