San Dieguito Academy

Stop. Read the shampoo bottle.

Driving down Santa Fe after sundown several years ago, my mom and I were stopped by man standing on the median waving his arms. We braked and asked what happened. He told us, in a panicked voice, that a litter of kittens had been abandoned there, in the median, and that he had been trying to keep them from innocently wandering into the streets. We decided to pulled over to help.

Sure enough, there was a litter of six kittens, no bigger than my hand, cowering in the bushes, huddled together, their eyes fearfully darting from one direction to another.

I tried to fathom how someone could do something that despicable to innocent little beings. But, I quickly realized that while it’s easy to be appalled and disgusted by these acts of neglect and abuse, we often indirectly — and unknowingly — condone violence towards animals on a daily basis. One of the most prevalent ways is by purchasing cosmetics that are tested on animals.

It is estimated that 100,000 to 200,000 animals suffer from cosmetic testing annually, according to Humane Society International. This excludes other forms of animal testing, such as for medical research.

The same organization described the abuse these animals endure daily.  

Chemicals are rubbed onto rabbits’ skin and dropped into their eyes to test for various irritations that could also bother humans (keep in mind those doing the testing are probably wearing safety glasses to avoid getting that same chemical in their eyes).

Even more despicable is that animals are constantly force fed higher and higher concentrations of chemicals until they die. This enables companies to determine the highest dose of different chemicals they can use in their product without severely harming humans.

If someone was asked to turn over their pets to an animal testing laboratory, they would immediately refuse to let something so awful and obscene happen to their little companion. So, why would these same animal-loving people support businesses that harm little beings akin to those they love at home?

Not only is it completely unethical to toy around with the lives of little beings we deem to be inferior, but it is also completely unnecessary.

According to Humane Society International, there have been over 40 validated tests that can be used in place of animal testing that determine the safety of chemicals inserted in cosmetics; none of these methods involve torturing/killing an innocent being.

Also, at this point, though unfortunately at the expense of animals’ lives, most chemicals found in cosmetics were tested years ago. So, companies should be able to easily limit their products to include these chemicals that have been approved numerous times. Limiting animal testing in this way would also save cosmetic companies the expenses involved with frequent lab testing.

Several, though not enough, companies refuse to test on animals. These companies often place a small logo promising their product is “cruelty-free,” which in many ways, makes them more marketable and appealing to consumers. Even if you didn’t know about animal testing — or even if you didn’t care about animal welfare — wouldn’t you rather buy a shampoo whose label says “cruelty free”?

Eliminating animal testing is a critical next step. But in order for it to happen, cosmetic companies need to be held more accountable for their unethical practices. That can only happen if we boycott products that are tested on animals. There is no lack of choice in our stores, so pick one of several brands that employ ethical practices. Those two extra seconds perusing an aisle might just save a little bunny’s life.