Oct 22 , 2019
Animal testing in cosmetics?
Animal experiments are currently attracting a lot of media attention because of a laboratory near Hamburg. We think it's sad that things had to get this far and want to give you a brief overview of the subject.
Animal experiments generally have the purpose of understanding the effects of chemical substances on the human organism before they are allowed on the market.
To put it simply, the aim is to test how compatible the new substances are for humans and whether they could cause irritation or even disease.
There are now alternatives to many tests, so in 2013 the EU also imposed a ban on animal testing in cosmetics.
Unfortunately, however, this is not only a tradition in cosmetics. Although animal testing is officially banned for cosmetic products in Germany, ingredients are often tested on animals for other chemical products, such as pharmaceuticals or wall paints.
So it cannot be assumed that products in Germany and Europe have not been tested on animals.
Another factor is that animal testing in many countries is still a recognized method for testing cosmetics. It is therefore simply cheaper for companies to test their products on animals and then market them in various countries, such as Japan, Russia or the USA, on the basis of this result.
In Germany alone, 2.8 million animals were tested in 2016. 665,000 animals were killed in that year to remove organs or cells. This corresponds to almost 2,000 animals per day!
Which animal experiments are allowed?
Unfortunately, this question cannot be answered in one sentence, but depends on many factors. As already mentioned, animal testing for cosmetic products is already banned in Europe, but still mandatory in many other areas. In principle, it can be said that animal experiments are "permitted" if they are approved by the competent authority.
The REACH regulation (a law of the European Union) stipulates that approximately 30,000 chemicals must be tested again for their toxicity. It is estimated that 54 million (!) animals die.
Depending on the effect to be investigated, different animals are also used. For example, infectious diseases are studied in guinea pigs, HIV in rhesus monkeys and metabolic diseases in rats.
In general it can be said that mice and rats are the most frequently used animal species. One reason for this is that the genes of mice and humans match 98%. A distinction must also be made here between research and toxicological or other safety tests.
An example of an animal test in research is the so-called "Forced Swim Test". In this test, mice and rats are thrown into a container with water from which they cannot escape. This stops the time it takes for the rodent to stop swimming and to come to terms with its death. Although the test is used to research drugs against depression, it is unclear to what extent this test allows statements to be made about the mental state of the animals.
The so-called "LD50 tests" are regular toxicological tests. These tests are performed to determine the lethal dose of drugs and active substances such as botulinum toxin (Botox). This involves injecting an active substance into mice until the dose can be determined at which exactly 50% of the animals die.
Although Botox is mainly used as a cosmetic anti-wrinkle agent, it is internationally approved as a drug and can therefore be tested on animals. The grey area is therefore larger than might appear at first glance and extends beyond the ban in Europe.
When will animal testing be banned?
Animal testing has been completely banned in cosmetics in Germany since 1997, in Austria since 1999 and in the whole of Europe since 2013.
All animal experiments must be approved by an authority and the institutes are regularly tested depending on the animal species. Theoretically this means that institutes that conduct research on monkeys are tested annually, institutes that conduct research on dogs and other animals, however, only every 3 years. In principle, only persons with the necessary knowledge are allowed to carry out animal experiments. Therefore, not everyone is allowed to carry out animal experiments.
We would like to see more frequent and more thorough controls, but in practice the laboratories are already tested less often than legally prescribed due to a lack of personnel.
Unfortunately, there is currently no cross-sector ban in sight.
In particular, so-called basic medical research accounts for a large proportion of this without offering any direct benefit. Here, experiments are carried out on animals without having a direct concrete benefit. Theories are developed and proven which might be helpful in the development of drugs in the future, but which currently only serve to analyse the basics.
The good news here is that new methods make it possible to test many things on simple culture cells, so that the number of animals suffering from this should decrease in the future.
The toxicological (toxicity tests) and pharmacological (drug tests) tests make up the other half. These tests test drugs, chemicals, environmental toxins and vaccines for their toxicity and effects on humans and the environment.
Here, too, a ban in the near future does not seem realistic, as researchers say there are no alternatives.
However, the alternatives will not emerge without the necessary research funds. Especially with the help of artificial intelligence I see a realistic chance to generate models that make animal experiments superfluous. To do this, however, many more people need to be made aware of the topic and address it as a problem. Only when it is publicly perceived as a problem will money flow and laws be implemented.
What can we do about it?
Most people think that it is useless to change their behaviour on their own. But it is not like that. NovaNation shows that each of us can have an influence.
First of all, you should of course make sure that the cosmetics you buy have not been tested on animals. Of course, our lipsticks have all been developed without animal testing, but if you are looking for other products, Peta offers a detailed list. Here both cosmetic brands that carry out animal testing are excluded and vegan brands are listed.
Often you are also not aware of which brands support animal testing at all. Companies that at first sight have nothing to do with animals or cosmetics promote them. Further information can be found on Peta's website.
In addition, you can of course do without cosmetic treatments with active ingredients such as Botox. Although this still seems to be a taboo topic for many, the treatment enjoys a growing demand in today's "instagrammable" time. Many people forget that it is still a nerve poison and proceed without thought.
In addition, demonstrations on the subject are currently being organised in many large cities, and of course you can join them.
Of course you can also enlighten friends and relatives, because not everyone is aware of exactly what animal testing is all about. Send them this blog contribution, or refer to the info of Peta for this.
In addition Peta gladly accepts donations at any time, in order to fight in your name against animal experiments.
We are not only against animal experiments
We already knew at the beginning that NovaNation should stand for more than just cosmetics. The Peta Cruelty-free logo was indispensable for us, but only the beginning. NovaNation not only distances itself from all animal testing, but also wants to do something about it in your name. Therefore a part of the proceeds from the sale of our lipsticks goes to Peta, among others, to fight further against animal testing in all industries.
Beyond that we want to convert with our own NovaNation registered association projects, which benefit animals.
In order to communicate this as transparently and directly as possible, we have decided to keep this blog.
If you have any further questions, suggestions or feedback, we would really appreciate a comment from you!