If you believed everything you heard from animal rights activist groups, you might think that the cosmetic industry could easily stop testing on animals. They have suggested that there are dozens of alternatives to animal testing.
Well, the scientists in the cosmetic industry and readers of the Beauty Brains know that this hasn’t been true. The issue of animal testing of cosmetics is not so simple. In fact, until just recently there were no approved alternatives to animal testing. Instead, companies that wanted to claim “cruelty free” have relied on using formulas that are composed of compounds that had previously been tested on animals or farming the dirty work out to their raw material suppliers.
Animal Testing Alternative?
But there’s some good news on this front. The FDA, EPA, and CPSC have all given approval to two animal alternative testing methods for detecting eye damage. The two new methods include the bovine corneal opacity and permeability assay and the isolated chicken eye assay. These are the first approved animal alternatives that the cosmetic industry can use as proof that their products are safe.
This seems like great news because there is now a real alternative to sacrificing lab animals (like bunny rabbits) for testing whether cosmetics will cause irritation. On the other hand, the tests still involve using animal tissue. The difference is that the tissues are from animals that were previously slaughtered for things like steaks and chicken nuggets.
Beauty Brains bottom line
The incidence of animal testing in the cosmetic industry has been dramatically reduced in the last few decades and it looks to continue to get more rare. Thankfully, scientists are working on alternatives to make this a non-issue. Hopefully, that time comes soon.