The price of beauty -- paid for by animals

More and more, we are living in an age of information, the substance of which is increasingly difficult to ignore, says animal rights advocate Santosh Krinsky. Are our coffee and chocolate products fair trade? Were poor workers in developing countries brutalized in the process of making our clothes? How was the food sourced in the groceries we buy, and what exactly is in it, anyway?

Increasingly, the answers to these questions matter to more consumers, Krinsky says.

In the same vein, Rep. Jim Moran is sponsoring the Humane Cosmetics Act, which would phase out animal testing for U.S.-made cosmetics within a year and imported cosmetics within three years.

“Consumers value cosmetics and manufacturers want them to be safe for daily use, but we do not have to blind, maim and kill scores of animals to ensure our beauty-enhancing products won’t hurt us,” says Krinsky, head of the international personal-care brand Beauty Without Cruelty ( -- the first to ban animal-testing for its products in 1963. BWC’s products are all produced with no animal testing and contain no animal ingredients.

“In the past, testing was done on dogs, but now it’s done on rabbits, guinea pigs, mice and rats. These are conscious creatures with the capacity for immense suffering. Think about it: Tests are done on these animals because they are biologically similar to us. Doesn’t that also mean we should be especially empathetic to their suffering?”

Krinsky, who recently partnered with the Humane Society of the United States’ “Be Cruelty-Free” campaign, urges voters to call their U.S. representative and ask for him or her to vote in favor of H.R. 4148. Follow up with a personalized mail or email reiterating your request.

He reviews some of the tests that mainstream cosmetic companies still commonly conduct on animals.

•  Acute dermal toxicity … uses 20 rabbits, guinea pigs or rats to determine how much substance causes half of the tested animals to die within two weeks of exposure. A chemical is applied to their shaved skin for 24 hours, and a patch is used to cover the area so they do not lick or clear off the tested area.

•  Eye irritation or corrosion … tests one to three rabbits; a chemical is applied to their eyes to determine how severe the resulting irritation or damage. The exposure tests for signs of redness, ulcers, bleeding, blindness and other forms of damage.

•  Developmental toxicity … examines either 480 rabbits – 100 adult females and 480 kittens (babies) – or 1,300 rats – 100 adult females and 1,200 pups – to test for birth defects. Usually by force-feeding, a pregnant female is exposed at the beginning of an implemented pregnancy; exposure persists throughout the term. She is then killed on the day before she is expected to give birth, which is about 22 days for rats, or 31 days for rabbits. Her young are extracted and evaluated for signs of developmental abnormalities.

•  Acute oral toxicity … subjects seven rats to determine how much of a chemical causes half of the exposed animals to die within 14 days of exposure, when the substance is swallowed. The rats are force-fed the substance, causing them to experience convulsions, diarrhea, bleeding from the mouth, seizures, paralysis and sometimes death.

“The European Union has already banned cosmetics that use these practices, and I think Rep. Moran’s efforts are a sign of things to come here in the U.S.,” Krinsky says. “In fact, many consumers prefer lipstick, mascara, shampoo, lotion and other products consisting of material that’s so safe that they don’t require animal testing.”



Published: Aug. 21, 2014 - Volume 13 - Issue 19