It is time to overcome the cruel and inhuman practice of testing cosmetics on animals · A human world

By Kitty Block and Sara Amundson

Today’s non-animal testing methods aren’t just human, but they give more reliable and faster results and are cheaper over time. imagenavi /

In the 1940s, when government scientists were asked to check the safety of cosmetics, they turned to rabbits. Dr. JH Draize and colleagues from the Food and Drug Administration dropped chemicals into the animals’ eyes and applied them to their skin, then scored the redness, swelling, ulcers, discharge, and bleeding they observed. . For decades, these methods have continued to be used on rabbits. When the animal advocates asked for the tests to be stopped, they were told they were needed.

Many things have changed since the 1940s. By 1980, when we and other groups were pushing to end Draize tests that blinded rabbits, researchers were already starting to develop alternatives, using tissue cultures rather than animals to measure the irritation caused by different shampoos. Since 2000, with our support, researchers have developed more than 50 new non-animal methods to test the safety of ingredients in cosmetics such as mascara, lotions and aftershaves. Instead, these new methods use sophisticated computers, 3D printers, and laboratory-grown human tissue.

Today’s non-animal alternatives are not only human, but give more reliable and faster results and are often cheaper over time. They are the reason why companies in the United States and the European Union, such as L’Oreal, Procter & Gamble and Unilever, no longer want to test new ingredients or products on animals and are the reason why governments around the world are they feel secure in banning the production and sale of cosmetics tested on animals.

You may have seen images of rabbits held with their heads sticking out of boxes so chemicals that could burn or even blind can be dropped into their eyes. You may have seen our stop-motion animated film Save Ralph, which depicts a rabbit resigned to its fate enduring these painful procedures. Today, such tests are really useless; Researchers can use corneal cells grown in their labs and 3D printers to create replicas of the outermost layer of the human eye. The chemicals are then tested on these 3D printed corneas to find out exactly what would happen if they entered a human eye, without the animals suffering.

You may also have seen pictures of rabbits shaved to expose their skin so that chemicals that could cause redness or ulcers could be applied to their bodies. Today, researchers can use epidermal and dermal cells grown in their labs to 3D print replicas of the two outermost layers of human skin for chemical testing. Just like with the new vision tests, these new skin tests get more accurate results and cause no pain.

A rabbit in a French animal testing laboratory. A voice

In addition to rabbits, countless numbers of rats and mice also continue to suffer in cosmetic safety tests for toxicity. The chemicals are pushed into their bodies through feeding tubes, then the animals are euthanized and dissected for their organs to be examined. Today, researchers can instead test chemicals on three-dimensional human tissue cultures that are small enough to fit silicon chips. These “organs on a chip” accurately simulate human livers, lungs and brains.

Guinea pigs and hamsters are still used for skin sensitization or allergy testing for cosmetics. But these animals are increasingly being replaced by computer simulations of “biological pathways” that can show the chain of key biological events that occur in the human body when an allergen is applied to the skin.

By the end of last year, 41 countries had ended or restricted cosmetic animal testing and eight states had banned the sale of animal-tested cosmetics: California, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, and Virginia. The Humane Cosmetics Act, introduced in Congress last year, would ban the manufacture and sale of animal-tested cosmetics nationwide. It has the support of both Democrats and Republicans and the Personal Care Products Council, which represents 90% of the US cosmetics industry. We worked hard to get the board involved because we understood the immense value of industry support for a successful transition. And that’s why we were thrilled when Whole Foods Market recently signed on to support HCA – as the world’s leading natural and organic food retailer and manufacturer of its own personal care brand, Whole Foods Market. is setting a strong example for other retailers and manufacturers to follow.

It’s time to do safety tests that can truly protect people by accurately predicting whether cosmetics are safe for humans to use, rather than continuing old-fashioned, useless, and cruel animal testing. We are past the 1940s. In a call to end animal testing we published in 1980, we quoted a physiologist named Dr. DH Smyth, longtime president of the Research Defense Society: “Some knowledge can be obtained for too high a price.” We now have the means to get all the knowledge we need about the safety of cosmetics without animals having to bear the costs.

Sara Amundson is president of the Human Society Legislative Fund.


Animal research and experimentation, public order (legal / legislative)

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