Consumers should take action to end cruel animal testing

Kirstin Cook, Editor-in-Chief

Most people wouldn’t put shampoo in their cat’s eyes before they use it themselves. They wouldn’t test mascara on a rabbit before using it. They wouldn’t rub floor cleaner on their dog’s skin before putting in on their floor.

So why do consumers continue to support companies that do?

Many common household items, from toothpaste to dish detergent, are tested on animals. In the U.S. alone, PETA states more than 100 million animals are experimented on every year, including dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, monkeys, mice and birds.

The animals are treated the same way experimenters would treat a pair of latex gloves. Used throughout the experiment until they are worn out, and then disposed of.

The animals are confined to cages, waiting for the torture to begin. Then, they can often be restrained in devices for hours, and are exposed to horrors like having their skin burned off or inhaling toxic fumes. These cruel practices will often lead to the animal’s death.

No animal deserves to die in a laboratory, at the hands of a human.

Major companies and brands like Dove, Chapstick, Johnson & Johnson, Maybelline, Neutrogena and Suave use these horrifying testing methods to test their products. This is no law that prohibits or enforces animal testing on this corporations – they decide to take part in the abuse.

Consumers need to boycott these inhumane companies. The resources are at our fingertips, as PETA has an online database of cruelty-free companies and products.

Yet, some justify their usage of cruel products with the idea that animal testing is necessary for human safety. If that was true, then the U.S. Food and Drug Administration would not outwardly state they do not require animal testing to ensure safety of any cosmetics. They go so far to say that if a company finds it essential to test their product, it is recommended they consider all alternatives to animal testing.

The human safety argument comes up to support animal testing for medical reasons, as well. There are claims that testing on animals has enable medical breakthroughs.

The real breakthrough has been the conclusion that results on animals are rarely compatible with results on humans. Publications like the “British Medical Journal” and “Journal of the American Medical Association” have concluded that the immense biological differences between humans and animals lead to unreliable, incomparable and inaccurate results from animal testing.

You simply cannot test a drug on a rabbit and expect the effects to be the same on a human, and the same is true with any animal. Basically, these animals are suffering needlessly.

Finally, one company has stepped up to its ethical obligations. French cosmetic company L’Oreal announced last month they would partner with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to end animal testing in the cosmetics industry.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, L’Oreal is donating $1.2 million to fund a computer model that will test the toxicity of chemicals used in products. This new technology will allow consumers to ensure their new flavor of toothpaste is safe, and not at the expense of innocent animals.

More companies need to follow L’Oreal in their noble lead. And consumers need to support L’Oreal in their moral decision to support this project.

Celebrities have started to show their support for the cause, as well. Media giant Ricky Gervais, best known as the brains behind “The Office,” recently released a video lauding the organization Cruelty Free International for their work in ending cosmetic testing on animals.

As more companies and stars make the ethical choice to reject animal testing, consumers need to join the movement. It takes a few minutes to check the back a product for a logo or statement labeling that item as cruelty-free. Or, you can go to an organic section, such as at Wegmen’s, where the cruelty-free products are vast.

And if you choose to continue supporting companies that torture animals, look into the eyes of your pet dog, cat or guinea pig the next time you’re using that product. Think about the animals just like them that suffered to ensure that your beauty products won’t irritate your skin.