Cruelty Free International released figures that an estimated 500,000 animals continue to be used annually in animal testing for cosmetics. This roughly equates to 1,390 animals possibly harmed every day.
Here’s more. Did you know that testing even a single ingredient for a deodorant, hair dye or sunscreen—even with guidelines set by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)—can easily involve the death of around 1,400 animals? Alarming as the number may sound, it cannot be avoided because in most countries, there is no law requiring cosmetic testing data to be made available to the public or even to regulators.
Beyond figures, here are the ways animals can suffer cosmetic testing: Dripping ingredients into their eyes, smearing them on to their skin, injecting them into their bodies, force-feeding them, or making them inhale these substances to see possible effects. Among the animals usually used for animal testing are mice, rats, rabbits, guinea pigs, and hamsters who may all be injured in the process or suffer the damaging results of chemicals. Typical effects include inflamed organs, irritated noses and stomach linings, lethargy, breathing problems, stained fur, excessive salivation, and even convulsions and death. The animals usually end up being put down after a matter of days, or if they keep going, weeks or even years in such horrific conditions.
As such, in 1989 British brand The Body Shop became the very first international beauty brand to campaign against the practice of animal testing in cosmetics, in partnership with Cruelty Free International. This paved the way to a European Union-wide ban on animal testing only many years later in 2013. Back then, the campaign gathered 1 million signatures, influencing the Asia Pacific region to follow suit.
But while much has been accomplished with its partner non-profit organization, there remains more work to be done. Eighty percent of countries worldwide is still legally allow developers to conduct animal testing of cosmetic products and ingredients. The only way to make sure that this practice ends is through a global ban, with the support of the highest authority in the United Nations. This is where the Fight Against Animal Testing campaign comes in, which is out to collect as many signatures to get the attention of the UN General Assembly to pass an international convention that will ban global animal testing.
“Since the brand started the cause, we want to end it. Eighty percent of the countries up to now don’t have laws against animal testing. The Body Shop together with Cruelty Free International want to gather eight million signatures to be able to call on the United Nations to create a general assembly for domestic laws to be implemented in each of these countries around the world,” Doly Arm Cruz, overall brand communications head for The Body Shop, stated during the Philippine launch of the signature campaign.
“A harmonized global ban will end decades of animal suffering, ensure that customers everywhere can shop with the confidence that no animals were harmed for their cosmetics, create a level playing field for companies all over the world, and ensure that testing will not be moved from one country to another,” she added.
According to Cruz, this is the most ambitious campaign ever mounted against animal testing what with its aim to generate an international convention to end the practice once and for all.
Gathering celebrity advocates at the well-attended event on July 11 at Mega Fashion Hall in Megamall.
Manila-based Brazilian model Vanessa Matsunaga said that companies should find other alternatives in testing their products without having to harm animals.
“For years, I’ve been talking about animal cruelty because it’s just so sad that people still don’t have regard for life. I grew up in a family that has such a great respect for life. My parents always taught me that if you have a hard time in loving animals, you are going to have harder time loving human beings. It’s horrible what they do to the animals and they don’t deserve that,” she declared.
Filipino-Swiss race car driver Marlon Stockinger, meanwhile, said that he is also against animal testing because for him, “beauty at the expense of cruelty is not beautiful at all.”
“No animal should get tested for the sake or expense of cosmetics especially since we value our own lives. We should also value theirs,” Stockinger stated.
Now live online, the petition against animal testing is gathering signatures at www.foreveragainstanimaltesting.com and www.thebodyshop.com/ban-animal-testing. Worldwide, the public can also sign the petition at any of The Body Shop’s 3,000 stores across the globe. Consumers are also encouraged to use the campaign hashtag, #ForeverAgainstAnimalTesting, on social media to raise awareness on the issue.