Join The Body Shop in banning cosmetic testing on animals

9:37 PM

Photo Credit: The Body Shop
Last Friday, I found myself among other bloggers and media representatives in Colombo to pledge support to The Body Shop in their campaign against animal testing. I was grateful for the opportunity to attend the event, and humbled, which is always the case whenever an invite from this brand pops into my inbox. The ambiance in the room felt different that day, which in my mind had to do with the purpose of the event. I got to educate myself more on the cruelty that is endured behind the smoky eye-shadows and vibrant lipsticks. It was a reality that could not be overlooked. However, I was taken by surprise by some of the negative responses I found, when later that day I logged on to Instagram and Twitter. It was clear that the underlying issue was a great deal of misinformation. Therefore the intention of this post is to share the knowledge I've gained on animal testing and to clear some misconceptions about the campaign.

For the longest time, the term 'cruelty free' was not attached to cosmetics. Recently, more and more brands have begun to offer products that are vegan friendly, and more bloggers promote cruelty free skin care and makeup. This change came about due to decades of advocating by brands, especially The Body Shop with the founder, Anita Roddick, a human rights activist and an environmental campaigner, at the forefront. In partnership with Cruelty Free International ,their efforts led to a European Union ban back in 2013. Not stopping there, they are hoping to bring another change by bringing about an international convention to ban animal testing worldwide, and forever.

Photo Credit: The Body Shop
A quick glimpse of the statistics alone shows how devastating and cruel the industry can be. According to Cruelty Free International,  around 500,000 animals are used for cosmetic purposes every year, with just one ingredient in a product involving up to 1,400 animals. Eighty percent of the countries still have no laws against animal testing! What's more, only 40-60% of the tests are accurate whereas non-animal tests are 80% accurate. A quick search online will show you the detrimental effects, even visual, of such testing on the animals. 

With the developments and advancements in technology, this situations begs the question: Is testing on animals in the 21st century necessary? Coming from a background of science, it is often made explicit, the importance of choosing alternative procedures in experimental testing, such as virtual models, and artificial skin, which do not make use of living and breathing animals especially if it does not do greater good. What other options are available for cosmetic testing? Let's take a look at how The Body Shop tests its products. 
 "In-silico (computer-based) analysis uses readily available, existing data which will help us to assess the suitability of similar materials through a process of extrapolation of this information.
Laboratory-produced EpiSkin (created by L'Oreal), is grown from human skin cells and allows us to conduct safety checks on cells that react in virtually the same ways as human skin without harming any people or animals.
Finally, to ensure good tolerance on people we will often test our products using patch testing, which involves placing a very small amount of product on person's skin to ensure that it is safe and effective, usually at the final stage of testing a new formulation. We will also carry out controlled user trials where people test our products for both skin compatibility and cosmetic effectiveness, under the supervision of medical experts when required. "

How to join the movement?
As mentioned, The Body Shop and Cruelty International are hoping to bring about an international convention, by collecting 8 million signatures from around the world to present the petition to the United Nations. You too can sign the petition both online and at a local The Body Shop store. You can use the hashtag #FOREVERAGAINSTANIMALTESTING to join in on the conversation.

On a personal note...
At present when brands are bending over backwards to generate positive press, I could see how easy it is to be viewed as 'blindly following a brand'. Personally, I value integrity, both personal, and of the brand I talk about. It doesn't sit well with me to support a brand that I'm not 100% happy with. You may have noticed me raving about the Vitamin E Aqua Boost Sorbet or the Tea tree Anti-Imperfection Solution, but these are products that I actually enjoy using and would go out and repurchase myself. Simply put, The Body Shop is indeed a brand I trust with my skincare. Hence I am more than happy to support the brand and especially this cause. I'm hoping that with the initiative taken by The Body Shop, other brands too will take a stand against animal testing and offer products that are cruelty free.

To sum up, I do not believe that cosmetic testing should be done on animals, when there are many other alternatives available, that cause no harm, and more importantly, that are much more accurate!

Once again, I thank The Body Shop for taking this initiative in partnership with Cruelty Free International to ban animal testing worldwide. 

Much Love,

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