Rights - Human Wrongs
Animals have suffered
in the name of vanity for too long.
Safety tests carried out in the lucrative cosmetic
industry are inhumane,ineffective and unnecessary.
If animals do think,
what do you suppose they think about?
Do they feel fear? Locked in a laboratory -
do they mourn their freedom?
Do they hear the footsteps
in the corridor and wonder whose cage they will stop at this time?
Once it would have
been inconceivable to entertain these questions seriously - but then it
was considered ludicrous to ask similar questions about human slaves.
If you were force
fed eye shadow, had shampoo dripped into your eyes or were kept in a tiny
cage all your live, you'd do more than complain. Animals can't; that's
why they need our help.
Most people might
think that products which have not been tested on animals are unsafe for
human use. In fact, the opposite is true. Human beings are a totally different
species from guinea pigs, rabbits or mice, and a formula proved safe on
these or other laboratory animals, may be harmful or even fatal when used
Have we such short
memories that we have forgotten the numerous substances that were declared
safe after being animal tested, and which still caused terrible side effects
when used by humans. These include betablocker practolol and chloramphenicol, which showed no ill effects whatsoever in laboratory animals but caused permanent blindness and several deaths
in the humans who used it.
Aspirin causes birth
defects in rats and mice but not in people, while penicillin, highly toxic
to guinea pigs and hamsters, is a potential life saver for human beings.
If the justification
for animal testing is that these animals are unlike people, and therefore
pain can be inflicted upon them, why are they considered close enough to
the human species for the results to be meaningful?
The main tests conducted
on animals by the cosmetic companies include the Lethal Dose Fifty Test,
which involves a group of animals, usually rats or mice, who are fed a
substance, such as lipstick in increasing amounts. This determines the
single dose needed to kill fifty percent of the animals used.
The substance is administered
to the animals by stomach tube, injection, force feeding, application to
the skin or inhalation and they are then observed for up to fourteen days.
The Draize Test involves
the product under investigation, such as shampoo or hairspray, frequently
in an undiluted form, being dripped into the eyes of a group of conscious
rabbits. The results, including extreme ulceration, inflammation and haemorrhaging
are measured for periods lasting up to seven days.
Instead of testing
on live animals, bacterial tests can be performed. Cells, taken from animals
and preserved in a culture dish are used as a cruelty free alternative
to testing on animals.
A recent innovation
is a new test tube skin called Reconstructed Human Skin.
This can be used to
test cosmetics without animal suffering.
Another method of
cruelty free safety testing is computer analyses. Data about certain ingredients
and formulas are fed into a computer. This enables researchers to make
safety evaluations on the products.
A revolutionary new
development in safety testing is a protein culture technique known as EYTEX,
a system which can accurately predict eye irritation in human beings and
is a safe and human alternative to the cruel Draize eye test.
Many scientists believe
these are the tests of the future; others believe they could be used more
widely now and so reduce the unnecessary suffering of animals.
In an age in which
sophisticated technology advances at an unprecedented speed, the continued
testing of cosmetics on animals is strangely out of place.
Experiments on animals
have become a convenience rather than a necessity.
Two hundred years
ago, the English philosopher, Jeremy Bentham wrote: the question is not
can they reason? Nor can they talk? But can they suffer?
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