Did you know that testing on animals is a legal requirement in some countries? The good news is there’s been a worldwide movement driven by passionate consumers to change this outdated law, but there’s further to go.
Feeling sick to the stomach? Yes, unfortunately this cruel and unnecessary process is shocking. Unless a product explicitly says otherwise, it is likely tested on animals. Think about it, wouldn’t you shout it from the roof-tops if you didn’t do this unnecessarily cruel practice?
The good news is you can choose cruelty-free products and make a difference! How?
Choose products that don’t test on animals:
- Look for a Cruelty Free symbol (the bunny rabbit is the universal symbol for cruelty free- but to be certain, look up the certifying authority to check it’s legitimate). In Australia, check this website and download the free app
- Buy from local artisian producers whom you can scrutinize about their manufacturing and testing processes (and ingredients!)
- Make your own.
Secondly, you can pledge your support to stop this unnecessary testing.
In Australia pledge here.
In the European Union find out more here.
In India this blog has a great overview of which products are not tested on animals.
Global – the Humane Society International website has some great info and easy action steps.
Why is animal-testing done anyway?
Testing on animals is conducted for various reasons such as whether a product or ingredient causes skin sensitivity, toxicity or cancer. There are alternative approved ways of non-animal testing that produce results that are more relevant to humans. Hundreds of companies worldwide have decided to not support animal testing. They can do so by choosing from among the tens of thousands of raw ingredients that have been tested in the past, instead of purchasing newly developed chemicals that will also have been newly animal-tested.
Which countries support animal testing?
Animal testing is not conducted in Australia – apparently we don’t have the facilities do so – but testing is routine for cosmetic (skincare and makeup) products that are imported or made offshore. And many are. Make sure to look at the product carefully to check for a cruelty-free symbol or words to that effect – more info below).
Unfortunately testing cosmetics on animals is actually a legal requirement in some countries (like China). This is slowly changing with some countries banning testing due to consumer pressure and via the likes of the Humane Society, or green political parties.
Which countries and companies don’t support animal testing?
This is not a straightforward question to answer. Animal-testing bans across the globe are complex. The UK banned the legal requirement for animal testing in 1998. Then the European Union (EU) did in 2009 – for cosmetics only and only where these are sold in Europe. There was a proposal to ban all animal testing in the EU but in 2015 this was not passed and cosmetics companies which are not cruelty free certified can still test their products or ingredients on animals – as long as they don’t do these tests or sell these products in the EU. Cruelty Free International is seeking to challenge the narrow definition in force in the EU. In 2014 many other countries (including China) took steps towards removing this cruel legislation or banning animal testing for cosmetics all together. There’s still a long way to go. This infographic describes the complex situation in China where any specialty product such as sunscreen or skin-whitening cream still legally requires animal testing but general cosmetics don’t. This doesn’t mean that general cosmetics are now cruelty free – many are still tested on animals (but it’s not a legal requirement). The situation is somewhat similar in Brazil where a Bill was passed in 2014 to ban testing of cosmetics on animals but not where ingredients haven’t been tested on animals before (eg a new ingredient).
In Australia, you can bet that most big name brand products from overseas companies or that are Australian owned but made overseas or shipped to overseas markets, which may require animal testing, are tested on animals (unless they explicitly say they are not). The practice is unnervingly commonplace. Think MAC, Elizabeth Arden, Clinique, Colgate, Vaseleine, St Ives…the list goes on. Note that this can change rapidly as more and more consumers demand the end to cruelty, so it’s best to check a products packaging for a ‘bunny symbol.’ No symbol = likely animal tested.
The Australian government is opposed to testing cosmetics (and other personal care products) on animals. In 2014 The Australian Greens Party proposed The End Cruel Cosmetics Bill. The Greens’ bill will ensure that cosmetics imported into Australia haven’t been tested on animals. It was passed but hasn’t been enacted fully as the complex policies and processes required are not yet in place.
What you can do:
- Choose to purchase products from the many companies who have pledged to not test on animals.
- Sign the global pledge to #BeCrueltyFree!
- Find out which products sold in Australia (and globally) still test on animals and use your consumer power to make a difference by not buying these products.
- Spread the word if you are passionate by sharing this article!