Mini guide: what you need to know about cosmetics without cruelty
Testing of cosmetic products on animals is a very sensitive and controversial, and at the same time insufficiently aware topic among cosmetics consumers. Proponents of the idea of abandoning in vivo testing suggest a radical departure from the still current practice of using animals, especially smaller rodents, in order to check the toxicity and irritability of certain ingredients or finished cosmetic products.
Laboratory animals are most often forced to consume and inhale potentially dangerous chemicals, or topically apply or inject the same raw materials and finished products. In many cases, these animals are specifically bred for testing which is why they never actually experience life outside the laboratory cage, and as a rule are always killed after testing.
From all the above, it is clear that this is an unsustainable and ethically unacceptable practice, and given that alternative methods of product testing (such as in vitro testing) are known and very available today, the absurdity is thus greater. An additional argument for cessation of testing is the realization that the results of in vivo tests (for example, in terms of sensitization) are not always completely exact and applicable to human individuals. The European Union, recognizing the shortcomings of this practice, began to work actively to end in vivo testing, and finally in March 2013, a legal ban was issued on the distribution of tested products in the Union.
However, in order for a company to truly pursue a cruelty-free policy, it is necessary to meet several criteria, so a fully ethical company must not sell its products in China (with the exception of Hong Kong) because it legally obliges manufacturers to test their products before entering the Chinese market in accordance with Chinese regulations. Furthermore, neither finished products nor raw materials used for its production (and supplied by a third party) may be tested on animals. This, unfortunately, in reality means that many companies in the EU are still not completely ethical and free of "live" testing. Many brands that do not generally test (i.e., do not perform stand-alone in vivo tests on finished products) are not cruelty-free, although the manufacturer will ambiguously indicate on the back of the product that “this product has not been tested on animals”. Unfortunately, this is just about the semantics and satisfying the apparent bioethics of the company with a mostly unaware and uneducated customer.
Thus, a cosmetic product that has not been tested on an animal in any production process is a cruelty-free product. We emphasize that none of the ingredients that make up the product should be tested on animals. The animals are subjected to torture, physical and mental pain during testing, have no freedom, have no control over their lives, live in cages, and are ultimately killed.
Cosmetic tests and more about them
Hundreds of thousands of animals are poisoned, blinded and killed every year to test on shampoos, cleaners, cosmetics, hair sprays and other personal hygiene products and those used in households. These tests are not required by law and often give inaccurate results that lead to erroneous conclusions - even if the product has blinded the animal, you may be offered to buy it. Although more than 500 companies have banned animal testing, some of the corporations continue to forcibly inject substances into the animals ’stomachs and drip chemicals into rabbit eyes.
There is a whole range of different experiments. So called The Draize Eye Test - used to study eye irritation. The chemicals drip into the rabbit’s eyes. The rabbit has a much weaker tear system than humans and therefore does not 'pay' when enduring pain, which is why scientists consider them ideal for such tests. Rabbits also do not blink which facilitates the liquefaction of the chemical. During testing, changes in the eye are monitored for a long time. No painkillers are given to the animals.
So called the LD50 is a toxicity test, the most notorious of all tests (recently banned in Sweden, and in Britain back in 1996 thanks to the BUAV op. p.), Animal mortality is about 50 percent. The test begins by poisoning a number of animals. The dose of the poison is gradually increased until 50 percent of the animals die (to establish a lethal dose). The poison is given by force-feeding, injection or inhalation, and no painkillers are given to the animals. This test has long been sharply criticized and called unscientific by scientists themselves (!) and it is also extremely painful.
Skin Irritancy Test - as its name suggests, it tests skin irritation, involves applying the ingredient to shaved parts of the body to a specific group of animals, most often guinea pigs or rabbits. For one or two weeks, changes in the skin are observed - redness, infection, swelling, inflammation. The wounds are horrible and no painkillers are given to the animals.
The most significant contribution of cosmetics manufacturers would certainly be the production of already known ingredients. But as it is known, as long as there are those for whom profit is more important than someone else's suffering, it will be difficult to solve this problem, and the beauty industry has the ugliest possible side...
How do vegan cosmetics differ from ethical and organic ones?
Don’t confuse organic, ethical and vegan cosmetics as organic products are also tested on animals.
Vegan cosmetics imply that the products are not only not tested on animals but also do not contain components of animal origin. If you do not use any products of animal origin in your diet, such cosmetic products are ideal for you. There are certified vegan brands that package their products in recycled packaging, which is more environmentally friendly. And yes, the cosmetics of these brands do not contain components of animal origin, and also do not harm the environment, so this is another nice bonus for the "greens".
At the same time, ethical cosmetics are also marked without cruelty, i.e. not tested on animals, but may contain ingredients of animal origin, such as snails mucin, lanolin, retinol, royal jelly, chitin, silk or silk proteins, snake venom, keratin and other components that are collected without harming the animals. Relatively speaking, the ingredients of animal origin that you can find in cosmetics labeled without cruelty are products from the fauna.
Alternative methods of cosmetic testing
There are several ways to test products without the use of animals. These methods may be indicated on the product packaging or in a note on the brand website for each specific product.
The in vitro indicator means that the cosmetics have been tested, roughly speaking, in vitro on artificially grown cells.
Testing on artificially grown skin. To conduct such an alternative test, the laboratory shall take a skin puncture from a healthy person who has signed this agreement. The epithelial cells of the tissue to which the product is applied are then grown. This test allows you to check the reaction of all skin types to any product.
In vivo tests on volunteers are considered a humane method because they will test the reaction of living people to the finished products. Volunteers sign a contract to participate in the experiment. It is important to note that such test is carried out mainly before the product is placed on the market because clinical indicators can only be checked with the finished product for use.
As you can see, there are different ways to test cosmetics, in which it is not necessary to use animals. A complete list of companies and brands that do not test their products on animals can be found on the PETA website.
Country of origin and animal cosmetics testing policy
Many states have long signed a ban on the use of animals for testing cosmetics and perfumes. However, there are countries where they sell their products where the brand is required to test the funds specifically on animals. So here are the countries that support cosmetics policy without cruelty:
European Union countries: Since 2013, a law has been in force banning the testing of cosmetics and perfumes on animals, as well as the import of such products into the EU. Packages of cosmetic products manufactured or sold in the European Union must bear the Cruelty Free International symbol. However, there are brands that sell cosmetics that have not been tested on animals in the EU, while those tested on animals are produced and exported to other parts of the world.
USA: The sale and production of cosmetics and perfumes that have been tested on animals is prohibited in the United States. In some countries this is more strictly regulated, while in others disrespect occurs. In such cases, the company is fined. In Los Angeles this year, the sale and production of products tested by inhuman methods is completely banned.
Israel; Indonesia; New Zealand;
South Korea: The five-year action plan, signed in 2015, aims to completely switch companies to alternative methods of testing cosmetics. Thus, brands are prohibited from testing products on animals in the country, as well as selling products that have been tested on animals.
Customs Union countries that have joined the agreement since 2012: Only at the end of 2011 were they allowed to test cosmetics in an alternative way on the territory of the Customs Union.
In China, there is a law according to which testing of cosmetic and pharmaceutical products on animals is mandatory. However, in Hong Kong and Taiwan, at the request of the manufacturer, you can resort to alternative methods of testing cosmetic products, so always pay attention not only to the country, but also to the area of production. For example, in mainland China, it is possible, again, at the request of manufacturers to produce cosmetics without animal testing, but the sale of these cosmetics in China is strictly prohibited. However, this law does not apply to online stores and global online markets where they are free to sell vegan cosmetics. Not every vegan company can enter the Chinese market if its products shipped to the country have not passed an animal test. Authorities may withdraw funds and carry out additional checks on animals at any time. That is why PETA, which is very sensitive to such issues, has blacklisted those ethical companies sold in the Chinese beauty market.
You can enter the name of any brand in the PETA database to find out if a vegan brand without cruelty can still be found in the Chinese market. If he can, he is automatically blacklisted.
BE A CONSCIOUS CONSUMER!
There is a long way to go for those who want to contribute to a society in which suffering will be reduced to a minimum. But the change in consumer sentiment over the past twenty years has shown two things - people wake up and begin to decide for themselves what to buy, without falling for advertisements so easily.
Second, consumer influence may be the only truly successful way to achieve change. By putting pressure on manufacturers, by boycotting undesirable products, we are actually provoking the emergence of a new way of producing cosmetics, the kind we want ourselves - which does not cause suffering. If we ask for it, we will get it. When animal-tested products start to stand on store shelves for months, companies will reorient their business. Because, let’s not forget, they’re only here for the money. And the money comes from us!
La PIEL is by no means for animal testing. We do not conduct animal testing and do not pay others to do so. Neither in Croatia nor anywhere else in the world. We never have and we never will. Contracts with our customers state that they must manufacture products in accordance with European Union laws that strictly prohibit animal testing. For us, of course, this issue is on a voluntary basis, and it has always been so. Because we know we can produce good and safe products without torturing animals. In the cosmetics industry, alternative tests have been used for years instead of animal testing.