Monday, July 14, 2008

Animal testing and hair care

I want to purchase products that are not tested on animals, whenever possible. I could make a blanket statement and say all animal testing should be abolished, but there are times in which it is necessary and required by law. I'd like them to at least treat the animals as humanely as possible, using as few animals as possible when ever it is necessary. For somethings though there is absolutely no reason at all for the testing and the testing is overly cruel.

One product that has no need at all for testing on animals, provided it isn't for that animal specifically, is shampoo. There are hundreds of chemicals already deemed safe for humans. There is no law requiring the testing of hair care products on animals. There are many alternatives to animal testing like taking skin and eye cell cultures and seeing how it reacts with that and to test it on hair that is no longer on the person (i.e. hair that was cut off).

Most shampoo's nowadays are not tested on animals. Thing is for me it is not enough that the shampoo itself is not tested on animals, I do not want to support a business that has practices and ethics I do not agree with. Sometimes though it is hard to tell if the product is from a company that does animal testing. The bottle may say that they do not test it on animals but not everything printed on labels is the truth, companies do lie. Herbal Essence for example says on their bottles that there was no animal testing. Herbal Essence is owned by Proctor and Gamble which does do animal testing, therefore the chemicals used to make Herbal Essence may have been tested on animals, though the final product is not (butylparaben – was tested and declared safe many years ago. However, Herbal Essences force-fed butylparaben to pregnant rats to see if it harmed their developing offspring in a test that killed 100 pregnant mothers and their 1,200 baby animals.).

There are other things as well that make it difficult to tell if a company tests on animals. For starters, what company actually made the item? Usually the items do say the company that made the item, problem is that the listed company is really owned by another bigger company. So if you look for the practices of that company may not find anything but were you to look at it's parent company you'd see a lot of practices you do not agree with. The next thing is what is the source of your information? The company may release a press release saying one thing but doing another. If you check a website it maybe fraudulent (creator dislikes the company for a different reason), out of date (the company may have changed it's practices), or just misinformed. The source of information has to be reliable, up to date, and reputable.

By the way the hair care product I use most is VO5, mainly because it very cheap. I'm pretty sure they do not use animal testing. The company that owns it is Alberto-Culver and in 2002 they released a press release stating they will put an internal company ban, in place for 10 years, that prohibits all animal testing. I am in part believing them to do as they say and I did not see them listed on the most current sites I believe to be reputable.

Site in which to check if a company does animal testing: Caring Consumer
Second site to check if a company does animal testing: Global Action Network
United Kingdom anti-Herbal Essence website: Hurtful Essence

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