A rabbit after a Draize Test

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Cruel Cosmetics

Testing consumer products on animals is illegal in Australia, but that hasn’t stopped big companies like Procter & Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive and L’Oreal from torturing animals in other countries before sending their products down under for us to buy… In fact, before stocking our supermarket shelves, these cruel companies pay big bucks for thousands of animals to be poisoned, burnt and killed. Why would they do this? In an attempt to find out the toxicity of the chemicals that make up cosmetics, cleaning products, drugs, pesticides, foods and even packing materials.

Cruel companies expose animals to chemicals that may cause painful eye and skin irritation, developmental abnormalities, cancer and death. The pain from such tests can be excruciating, yet animals are typically not given pain relief, as the ‘scientists’ fear anesthetics could affect the toxicity of the chemicals being tested. So the animals are left to languish in pain.

For the Eye Irritancy Test (sometimes called the Draize Test) rabbits have their heads locked in a vice so that they cannot move, and then chemicals are rubbed into their eye, usually without pain killers. The animal can be left there for days, unable to rub the substance out of his eye, while ‘scientists’ wait to see what damage the chemical does. The damage caused is given a rating, the highest being 110, which means the eye was completely destroyed. Can you imagine the pain and fear of this animal as its eye is burnt away by toxic chemicals.

The LD50 test stands for “Lethal Dose 50”. This test aims to find the amount of a chemical you must feed to a group of animals of the same species before half of the animals die. To do this the animals are regularly force fed the same chemical until half of the animals die. For toxic chemicals this can cause extremely painful and cause serious problems before death. For less toxic chemicals the animals may have to endure force feeding of huge quantities of the substance before finally their bodies can no longer cope and they die. This meaningless test is often done on rats and mice, but can also be done on beagles, cats, and many other animals.
Skin Irritancy tests involve shaving a patch of fur from animals and applying (often corrosive) chemicals to their bare skin to watch the effect. The harsh nature of many of the chemicals can cause severe chemical burns, gaping wounds and bleeding.

Silly Science: Many scientists have argued for a long time that animal tests are ineffective at ensuring products are safe for humans. All species differ significantly in their physiology. In fact, one international study found that LD50 tests in rats and mice could only predict toxicity in humans with 65% accuracy, as opposed to about 75% with cell-line tests (a non-animal test). So feeding a new shampoo to rats won’t guarantee that it’s safe for humans. And really, who eats shampoo anyway!?!

Pointless Poisoning: If that weren’t enough reason to end such tests right now, then the alternatives certainly are! Modern alternatives to product tests on animals are generally more accurate and many are quicker, and much cheaper. Computer models, cell cultures, and human studies should all make animal tests a thing of the past. But this won’t happen unless people vote at the supermarket.

Be A Caring Consumer: Why should animals suffer and die for a new brand of lipstick or new laundry detergent? The fact is they don’t have to, and you can help stop this cruelty. Whether you need to glam up, clean up or wash up, you can do it without clocking up a death toll. Just say no to animal testing.

“Ask the experimenters why they experiment on animals, and the answer is: ‘Because the animals are like us.’ Ask the experimenters why it is morally OK to experiment on animals, and the answer is: ‘Because the animals are not like us.’ Animal experimentation rests on a logical contradiction. “