When you buy beauty products, do you look if it is tested on animals, or do you just buy the one that is more advertised by famous celebrities? I know that sometimes it is hard to decide which company is better, but, despite of the rumours, there are some ways to find out.

As the Charity PETA (People For The Ethnical Treatment Of Animals) explains, some companies claim that they do not test on animals, but their ingredients are tested on animals. Pretty controversial, isn’t it. In these poisoning tests, chemical ingredients are injected into animals, dripped into their eyes, and rubbed into their skin. Some examples are Church & Dwight, L’Oréal, and Procter & Gamble Unilever. They are larger companies that tend to have a large range of products. Garnier, Lancôme, and Dove, are just some examples.

But how is it possible to have new chemicals? The cosmetic companies market their new products as ‘new and improved’. As PETA shows, by promoting new products: ‘These companies are taking a gamble on the fact that most consumers assume that cosmetics are no longer tested on animals, or are unable to see through their cleverly worded animal testing policies’, the charity claims.

Additionally, in 2012, several previously cruelty-free companies, like Yves Rocher and L’Occitane, returned to testing on animals to sell their products in China and Russia.

Through the years something has changed, but we are still far from cruelty-free testing. In the UK, since 1998, and in the whole of Europe, since 2009, it is forbidden to test cosmetics on animals, but it is not the same outside the European Union. In China, for example, such testing is a legal requirement. Moreover, some European companies claim to support the testing ban, but are selling products in another market that is testing on animals. Luckily there are some good brands to take into account: Lush, Body Shop, and Ecover, as well as some online brands. All of these companies do not test on animals, and they all have a real commitment to ensure that they are not conducting any kind of testing.

It is interesting to point out that, in April 2012, the Lush shop in Regent’s Street took action against this type of cruelty. The shop put a 24-year-old artist in the shop window, and she received all the treatments that are tested on animals. She received injections, had cosmetics sprayed into her eyes, they shaved her hair, and they force-fed her.

Understanding Animal Research conducted a survey in March 2013, and discovered that 63 per cent of British people are not aware that animal testing is illegal.

What most people do not know is that there are some alternatives. There are sophisticated products, such as artificial human skin and eyes that have the same natural properties as the real things. They are also cheaper, and more accurate.

So, what can we do to support the cruelty-free testing? The first thing to do is to check who is the manufacturer of a certain product. If it is written, ‘this product is not tested on animals’ on the label it does not mean its ingredients are not tested on animals, or that the company is not testing through other companies. One can also take part in different campaigns regarding cruelty-free products, such as ‘Buav’ or ‘Cruelty-free international’, for example.

It is time to make a change; thousands of animals suffer and are killed for cosmetic testing around the world every year. But for those who remain unmoved, would you like to receive the same treatment?

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