BY KANDACE GALLANT
Not only are animals taken from the wild and used for our entertainment, they are also used to test products on that we use every day. Makeup, dish soap, shampoo, body wash, cigarettes, and yes, even the toothpaste you put in your mouth, are all tested on lab animals first to see if they are safe enough for our use.
Rats, mice, rabbits, monkeys, guinea pigs and dogs are all forcefully taken into labs to be used for testing and more than 200,000 animals suffer every year because of the harsh chemicals that are put onto and into their bodies.
According to the Humane Society International’s website (www.hsi.org/issues/becrueltyfree/factsabout_cosmetics_animal_testing.html), the tests the animals go through include skin and eye irritation, where the product is rubbed on their skin or dipped in their eye, and chemicals are forced down their throats. It puts the animal in pain, distress, can blind them or swell their eyes, and can cause internal bleeding, organ damage and even death.
So, if this is what is happening in labs just so we can put eyeshadow on our eyes and shampoo in our hair, what are ways that we can avoid these products?
The easiest way is to start buying all-natural products. If you look on the back of the packaging or the bottle, it should specifically say “not tested on animals or cruelty free.” A lot of companies have even started putting a vegan friendly label on their bottles so people know there are also no animal by-products used either.
Companies that make all-natural products test their products by using human cells and tissues from volunteers. It’s less expensive, takes less time, is more reliable and is more sanitary.
Cruelty-free products have also proven to be more environmentally friendly. Some countries have put a ban on any animal testing including Brazil, New Zealand, India and Israel, and a few have had the ban in place for several years now. But Canada does not.
This practice is harsh and unnecessary, yet affects thousands of animals each year.
According to a poll done by The Strategic Counsel on Behalf of Animal Alliance and Humane Society International, 81 per cent of Canadians agree that the suffering of animals is not worth using them for testing, and 88 per cent support a national ban on animal testing of cosmetics and their ingredients.
If you’re one of those people who insists you are an animal lover, I strongly encourage you to not support cosmetic testing and look for cruelty-free labels on products that you’re buying.