What is Animal Testing?

By November 23, 2015Beauty Lowdown, Behind the Brand

What is animal testing? We all know it’s a bad thing but do we actually know what we’re talking about. The very definition of animal testing is as follows:

Using animal testing in the development of cosmetics may involve testing either a finished product or the individual ingredients of a finished product on animals, often rabbits, but also mice, rats, and other animals. Re-using existing test data obtained from previous animal testing is generally not considered to be cosmetic testing on animals; however, the acceptability of this to opponents of testing is inversely proportional to how recent the data is.

Ok so what does this mean? Well it means that’s once a cosmetic company thinks they have cracked the formula the nearest thing they can test on that isn’t human is a mammal, animal of course.  This accounts for about 100 million animals a year being tested on.

animal cruel

I always try to promote some cruelty free and vegan products in my articles. This industry is growing from strength to strength becoming more of a money making juggernaut then even before. We need to be more aware of the impact we have on our planet and everything in it.

I can see eyes rolling as I say that but it’s true. Look at global warming! Why do something about it when it’s already damaged. Prevention is better than cure yet we never seem to learn.

Vegan products are also a big market. Not only do they generally as a rule of thumb don’t test on animals they also don’t use animal products. Surprised!? You should be. Do you know how your expensive perfume last so long on your skin… sperm whale intestinal bile duct secretion, in other words whale vomit. Notoriously expensive and sought after and better known as Ambergris.

Chicken Bone Marrow, it’s full of glucosamine, which promotes youthful skin, chicken bone marrow is used in make-up products. You’ll find it in moisturisers and face creams because of its anti-inflammatory quality.

Fish Scales. If you use products that give your skin or lips a bit of a shimmery look, then it could contain fish scales. In fact, such products could be marked as having pearlescence so keep an eye out for that as well as the name crystalline guanine.

Carmine is a common ingredient found in make-up products such as lipsticks. It gives the product its pink or red hue. But this red dye originates from cochineal beetles that are first drowned in boiling water, dried and then ground up into a powder so that the dye can be extracted. Carmine might also be named other things, such as Crimson Lake, Natural Red #4, C.I. 75470 or E120.

Glycerine is a by-product of soap which is normally made from animal fat. It can be found in many cosmetics products, as well as toothpastes, soaps, and foods. Better alternatives include vegetable glycerine.


Have you ever really thought what happened to the animals that made it possible for us to know what products we could use?? I’ll be honest I didn’t until I started writing articles like this. It’s a completely different ball game as to what happens to the poor creatures it’s tested on.  


It includes skin and eye irritation tests where chemicals are rubbed onto the shaved skin, syringed or dripped into the eyes of rabbits. Repeated oral force-feeding studies lasting many months to check for signs of general illness.  It also checks for signs of cancer or birth defects. Another practice is called “lethal dose” tests, in which animals are forced to swallow massive amounts of a test chemical to determine the dose that causes death.

These tests can be unbelievable painful and cause distress including blindness, swelling of the eyes, sore /bleeding skin, internal bleeding and organ damage, birth defects, convulsions and death. There is no such thing as pain relief given to them and at the end of a test the animals are generally killed, normally by asphyxiation, neck-breaking or decapitation.

What are we doing to stop this diabolical treatment of animals? Well luckily Peta have come to the rescue.

As of March 2013, the European Union has banned the sale of any cosmetics or cosmetics ingredients that have been tested on animals. This marketing ban means that companies worldwide will have to abandon animal testing for cosmetics that they want to sell in the EU. This could mean absolutely devastating financial losses for cosmetic companies.  The decision follows some vigorous campaigning by PETA and its international counterparts that included public protests, phone calls, and over 20,000 e-mails.

Unfortunately due to some loops holes there are some products that still get away with it. It’s definitely a step in the right direction though.

China, India and Israel are major offenders when it comes to animal testing. With help from PETA’s funding and scientific expertise, China is slowly moving away from animal testing and is hoping to approve its first non-animal test for cosmetics

While India has suspended all tests on animals for cosmetics until non-animal methods are accepted, and their government is considering a permanent ban. This is a fantastic result for Peta as with the population in these three countries alone is more than Europe combined.

However, things are different in the United States. Animal experiments for cosmetics reasons continue even though non-animal tests are widely available. Manufacturers can now test that chemical onto cornea-like tissue produced from human cells but instead they opt  to see how long it takes a chemical to burn away the cornea of a rabbit’s eye. Why? Personally I would say disregard for life and in some ways playing god. Believing if the test subject is not alive it won’t be 100% accurate. This seems to be contradictory as the skin cells produced are 100% human. Which would you rather use now that you’re more clued in? Bit of a no brainer isn’t it?

More and more are abandoning this barbaric method and choosing to be cruelty free! Such as

Now I am not here to tell you what makeup to use. I am here to give you some researched information and let you make up your own mind.

Everyday more and more of these companies are stopping cruelty towards animals so there is hope. Many well-known brands are all guilty of testing their products on animals ‘at some stage of development’.

These companies are saying the practice is still taking place abroad mainly in China because it’s an issue of cost, as animal testing can be cheaper and easier than many humane methods. Now thankfully like I mentioned above the Chinese Government are in the last stages of banning  animal testing so this could be a thing of the past soon enough.

For now though we will continue to be positive about the fantastic outcome achieved by PETA and bringing makeup testing into the 21st century and out of the stone age.

Even if we decide to boycott one product we love due to the animal testing isn’t that better than nothing?  If all the makeup wearer of the world did this what an impact we would have!