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 Blinding Rabbits for Beauty

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elegantminerals



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Join date : 2008-06-30

PostSubject: Blinding Rabbits for Beauty   Mon Jun 30, 2008 8:41 am

Blinding Rabbits for Beauty
by Kathy Guillermo

When Reese Witherspoon's character in Legally Blonde 2 takes on the cosmetics-testing industry, everyone in the audience roots for her success against the cruel animal experimenters. In real life, too, most people agree that smearing hair color into a rabbit's eye and pumping shampoo into a guinea pig’s stomach is idiotic. The European Union recently made its distaste for the practice public policy by voting to phase out all consumer product testing on animals.

In the U.S., most people believe that this is a battle we won years ago. They are wrong, and their mistaken belief that no one kills animals in order to produce a new cosmetic or toiletry item means that they have stopped using their consumer dollars to protest this most despicable animal abuse. If we are to achieve the goal of the EU (and Witherspoon’s character)—an end to the use of animals in product testing—this must change.

I understand where this myth of total success came from. I led People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ campaign against product testing on animals from 1989 to 1993. They were heady years, when the giants of the cosmetics industry fell like great oaks, one by one, crashing down amid undercover investigations documenting horrendous suffering in the testing laboratories. Videotape footage of a kitten convulsing after being doused with a chemical, a rabbit whose tender skin had been eaten away by a corrosive substance, rats in death throes after huge amounts of soaps were pumped into their stomachs, a beagle cowering alone in her box-like cage. These images blackened the eye of the consumer-product industry and sparked massive change.

First Benetton cosmetics, after weighing the benefits and drawbacks of its animal tests, came to PETA and announced a permanent ban on all use of animals. Then came Avon, Revlon, and Estée Lauder, in rapid-fire succession. When I began my job, PETA listed fewer than 50 companies that refused to test on animals, most of them small, mail-order manufacturers that were the ethical leaders of the industry.

Within three years, that list had grown to several hundred companies. For the first time since the animal tests were developed in the 1920s, ’30s, and ’40s, consumers could go into any department, grocery, or drugstore and buy mainstream brands from companies that did not harm and kill animals.

On the scientific side, many non-animal tests were developed. Instead of measuring how long it took a chemical to burn away the cornea of a rabbit’s eye, manufacturers could now drop that chemical onto donated human corneas. Human skin cultures could be grown and ordered for irritancy testing. These and dozens more tests now in use today are cheaper, faster, and more accurate at predicting human reactions to a product than the old animal tests ever were.

Despite these amazing successes, which translate into less suffering and death for animals, there are holdouts in the consumer-product industry. They are huge multiproduct manufacturers, including Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, and others, driven by fear of lawsuits (though animal tests have not proved effective in a company’s defense when a consumer sues) and, inexplicably, inertia. Their reluctance to change in the face of consumer demand and superior non-animal test methods is difficult to understand, but one company CEO once told me that companies that continue to blind and poison animals do so simply because they have always done so and don’t have the vision to try a new and better way. “And,” he added, “they don’t want to prove PETA right.”

Who would want to buy and use the products of a company whose executives are more interested in “winning” against a consumer campaign than in sparing animals miserable, caged lives and agonizing deaths?

The European Union recently voted to phase out all product testing on animals, but the U.S. government is not following its example. The best way to stop companies from using animals is to refuse to purchase their products and to write and tell them why you won’t be applying their eye shadow, cleaning your clothes with their detergent, or washing your child’s hair with their shampoo. Now, as in 1989, the power is in the hands of the consumers.



source: www.caringconsumer.com



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