Unlike so many other animal abuses, the issue of using animals in product testing is one that ultimately rests with consumers. Reliance on animal testing methods for cosmetic and household products will continue unless concerned citizens speak out with their purchasing power. By making informed humane choices and encouraging others to do the same, individuals can push for an end to product testing and stop the needless suffering of countless animals each year. See a list of companies that do not test on animals.
In 2006, AAVS assumed the leadership role as Chair of the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC), which manages the Leaping Bunny Program. Formed in 1996 by AAVS and several other national animal protection organizations, the CCIC works with companies to verify the elimination of all new animal testing from their cosmetic, personal care, and household products and promote the use of an internationally-recognized Leaping Bunny Logo that makes it easy for consumers to find trust-worthy, animal-friendly products.
AAVS only lists companies that have joined the Leaping Bunny Program in its Compassionate Shopping Guide, giving consumers confidence in the cruelty-free products they are buying. Request a free Guide or view and print our Compassionate Shopping Guide in Acrobat PDF format.
Product Testing on AnimalsEvery year, unknown numbers of animals, mostly rabbits, mice, and rats, are subject to tests that assess the safety of cosmetic, personal care, and household products and their component ingredients. However, there is no regulatory requirement either by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which regulate cosmetic/personal care and household products respectively, that animal tests must be performed. Furthermore, reactions to the exposure of these products vary among species, making it difficult to extract data from animal tests and apply them to situations in which humans are exposed.
Animal testing used by cosmetic, personal care, and household product companies involves exposing animals to high-doses of irritating and toxic substances. For example, the Draize eye irritancy test developed in 1944 to assess eye irritation caused by various chemicals, requires animals, usually rabbits, to be restrained while a substance is placed in one eye, with the other eye serving as a control. The rabbits’ eyes are evaluated up to three weeks to gauge ocular changes. Rabbits suffer from redness, bleeding, ulcers, and even blindness and are likely killed upon completion of the experiment. Other toxicity tests include the Draize skin irritancy test, which is similar to the eye test, only done on shaved skin, and acute toxicity tests, also called the (LD50) and (LD100), which involve the poisoning of animals until half or all the test subjects die. There is no ethical justification for subjecting animals to these painful testing procedures simply to assess the safety of shampoo, eyeliner, and laundry detergent.
There are sufficient existing safety data as well as in vitro alternatives to make animal testing for cosmetic and household products obsolete. Unfortunately, many companies remain resistant to changing their testing techniques and U.S. agencies, like the FDA, continue to endorse animal testing methods as the gold standard. In response to public concern about the cruelty involved, lawmakers have begun to introduce and pass laws preventing or limiting the use of animals in product testing. Hopefully, continued consumer demand and new laws will push companies to quickly develop and implement appropriate non-animal alternative test methods.