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An ill by Nustra ata ted sha Zin Gill e

CosCmruel etics

Many of us purchase cosmetic/household products with little knowledge of what is happening behind closed doors. It is estimated that at least 115 million animals are used in experiments worldwide each year.

The use of animals to test cosmetics and household products became increasingly important during the 20th century. Many products were previously created and sold without prior testing, which lead to consumers experiencing irritancy, reactions and in more serious cases, death. It therefore became the law for companies to test their products and ingredients before allowing them to be put on the shelf. The majority of this testing involved animals such as rats, mice, guinea pigs and rabbits.

Throughout the 1980s and 90s, people began campaigning against the use of animals for testing cosmetics. Many signed petitions, wrote to MPs, took part in marches and started buying cruelty-free products, until in 1993 a law was passed that banned companies from testing finished cosmetics on animals. But this meant that companies could still test product ingredients on animals, and so in 2013, it became illegal for companies to use animals to test both finished cosmetics and their ingredients. The law also prohibits the sale of animal-tested cosmetics within the EU.

R.E.A.C.H LEGISLATION In 2007, however, the EU passed a legislation known as R.E.A.C.H (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals). It requires companies to register any chemical they manufacture or import, old or new, by collecting safety data. Examples of data might include flammability, melting point or irritation - and some of these tests may require animal testing. Companies who are trying to register the same ingredient can work together to obtain safety data - this is known as a SIEF. R.E.A.C.H definitely has its benefits; the sharing of data means less unnecessary testing on animals and therefore reduced costs. However, the legislation does make it harder for cosmetics companies to be completely cruelty-free, as their suppliers may end up on a SIEF that has to animal test.

Despite this, there has been a significant improvement in the regulation of animal testing within the EU over the years. Unfortunately, this is not the case for the 80% of countries across the globe that still allow cosmetic products to be tested on animals. In China it is even a legal requirement for any cosmetic product being sold or imported into the country to be tested on animals. This means that any company that sell their products in China cannot be considered cruelty-free. Although most cosmetics companies may not do the testing themselves, they would need to pay another organisation to conduct the tests on their behalf. Many people opt for cruelty-free products because they feel it is morally wrong to be giving their money to companies who participate in or associate with animal testing.

The Draize Eye Test

The Draize eye and skin tests were developed in 1944 and are still widely used today. The Draize eye test involves placing chemicals onto the eye’s cornea or conjunctiva in order to establish how irritant a chemical would be if it were to come into contact with the eyes. Albino rabbits are the most commonly used animals for the test, as their eyes are a large enough size for assessing test results and are more sensitive than human eyes. They are also relatively cheap to acquire. Redness, bleeding, ulcers and blindness are some of the side effects that can occur during and after tests.

The Draize Skin Test The Draize skin test is used to assess how irritant a chemical or product is when it comes into contact with the skin. During the test, animals are shaved in patches to reveal the skin underneath their fur. Sometimes the skin is abraded to remove several layers ready for the chemical application. The substance is then administered to the exposed area and assessed at different intervals. Blistering, burning and permanent scarring can occur as a result of the test, and animals are often euthanized after the test if the damage caused is irreversible.

Acute Toxic Class Method The Acute Toxic Class method is used to determine how toxic a substance is when ingested/inhaled. It replaced the LD50 test, which has been banned in several countries including the UK, as it requires killing half of the animals used. The Acute Toxic Class method reduces the number of animals needed for testing by 40%70%. Female rats are the preferred animal used for this test, as they are slightly more sensitive than males. In the procedure, the animal is force-fed substances through stomach tubes or intubation cannulas. This is repeated in steps to find the dose that produces mortality. The test can cause the animals pain, convulsions and loss of motor functions. Most are killed when the test is over.

Local Lymph Node Assay

This test is used to evaluate the skin sensitisation potential of chemicals. Mice are most commonly used for this test. The procedure involves applying the substance onto each ear. Phosphate Buffered Saline is injected into the tail vein in order to maintain a constant pH. The mice are then killed; their lymph nodes are drained and assessed. Whilst this test does not cause the animals significant pain, all animals used are killed for examination.

During the 1950s, two British scientists known as Professor William Russell and Rex Burch introduced the principle of the 3 Rs - Refinement, Reduction and Replacement. This formed the basis for more humane experimental practices, and has been adopted by many researchers and scientists across the world.

Refinement Using methods that minimise suffering and improve welfare. ♥♥ Ensuring minimal pain is inflicted on animals during testing, or using alternative, less harmful tests. ♥♥ Ensuring animals are housed with enough space and fed properly.

Reduction Reducing the number of animals used to obtain information ♥♥ Reducing the number of animals used per test or using alternative tests that require less animals. ♥♥ Reducing number of animals needed through the sharing of data or resources.

Replacement Substituting conscious living animals with insentient material. ♼♼ Using alternative testing methods such as human volunteers, tissues and cells or computer models.

ALTERNATIVES There are already many alternatives to animal testing available, and with advancing technology, the range and availability of these alternatives can only increase. Some of these include: ♥♥ In Vitro (Test Tube) Tests - Undertaken in laboratories, model replicas of human cells and skin have been created and used to assess skin allergy and irritancy. It is a successful alternative to animal tests such as the Draize procedure.

♥♥ Human Volunteers - Clinical Trials conducted on human

volunteers are, of course, much more ethical and plausible. Results are more realistic and reliable than data collected using animal tests.

♥♥ Computer Models - Computers are able to determine/

predict disease or predisposition to illness. Computer programs can even carry out virtual drug trials.

For those who feel strongly about buying cruelty free, it is now becoming increasingly easy to purchase non animal-tested products, with more and more companies and brands heading down the crueltyfree route. The Leaping Bunny Logo is one of various internationally recognised symbols that guarantee a product is cruelty free. These symbols are often displayed on a product’s label or packaging, in advertisements and on companies’ websites. It is still important, however, to ask brands about their animal testing policies, as it can differ greatly from company to company. There is no doubt that Europe has seen a significant improvement in the regulation and treatment of animals in experiments over the years; with increased awareness we hope that more companies will see the benefits of going cruelty-free, and that in the near future, more countries will follow suit.

Cruel Cosmetics  

An illustrated zine explaining the history and background of animal testing within the cosmetics industry. The zine touches on some of the t...

Cruel Cosmetics  

An illustrated zine explaining the history and background of animal testing within the cosmetics industry. The zine touches on some of the t...