Cosmestics testing on animals: Will new laws ban the archaic practice?

Chief
Colossal beauty retailer,
Sephora, carries the most
sought-after high-end cosmetics brands. Shelves are filled
with a multitude of hues, that
almost appear seamless from
one brand to the next. The retailer serves as a wonderland
to beauty gurus and novices
alike.
We are living in the dawn
of the selfie-ready era. How-to
videos on YouTube have given
the modern shopper the confidence necessary to splurge
on beauty items that did not
exist ever before in the U.S.
But, shopping responsibly
for brands that do not test
their cosmetics on animals
is a challenge that seems to
have not grown or changed
as much as other areas in the
beauty industry.
NARS, once a cruelty-free
line of cosmetics, made the
decision in 2017 to begin selling their products in China,
where animal testing is required for certain products.
NARS fills shelves in Sephora, cosmetics brands that are
deemed cruelty-free sit right
beside brands that are not.
There is almost nothing that
allows consumers to easily
distinguish between a line of
cosmetics that tests on animals and a line that does not.
The lucrative Chinese market has enabled companies
to step backwards from their
cruelty-free status. This is likely due to the fact that the market was assessed to be worth
$29 billion in 2016, according
to Euromonitor.
By law, China requires animal testing on all cosmetics sold within its country. It
seems the only way around
this law is by selling products
online only in China, and
shipping them there from another country.
“As a vegan brand, we are
really not cool with animals
getting sprayed in the face,”
said Phoebe Song to CNBC reporters, who owns Snow Fox
Skincare. “It sucks, because
China is a huge market … it’s
a lot of money.”
But, of course a lot of larger
companies will set ethical and
moral reservations aside in order to access China’s massive
market.
“People are becoming more
aware that what they put on
their skin seeps into their skin.
There’s definitely been a rise
in demand for natural products,” said Eleanor Dwyer to
Washington Post reporters,
a research associate at Euromonitor studying the beauty
industry.
Even standing in Sephora,
spinning countless tubes of lip
gloss, eye-liner, and mascara
between your fingers looking
for a cruelty-free indication is
not an effective way of determining whether or not a certain cosmetics brand tests on
animals. Kat Von D has been
a long-time avid supporter of
veganism, and her line of cosmetics reflects that as well. Kat
Von D cosmetics are on People
for the Ethical Treatment of
Animals (PETA)’s list of cruelty-free brands, and they are
not sold in China. However,
the popular Kat Von D “tattoo liner” has no cruelty-free
indication on the packaging
whatsoever.
PETA’s list of companies
that do and do not employ
animal testing can be an easy
way to verify ethical and informed shopping decisions.
However, marketing and deceptive language that certain
companies use is able to effectively trick their own consumers into thinking the company
is cruelty-free.
Michelle Larner, a makeup
artist in New York, revealed
to the New York Times that
products claiming to be “all
natural” bring about reasonable confusion to consumers.
“I saw a few brands that fall
into the ‘natural’ range that I
just assumed would be cruelty-free,” she said to New York
Times reporters. “Everything I
use, from mascara, toothpaste,
deodorant and feminine products were on the list. Even my
laundry cleaning products are
on this ‘yes’ list.”
California legislators have
officially banned the sale
of animal-tested cosmetics,
which will effectively take
the guess-work out of shopping. When the law goes into
effect on Jan. 1, 2020, it will
be “unlawful for a manufacturer to import for profit, sell,
or offer for sale” animal-tested cosmetics. Violations are
punishable by an initial fine
of $5,000, and an additional
$1,000 fine each day the offense continues.
It is the obligation of the
manufacturer to ensure that
their products are safe before marketing, according to
the FDA. The manufacturer
is able to use the testing they
deem “appropriate and effective” for establishing safety.
The absolutely archaic
methods that manufacturers
employ during animal testing
includes exposing animals to
radiation, injecting or force
feeding animals substances
that may be harmful, surgically removing animals’ organs
in order to deliberately cause
damage, etc.
Certainly there is a lot of
energy being put into manufacturing a safe cosmetics
product. However, adverse
reactions may occur nonetheless. This is due to the fact
that chemicals can produce
different responses from one
species to the next.
Beauty tutorials are constantly flooding Pinterest and
YouTube every day. When
beauty gurus recommend
their favorite products, consumers retreat to their nearest
Sephora, or other cosmetics
retailers.
Products have hit shelves
that were once considered too
niche for U.S. consumers. BB
creams and CC creams have
long been used in South Korea, but only recently made
their debut in the U.S., according to a Washington Post
report.
While cosmetics companies are turning higher profits, and selling more products
than ever before, it is time that
they consider a more ethical,
responsible approach to their
own products.
“It takes five minutes to go
through [PETA’s] list,” said
Kristin Bauer, actress and animal-free spokeswoman, to
New York Times reporters.
“Sometimes the non-tested
are more organic and natural. Sometimes they’re even cheaper.”

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