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Animal Testing of Beauty Products Now Banned in These Three States

While most of us were busy ringing in the New Year at midnight on January 1, three states were quietly making national and international headlines, ushering in a new – and more compassionate – chapter of U.S. history. At that moment, California, Nevada and Illinois became the first three states in the country to ban the sale of new cosmetic products tested on animals, a move that sets a clear path for others to follow.

While these are just the first states of the U.S. to initiate such a ban, more than 30 countries worldwide prohibit the sale of new cosmetics and personal care products that have used animal testing. So far, the U.S. has lagged behind in implementing a national ban on animal testing for the cosmetics industry, but these three states are a clear indication that such a law could be on the horizon.

The move to cruelty-free

The cosmetics industry is huge, with worldwide sales valued at more than $530 billion – and that number is expected to just keep growing larger. The problem is, a lot of those products are tested on live, caged animals, resulting in pain and suffering that lasts for the remainder of the animals’ brief lives.

In animal testing, caustic, chemical-laden products are dripped into rabbits’ eyes or spread on shaved skin, where they cause painful sores and lesions. While manufacturers are legally obligated to ensure their products are safe for human use, there are no requirements mandating testing on live animals. The type of testing that’s used is by and large left to the discretion of the cosmetic manufacturers. For years, rabbits, guinea pigs and other animals have provided a cheap and convenient testing model for manufacturers and independent labs. By passing these new laws, the U.S. joins the international community in recognizing and eliminating cruel lab-testing practices, replacing them with humane options that are just as accurate and effective – and that do not rely on live animals.

The Humane Society of the United States issued a statement hailing the new legislation, pointing to an alternative testing method as a way to promote innovation moving forward. “With thousands of ingredients having a history of safe use and an increasing number of non-animal test methods available to provide data more relevant to humans, often in less time and at a lower cost, companies can still create new and innovative cosmetics without any additional animal testing,” said Kitty Block, president and CEO of the society.

In vitro testing: Good for animals, good for humans

In vitro testing uses tissue samples or other methods to perform complex tests that can yield the same or better results in terms of accuracy and efficacy, without significant (or any) cost increases. Today, there are many different types of in vitro testing available, enabling manufacturers and independent labs to perform the same types of services for maximum confidence in the products they produce. Many in vitro tests use human tissue samples or other methods, providing far greater accuracy than most animal models, where results may not be easily “translated” from, say, a rabbit to actual human use.

Introduced by state Senator Linda Holmes, the new Illinois law prohibits cosmetics manufacturers from selling any new products in the state that have been tested on animals, and levies fines starting at $5,000. The law applies to any new products manufactured after January 1, the date the law officially went into effect.

In a statement issued following the law’s passage last year, Sen. Holmes noted that consumers are demanding products produced in a cruelty-free environment, adding that many large manufacturers are changing their practices to accommodate that trend.

“There are alternative testing methods that are good for business, safe for consumers and certainly move us forward to a humane approach by eliminating the cruel practices of the past,” she noted.

At InVitro International, we’re committed to helping companies implement cruelty-free testing practices with Irritection® and Corrositex®, two in vitro testing methods that don’t rely on live animal models. In addition, we can help manufacturers of all sizes improve their testing practices without increasing in-house lab tests with our own state-of-the-art testing services, performed using our patented methods. To learn more about the products and services we offer, or to find out how we can help your company implement in vitro testing, contact us at 800-246-8487 or use our online form to get in touch today.

What is the Humane Cosmetics Act and Why is it Important?

 

Illinois and Nevada made headlines early this year when, on January 1, they joined California as the only states to ban the sale of cosmetic products that have been tested on live animal subjects. While more than 30 countries have banned animal testing worldwide, the U.S. has been slow to take up the call, opting instead to allow individual states to handle the legislation. That may change, though, thanks to the Humane Cosmetics Act, which was introduced in Congress this past November. The act has gained support from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, with Democrats and Republicans recognizing both its timeliness and its importance to the cosmetics industry, consumers and the animals used in testing. Companion legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate, also with support from both parties.

What the Act entails

The Humane Cosmetics Act seeks to end animal safety testing of cosmetics products in the U.S. as well as the sale of cosmetics that have been tested on animals. If passed, the testing portion of the law would go into effect one year after enactment, with the sales portion becoming effective three years after becoming law. The delay allows manufacturers and testing facilities time to alter their testing methods and, for cosmetics manufacturers, time to deplete their existing stock on store shelves and in warehouses.

Why it’s important

As a world economic leader, the U.S. has lagged behind its international counterparts in recognizing the cruel and inhumane practices used in animal testing in the cosmetics industry. In introducing the legislation this past November, Congressman Tony Cárdenas hailed the bill and called the practice of animal testing “inhumane and unacceptable.”

“The cruel and inhumane practice of testing cosmetics on animals is unacceptable,” Cárdenas said. “These tests are unnecessary, especially when there are non-animal, cost-efficient research methods that we can adopt. I’m proud to join my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in introducing this bipartisan bill to protect animals from abuse.”

Congressman Vern Buchanan, co-chair of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus, agreed. “Scientific advancements have created viable alternatives to these cruel experiments, while still ensuring that cosmetic products are safe for human use,” he noted. “As countries around the world work to prohibit animal testing in cosmetics, it’s time for the United States to get on board.”

Although the Act has strong bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate, it still has a way to go before it’s enacted into a law. Until then, the bill’s sponsors remain very vocal about the need for the ban and in their support of safe, effective alternatives to animal testing.

“Thousands of animals suffer as a result of cosmetic animal testing each and every year in the United States,” noted Congressman Paul Tonko. “Numerous state, national, and world-wide movements are proving that animal testing is not only unnecessary, it is not even the safest or most viable option available. Our Humane Cosmetics Act establishes a national ban on animal testing for cosmetics, as well as supporting the development and implementation of testing alternatives that help ensure the U.S. cosmetics market continues to thrive. This legislation will restore America’s position as a world leader in cruelty-free safety methods that promote the well-being of everyone, humans and animals, alike.”

Alternatives to animal testing

The FDA does require cosmetics products to be tested and deemed safe for human use through enforcement of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act), but there is no FDA or other federal provision requiring animal testing. Instead, the act advises manufacturers to use testing methods that are “appropriate and effective” for making sure their products are safe. In fact, on its website, the FDA states, “We also believe that prior to use of animals, consideration should be given to the use of scientifically valid alternative methods to whole-animal testing.”

InVitro International is a leader in alternative testing products and services, with options for both ocular testing and skin corrosivity testing, the two most common types of tests performed in the cosmetics industry. In addition, InVitro International provides in-house lab testing to help manufacturers and cosmetic companies incorporate cruelty-free testing without investing in a lab of their own. To learn more about InVitro International’s products and services, use our online form or call us at 800-246-8487 to get in touch today.

Animal Testing in 2019: Where Are We?

Thanks to advocacy groups and consumer concerns, companies across all industries have made efforts to decrease their use of animal testing. However, millions of animals around the world are still suffering every year. The statistics below paint a picture of the status of animal testing in 2019, which indicates that we still have a long way to go.

Animal Testing in the United States

•According to, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), approximately 100 million mice and rats are being held in captivity in laboratories across the United States for testing purposes.
•PETA also reports that approximately 1 million larger animals, such as dogs and cats, are being held for experimentation.
•Many animal tests are used to collect data for the purposes of developing cosmetic products, medications and other commodities for humans. However, data collected from animal research is often useless for this purpose and does not provide the needed insight.
•Nearly 50 percent of NIH-funded research involves experimentation on animals.
•When surveyed, more than half of adults in the United States say they oppose the use of animals in tests. Nonetheless, testing on animals continues.
•In the United States, approximately 99 percent of animal experiments are carried out using mice, rats, amphibians, reptiles and birds. However, these small animals are exempted from all of the protections provided by the Animal Welfare Act, leaving them vulnerable to abuse of all kinds.
Animal Testing Around the Globe

•Cruelty Free International reports that more than 115 million animals are used for animal testing around the world on an annual basis. These animals experience pain and suffering when subjected to these tests. In most cases, animals are euthanized during or after the experiment.
•In the field of cosmetics testing alone, Humane Society International reports that 500,000 animals suffer and die every year.
•Even when valid, acceptable non-animal testing alternatives are available, many companies are still choosing to use animals instead.
•Many of the cosmetic tests conducted on animals are antiquated and have not been updated in decades. In fact, Humane Society International reports that some of these tests were originally developed as long ago as the 1920s.
•Consumers and non-profit organizations alike are actively working to ban animal testing around the globe.
In light of these statistics, it’s clear that animal testing is not disappearing any time soon. However, because of new innovations in the field of non-animal testing, alternatives to animal experiments are now available in many cases. In addition, more than 1,000 companies worldwide have already been certified as “cruelty-free.”

InVitro International is proud to offer multiple testing kits and laboratory services companies can use to replace animal tests. Please contact us to learn more about our products and services.

Benefits of Working with InVitro International

InVitro International offers superior non-animal testing services that come with a variety of advantages.
Some of the most notable benefits of working with us include:

1. Protection for animals.
Countless studies and anecdotal reports confirm that animal testing is detrimental to the welfare of animals. Not only are they kept in captivity and ultimately killed to carry out these tests, but they also suffer from pain and discomfort during their time in the laboratory. With our reliable and accurate testing methods, animals will no longer suffer and/or be destroyed for the sake of product tests.

2. Decades of experience.
InVitro International was founded in 1985 and has more than three decades of experience in the development and implementation of non-animal testing methods. In fact, we’ve been in continuous operation longer than any other in vitro testing technology company worldwide.
Because of our experience in the industry and our consistent efforts to produce the best non-animal testing methods on the market, we are able to provide superior products that meet our clients’ needs in every way.

3. Production of useful data.
Non-animal tests don’t provide any benefit to your company if you cannot use the results they produce. Our staff works to develop testing kits and laboratory services that produce data, in which, your company can use to accomplish its specific goals. Our testing methods are designed specifically to create data that will be accepted by regulatory agencies all around the world. For example, our corrosion testing assay is accepted by virtually all agencies, including GHS/OECD.

4. Better correlation with human test results.
Animal tests are typically used to approximate results for humans. However, because of the clear differences between the makeup of testing animals and humans, results don’t always translate well. Our testing methods are designed to provide a better correlation with human test results, which means your company will have a good idea of how your products will affect your actual customers. This allows you to make changes as needed so your customers can make informed decisions.

5. Cost-effectiveness and flexibility.
We offer cost-effective testing options. Our tests can be used for a variety of purposes, such as: skin toxicity, skin irritation, and eye irritation. Because we offer so many options, your company is able to get the specific data it needs to bring safe, effective products to market quickly.

6. A better reputation.
These are just a few of the benefits you can expect when you choose to work with InVitro International. Improve your reputation and boost customer loyalty by working with us! Please contact us today to learn more.

The State of the Cosmetic Industry in China

Animal testing for cosmetics is controversial all over the world, specifically, in the People’s Republic of China. That is all about to change.

Many U.S. and European cosmetic brands are seeing the market potential in China. Retail sales of these foreign beauty products have been on the rise for many years:

• In 2013 — 162.5 billion RMB or 23.14 billion USD
• In 2014 — 182.5 billion RMB or 25.98 billion USD
• In 2015 — 204.9 billion RMB or 29.18 billion USD
• In 2016 — 222.2 billion RMB or 31.64 billion USD
• In 2017 — 251.4 billion RMB or 35.80 billion USD
• In 2018 — 261.9 billion RMB or 37.30 billion USD

The only thing holding foreign brands back is China’s requirement that all cosmetics go through animal testing.

The Battle With PETA

In 2012, PETA announced that some cosmetic companies were paying the Chinese government to do animal testing on their products to allow their products in the country. These companies were previously cruelty-free but gave in to the pressure for animal testing to sell their cosmetic products in the Republic of China.

PETA contacted experts in the field of non-animal testing methods and gave them a financial grant to work with China to change their regulations. After years of lobbying, mainstream cosmetic brands and animal rights groups, like PETA, convinced the government to approve nine cruelty-free animal testing methods for cosmetic imports.

The IIVS Announcement

IIVS is a non-profit that is a leading provider of in vitro testing for toxicological safety evaluations. On April 3, 2019, the Institute for In Vitro Sciences (IIVS) in Gaithersburg, Maryland, sent out an announcement applauding the China National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) for accepting a new way for cosmetics testing.

New regulations will accept nine different testing methods, including:

• Direct Peptide Reaction Assay (DPRA) for Skin Sensitization (OECD TG 442C) – an in chemico assay that models skin sensitization adverse outcome pathway (AOP)
• Short Time Exposure Assay (STE) for eye irritation (OECD TG 491) – a short time exposure assay to assess acute eye irritation as an alternative to the in vitro Draize test that utilizes a rabbit’s cornea
The country’s goal is to modernize its regulatory oversight of cosmetic imports. To make that happen, regulatory bodies within China have been studying new techniques and gaining confidence in them.

In 2017, IIVS partnered with the NMPA and other regulatory agencies in China to understand and build the necessary in-country infrastructure for cruelty-free cosmetic testing. To date, IIVS has trained more than a hundred scientists in the various non-animal testing methods. The first officially approved method was the NRU 3T3 Phototoxicity assay. More recently, approvals are available for DPRA and STE.

China’s National Institutes for Food and Drug Control (NIFDC) has now established an Alternatives Working Group that includes IIVS.

When Changes Take Effect

The changes to the laws in China are set to take effect on January 1, 2020. Until that time, testing remains a requirement.

The regulatory changes in the People’s Republic of China open up the market to brands out of Europe and the United States, giving residents a chance to use some new beauty products. The real winners are the animals. They will no longer endure the cruelty of cosmetic testing.

The Leaping Bunny Logo: What it Means and Why it Matters

The Leaping Bunny Logo indicates that a company has met the comprehensive cruelty-free standards promoted by the Coalition of Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC). A partnership comprised of eight animal protection groups from across the United States and Canada. The CCIC was formed in 1996 to help consumers differentiate between companies that were truly committed to being cruelty-free and those who were not. This standard ensures that consumers can easily find products that are animal-friendly and trustworthy.

Obtaining the Leaping Bunny Logo
The Leaping Bunny Program is considered to be the gold standard for cruelty-free products such as personal care items, household cleaners, cosmetics and more. This voluntary program requires companies that display the Leaping Bunny Logo meet rigorous requirements. In addition, all brands must provide detailed information about their practices, policies, and procedures that the average consumer wouldn’t likely be able to gain access to.

In order to be certified, companies must agree to stop testing their finished products, as well as all ingredients, on animals. That’s not all. Companies must be agreeable to having audits performed by independent agencies and be willing to renew their status with the Leaping Bunny Program on an annual basis.

In addition to being completely voluntary, the Leaping Bunny Program is also free for brands who want to become certified. Starting the process begins with completing the certification application and providing the requested information regarding their manufacturer and/or supplier chain. There are separate declarations that must be completed by their manufacturers and/or suppliers. Once this information is complete and provided to the CCIC, the approval time can be as short as one week.

Displaying the Leaping Bunny Logo
As noted above, becoming certified by the Leaping Bunny Program is a free process. In addition to being able to note that they have met the requirements for having animal-friendly products, a company is also listed in the shopping guide maintained by the Leaping Bunny Program — both print and online versions — free of charge.

In order to be able to use and license the Leaping Bunny logo, there are two fees involved: a one-time fee and an application fee. The licensing fee can range from $500 to $4,500 and is based on the gross annual sales of the company. Once the company has obtained permission to use the Leaping Bunny Logo, it can display it on their packaging, website, marketing materials and more.

Why the Leaping Bunny Logo Matters
Even though the Leaping Bunny Program is spearheaded by the CCIC which is a coalition of animal-centric organizations in the United States and Canada, the Leaping Bunny logo is also recognized throughout the European Union. With consumers becoming increasingly more aware of the plight of animals being used in testing, they are demanding more animal-friendly products.

Many people might be surprised to learn that 80 percent of the world still condones animal testing for cosmetics. By obtaining the Leaping Bunny logo and meeting the requirements of the Leaping Bunny Program, a company can set itself apart from its competition in an increasingly crowded industry. Whether a business is a startup that wants to become known as an industry leader in the animal-friendly space or it’s ready to do the right thing and say no to animal testing, the Leaping Bunny program and its logo are the gold standards to obtain.

InVitro International is a pioneering company in the application and development of alternatives to testing on animals. We pride ourselves on providing companies with the solutions, tools, and resources they need to become animal-friendly.

Which 2020 Candidates are Against Animal Testing?

More and more people are demanding cruelty-free cosmetics as a safe, ethical alternative to products traditionally tested on animals. We still have a long way to go before animal testing is eradicated here in the United States. But in the upcoming election, voters at the polls will have a chance to do something about it!

In the 2020 primaries, there will be several candidates to choose from who have taken a stance on animal testing of cosmetics. For a couple—like Cory Booker and Julian Castro—this issue has become a part of their campaign platform.

Several other candidates have also cosponsored the Humane Cosmetics Act (H.R. 2790). This bill was introduced to the House in June 2017. If passed, this bill would represent a massive change to animal testing protocols.

So which candidates have supported bills like H.R. 2790 or made a ban on animal testing part of their platform? Here is an overview to help you make an informed decision at the polls.

Senator Cory Booker
New Jersey Senator, Cory Booker, is one with a great animal rights track record. Where cosmetic testing is concerned, he championed reforms to the Toxic Substances Control Act in 2016. In addition to this, Booker has made a full ban on animal testing part of his presidential platform.

Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro
A former member of President Obama’s Cabinet, Julian Castro, is another presidential candidate with strong proposals for animal rights reform. In fact, Castro has released a plan called Protecting Animals and Wildlife, or PAW, which covers a broad selection of animal rights issues.

Castro also supports the Humane Cosmetics Act. His campaign has gone on record saying that if this act passes Congress, Castro would sign it into law.

Representative Tulsi Gabbard
Hawaiian House Representative, Tulsi Gabbard, hasn’t made a ban on cosmetics testing an official part of her presidential platform. However, she is one of the cosponsors of the Humane Cosmetics Act, which gives her a track record of backing legislation against this practice.

Former Representative Beto O’Rourke
As a House Representative for Texas, Beto O’Rourke has a strong track record of backing pro-animal rights bills. Though his campaign has yet to make an official statement on animal testing, like Gabbard, he also cosponsored the Humane Cosmetics Act.

Representative Tim Ryan
Ohio Representative, Tim Ryan, has sponsored several animal rights bills, including bills against horse soring and slaughter, pro-wildlife bills and more. The Humane Cosmetics Act features prominently on the list of animal rights bills that he’s supported.

Senator Bernie Sanders
Vermont’s Senator, Bernie Sanders, has consistently championed animal rights throughout his legislative career. During the 111th and 112th congressional sessions, he led the fight against the use of primates in research. This includes not only invasive procedures but protocols that involve exposure to substances, pain, fear, trauma or social isolation.

Worldwide estimates place the number of animals involved in cosmetics testing between 100,000 and 200,000. Modern technology provides labs and manufacturers better, more ethical ways to test these products, which makes this issue an important one when it comes to elections. Stay tuned for the 2020 primary election in February. Hopefully, more candidates will use this time to announce animal protection plans or build extra provisions into existing plans.

Cruelty-Free Celebs: Who Joined the Cause?

Cruelty-free living is the new normal among some favorite A-listers. Celebrities from all over the world are stepping up to raise awareness about animal testing. The Humane Society International estimates anywhere from 100 to 200 thousand animals suffer each year at the hands of cosmetic companies.

Celebrities are standing up for animals that can’t do it for themselves, but who are these famous heroes?

Cruelty Free International Celebrities
Cruelty Free International is one of the leading organizations working to end animal testing globally. Headquartered in the U.K., they partner with many celebrities in their fight to stop all animal cruelty.

Violinist and Olympic skier Vanessa-Mae – Vanessa-Mae is the latest to serve as an ambassador for Cruelty-Free International. Other stars throwing their names and status into the cause include:

• Actor Peter Dinklage – The Game of Thrones award-winning star stopped eating meat at the age of 16. Dinklage supports Fame Sanctuary and currently serves as a spokesperson for their Walk for Farm Animals campaign.
• Norman Reedus – This Walking Dead Star has been urging Congress to ban animal testing for cosmetics in the U.S.
• Kunal Nayyar – Nayyar from The Big Bang Theory lends his name to their cause alongside his friend Mayim Bialik.
• Ricky Gervais – Known for his harsh brand of comedy, Ricky Gervais has a soft heart for furry friends. Gervais stars in a video for Cruelty Free International that calls for a worldwide ban on animal testing.

Stars Who Take It to the Next Level
Most stars who stand behind organizations like Cruelty Free International and PETA make life choices to support animal causes. Some, though, take it to the next level.

• Millie Bobby Brown – This innovative young actor from Stranger Things, launched two cruelty-free fashion lines. Her Florence by Mills makeup sells only in the U.K. and is PETA-certified.
• Mayim Bialik – A vegan and avid supporter of Cruelty Free International, Mayim founded Shamayim V’Aretz Institute, a Jewish organization that works for the ethical treatment of animals. The Shamayim V’Aretz Institute leads campaigns to end animal testing and also works with mainstream universities like Yale to educated leaders and advocates on the subject.
• Ellen DeGeneres – Ellen talks openly on her show about animal cruelty topics. Her “Ellen’s Pet Initiative” worked to spotlight shelter animals in need of homes — animals that might otherwise end up as test subjects. She also works with The Gentle Bard to rehabilitate neglected bovines.
• Alica Silverstone – Silverstone began a movement called The Kind Life that focuses on animal abuses like testing.
• Leonardo DiCaprio – DiCaprio works as a global ambassador and contributor to the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

One of the biggest names in animal activism is Sir Paul McCartney who has been supporting animal causes for decades. He and his late wife, Linda Eastman, became activists back in the mid-70s.The couple stopped eating meat in 1975 and created the Linda McCartney Foods Company to offer alternatives. Today, Paul McCartney continues the fight in her name and is stepping up to raise awareness about the cruelty of animal testing.

Celebrities are working to promote the idea of a cruelty-free life by ending lab and cosmetic testing on animals. Using their names for this cause is a surefire way to make people think twice about their cosmetic choices.

The Trend Towards Cruelty-free Cosmetics – Beauty from the Inside Out

A growing number of today’s consumers want quality products that work well, are safe to use, have a long shelf life – and do not involve the use of animal products. This trend towards cruelty-free products started with the abandonment of furs in clothing and the demand for humane farming practices. Now an increasing number of consumers are demanding cruelty-free cosmetics. In fact, cruelty-free cosmetics are one of the fastest growing segments in the beauty industry.

Many consumers are taking a closer look at what goes into their cosmetics, which traditionally contain animal products. Moisturizers, creams and lotions often contain lanolin, for example, which wax-like substance from sheep’s wool. Crushed up cochineal insects give some types of lipstick their red color, while the hair, nails, horns and hooves of animals make up the keratin in shampoo.

Fortunately, consumer awareness of animal testing has grown substantially over the years. The increased awareness has inspired many consumers to turn their backs on unethical retailers and to stop buying brands that use animal byproducts as ingredients. This awareness and shift in purchasing patterns has prompted manufacturers to adopt cruelty-free practices and to seek out testing to certify that their products are cruelty-free.

What are Cruelty-Free Cosmetics?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not yet defined “cruelty-free,” but most in the industry use the term to describe cosmetics and ingredients that have not been tested on animals. This lack of definition can make it difficult for consumers to have confidence that the product is truly cruelty-free.

To ensure that the products they buy are indeed cruelty-free, many consumers are turning to vegan-friendly goods. “Vegan-friendly” means the products do not contain any kind of animal byproduct commonly used in cosmetics, such as lanolin, beeswax, milk, egg whites, honey, collagen or horsehair. By nature, many vegan brands are cruelty-free because they do not involve the use of animals in the manufacturing of the product.

The Demand for Cruelty-Free Cosmetics is Rising

To measure the trends towards cruelty-free cosmetics, many research firms combine cruelty-free and vegan cosmetics together. The business research and consulting firm, Grand View Research, says that the global vegan cosmetics market size was worth an estimated USD 12.9 billion in 2017. A rising aging population and growing consciousness to maintain a youthful appearance will likely drive the market size even higher in the next few years.

The cosmetics market is highly competitive, and the personal care products that perform the best are usually the most innovative and responsive to consumer preferences. In response to growing awareness of environmental and animal well-being, many companies now avoid using animal-derived raw materials.

The trend towards cruelty-free and vegan cosmetics is global. Marketing Week reports that vegan beauty products in the UK grew 38 percent in 2018, and that more than half of all Brits now adopt vegan-centric purchasing behaviors, such as checking to make sure that the toiletries they buy are cruelty-free.

While a growing number of older adults are buying cruelty-free cosmetics to help them remain young looking, millennials are also a primary driving force behind the move towards kinder products. About 12 percent of Millennials describe themselves as vegetarians or vegans, according to Forbes, which makes them a significant economic force in the cosmetics marketplace.

As the population grows, ages, and becomes more aware of the use of animals in the products they use, the trend towards cruelty-free products will likely continue. Many cosmetic makers around the world have begun to realize the environmental importance and economic benefits of making mineral- and plant-based products rather than manufacturing products infused with ingredients extracted from animals. Vegan products have several characteristics and properties, such as soothing skin and healing ailments, which animal products do not have.

A number of companies in the hair care cosmetics industry have made the switch towards mineral- and plant-based products, so cruelty-free shampoos and conditioners are easy to find. Vegan hair mousse, gels, sprays, and hair masks are a little more difficult to find, based on location and regional demographics. Some companies are investing heavily in exploration and research to come up with animal-free ingredients, such as babassu oil from Brazil and sandalwood extracts from Western Australia’s, vastly preferred by consumers around the world.

UK Animal Testing Numbers Plummet

Thanks to the development of new non-animal testing methods, as well as increased awareness of the drawbacks of animal testing, animal testing in the United Kingdom has reached its lowest level of the past 12 years. According to PharmaTimes, the number of experiments performed on animals in 2018 was down 7 percent from 2017. Nonetheless, the United Kingdom still has a long way to go before animal testing becomes a thing of the past.

Breaking Down the Numbers

The decrease in animal testing comes as good news for most interested parties, including the government of the United Kingdom and anyone who opposes animal cruelty. With millions of tests performed each year, a decrease of 7 percent is significant. In addition, seeing animal tests at the lowest level in a decade is encouraging.

Although the number of animals being subjected to tests in the UK has fallen considerably. In fact, PharmaTimes reports that there were approximately 3.52 million procedures performed on animals in Scotland, England and Wales during 2018. While some of these procedures were performed for academic research, others were performed to test specific products, such as cosmetics.

Why Are Animal Tests Still Common?

In spite of the recent decrease in animal testing, the UK still performs more tests on lab animals than most of the rest of Europe. For some people, this trend is perplexing. Researchers in the United Kingdom have access to other testing methods that could replace animal testing. In addition, these methods are just as affordable and more effective than animal tests.

Nonetheless, animal testing persists.

One of the reasons United Kingdom researchers continue to test on animals is simply habit. Animal tests have been used for so long that some labs are reluctant to explore other methods. Another reason often cited by proponents of animal testing has to do with concerns about accuracy. Researchers worry that the alternative to animal testing won’t provide as much information as an animal test. For example, cosmetic companies that want to know whether a product will irritate the eyes may prefer to use animals because they believe the results will translate more effectively to a human population.

Moving to Better Methods

In 2010, the United Kingdom’s government made a commitment to reduce the country’s usage of animals for the purpose of scientific research. Since then, progress has been made. Many cosmetic companies have embraced new methods and technologies that can provide the same or better results than animal tests without subjecting to harming animals. Unfortunately, some cosmetic companies remain skeptical of these methods and hesitant to adopt them.

In order to increase the adoption of alternatives to animal testing in the United Kingdom and other locations, education and innovation are key. Academic organizations and for-profit companies need to be aware of the alternatives available to them. It is also important to spread awareness of animal testing weaknesses. Specifically, animal models fail more often than they succeed, which leads to inaccurate results.

This is dangerous regardless of the situation, whether the researcher is investigating the safety of a new product or trying to understand the progress of a certain disease.

The United Kingdom has made progress with regard to the use of animal testing, but improvements can still be made. Fortunately, the field of non-animal testing is evolving with new technologies becoming available all the time. As more technologies are developed, it is likely that the adoption of non-animal testing methods will become more widespread, not only in the United Kingdom but all around the world.