On Monday 11th March 2013, in Europe, new legislation came into effect which banned animal testing for cosmetics. A long-fought victory for the campaigners, but the battle isn’t entirely won because of a piece of legislation called REACH. This layer of red tape is designed to ensure safety and complete testing of all ingredients, but continues to include animal testing as an option despite advances in alternatives. This video by LUSH explains the issue with REACH.
What this means is that companies approved by BUAV and similar organisations (e.g. LUSH, M&S, Superdrug) may be forced to be part of working groups which test on animals for some of their ingredients, when their own policy is very much against this type of testing.
There are many reasons for being against animal testing, and as a vegan, I am playing my own small part in trying to avoid animal cruelty. I do, however, take prescription medications which at some point may have been tested on animals, but try to offset this by living as ethically as I can in other ways.
Why do we test on animals though? There are so many problematic issues, and I sometimes wonder why this practice is continued. Animals are not humans, so why do we think that the results of experiments using animal subjects will extrapolate to human beings? One of the most common antibiotics, penicillin is toxic to guinea pigs. Paracetamol is poisonous to cats. Many of our human diseases do not even exist in animal subjects. How do you study the mental health of a rabbit? Do mice get Alzheimer’s disease? The answer may be yes, but only if you introduce human genes. And even then, a mouse with human genes is still not human. So what can we learn from animal studies? Millions of dollars are wasted by drug companies in animal testing, and in these straitened times, surely the development of human-specific models would be more cost effective.
If you’re against animal testing, please consider signing this petition.
Thank you to Damien Clarkson for highlighting the issue