Non-human animals have had chemicals and drugs tested on them for centuries. It is said that both Aristotle and Erasistratus started using animals for experimentation as early as 300 B.C.E (Hajar, 2011). Fast forward to more current times, in 1938, the US Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act was signed, and started requiring some cosmetic products to be tested on non-human animals. In 1944, the Draize tests were created and deployed in laboratories ("Timeline: Cosmetics," n.d.). The Draize tests are to measure eye and skin irritations from chemicals. These tests cause immense pain to the non-human animals who are used for testing. Within the cosmetic industry, many rabbits are being used for testing, as well as guinea pigs, rats, and mice. New England Anti-Vivisection Society states, “this test involves dropping concentrated amounts of a test substance into an animal’s eye (while their lids are clipped open) or placing a chemical onto an area where the animal’s skin has been shaved. The resulting irritation, which may include ulceration, inflamed/bleeding skin, swollen eyes, and blindness, is subsequently measured on a numerical scale.” In 2005, the FDA said the tests were no longer needed, but some companies are still using them ("What Is the Draize," n.d.). Several tests have been developed as alternatives to this type of harmful testing, and they do not require non-human animals to be used as subjects. Plus many countries and states have started banning the sales of cosmetics in which non-human animal were used for testing. California was the latest state to ban these products. LIVEKINDLY mentioned, “once signed by Governor Brown, the law puts California alongside the European Union, Switzerland, India, Israel, Guatemala, among other countries who have shifted away from animal testing” (Ettinger, 2018).
What can you do if you do not live in one of the places that have banned the sale of cosmetic with non-human animal testing? Just like the last set of tips, first, ask yourself if you really need to wear cosmetics and makeup, and why you feel the need to wear it? Why does our cultural rely so heavily on covering ourselves up to create a beautiful outcome, and why do we follow these cultural ideas? I stopped wearing makeup about three years ago. I hated putting it on each morning before work, plus I thought I looked fake most of the time. I don’t have perfect skin, but it is my skin and learned to be happy with myself. I still use moisturizer, but I make sure it is cruelty-free (for non-human animals) and vegan before buying it. You can also find many vegan and cruelty-free (again, for non-human animals) cosmetics available for sale. I have to mention vegan here because many cosmetic products contain animal derived ingredients. Including collagen, tallow, gelatin, lanolin, plus many more ingredients (Ryan, 2015). A list of these animal-free makeups can be found on Cruelty Free Kitty. You might be surprised how many products you will be able to find. Now, having said all of that. Even though these brands or products are animal-free, they might not be cruelty-free. It can be harder to research how many of the products or the companies use fair practices for the people who are making, packaging, and shipping the products. Plus where are they made and how far are they shipped. There is also one more option! Sunny Subramanian, of the Vegan Beauty Review, created a comprehensive guide on how to make compassionate makeup and skin care products! I love her book, The Compassionate Chick's Guide to DIY Beauty: 125 Recipes for Vegan, Gluten-Free, Cruelty-Free Makeup, Skin and Hair Care Products. I have made several of the body scrubs and lotions, as well as bath products. Each has been better than what I have purchased in the past.
46. Conscious Cleaning Products
Just like with cosmetics, cleaning products and other daily household item are frequently tested on animals. From hand soap to laundry detergent, to toilet cleaner. Hundreds of thousands of non-human animals are used each year in testing facilities, even though there are many cruelty-free tests available ("Product Testing," n.d.). The Leaping Bunny program was developed to help consumers quickly identify if a product was not tested on animals. However, just because the product was not tested on non-human animals, doesn’t mean that it is free of non-human animal ingredients. On some labels, you will also see it listed as vegan (usually with a vegan “V”) or will say does not contain animals ingredients or was not tested on non-human animals. Plus, just like with cosmetics, you should consider the human factor, as well as the environmental factor. Who made, and how were the products made? Does the company have environmentally friendly practices to ensure the chemicals used in the products are not damaging the environment, local waterways, or the air around the plant? Also, just like the cosmetics, you can make cleaning products. Here is a guide to get you started! Just keep in mind to look for cruelty-free ingredients!
A Side Note - These tips are perfect examples of how humans, non-human animals, and the environment are effect by one simple decision, and how our society encourages us not to think about this. How many advertisements do you see for cleaning products or cosmetics? How many coupons do you find for these products? Companies make it very easy for us not to think about anything other than how their products benefit us. But, we live on the planet, the one and only we most likely ever call home, with 7+ billion other humans and billions of non-human animals. I hope this guide and these tips are helping to see just how easy it is to make small changes and have huge impacts. There is still much more to come!