products are tested on animals?
Many people are unaware that a very wide range of day-to-day
personal hygiene and household products are tested on animals.
Such products include: cosmetics for woman AND men, hair care
products, deodorants, toothpastes, household cleaners, dish
washing and laundry detergents, floor polishes, oven cleaners,
pesticides, insect repellents and many products used in industry
(car oils and even mobile phones!). In the case of cosmetics
and cleaning agents, many if not all of the ingredients as
well as the finished product are tested on animals and many
ingredients are animal derived: eg. lanolin, mink oil, elastin,
stearic acid, glycerin and hyaluronic acid and many, many
more. For many of these substances there are now synthetic
or plant-based alternatives.
are animal tests used?
1. To determine how toxic a substance may be if accidentally
swallowed by human beings (toxicity tests)
2. To determine how irritant a product may be if it accidentally
gets into human eyes, or on the skin or other sensitive part
of the body (irritancy tests)
3. To determine how toxic or irritant a substance may be if
used as a spray and potentially inhaled by human beings (inhalation
kinds of tests are used on animals?
(only a brief summary is provided here)
1. LD50 Test in which the experimental animals are force fed
the substance until 50% of them die from the poisonous effects
of the product. This could mean hundreds or in some cases, thousands
2. Fixed dose test in which a set dose is administered to an
experimental group of animals until visible signs of poisoning
occur, rather than death. HOWEVER, at the end of the experiment,
all the animals are killed and examined.
3. Inhalation texts in which animals are forced to breathe in
a substance in spray, mist or smoke form. They may have the
product sprayed heavily around the head and body; they may have
an inhalation mask strapped to their face or they may be put
into a sealed chamber. Again, they are all killed and examined
at the end of the experiment.
1. Draize test in which rabbits are held in stocks so they cannot
move and have the substance dripped into their eyes over a period
of up to 7 days. Rabbits do not produce tears and so their eyes
cannot wash away anything that irritates their eyes. Effects
of this can be eye bleeding, ulceration, swelling, discharge
and even burnout of the cornea. This is a very painful test.
2. Skin irritancy in which a patch of the animals skin is shaved
and the substance applied. Animals commonly used for this are
rabbits and guinea pigs.
are many alternative tests available now and hundreds of companies
have changed over from animal testing models to these alternatives.
Eg. tissue, cell and organ cultures; eytex and skintex tests;
clinical and epidemiological studies and bacteria cultures.
some cases, it is the law of some countries (although not in
Australia) that animals be used in all safety tests. In the
USA and European countries, this is still the case. Animal protection
groups have been lobbying for a long time to get such laws changed
and in 2002 the European Parliament is debating this very issue.
about the labelling of such products?
fact that the law still requires animal tests in some parts
of the world means that many products that are imported into
Australia may have misleading information on the packaging.
This can also happen even if the product comes from a place
where the law does NOT require animal tests but where the company
producing the product still uses animal laboratories.
may indicate “not tested on animals”. However, this
(a) the ingredients have not been tested on animals but the
final, finished product has been tested on animals OR
(b) some or all of the ingredients have been tested on animals
but the final, finished product has not a been so tested.
YOU can do to avoid products that have been cruelly tested on
In Australia, a Melbourne based company called Choose Cruelty
Free produces annually a booklet called the Preferred Products
List. This lists all companies that have been through the Choose
Cruelty Free accreditation process and who market products in
Australia. These products carry the ‘choose cruelty free’
request a copy of the book go to www.choosecrueltyfree.org.au
(a guide to cruelty free shopping for cosmetics, hair care
& personal hygiene products, household cleaners, detergents