A note from the MSPCA
Did you know that you can buy personal care and household products that are cruelty free and local? It’s true – the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics’ (CCIC) Leaping Bunny program has certified companies across Massachusetts that do not test their products on animals or contain animal ingredients. You can shop locally and support humane business practices by choosing these products over others that do not meet cruelty-free standards.
You may have seen all sorts of cute bunny logos and phrases like “cruelty free” or “no animal testing”, but those statements are not defined by law, so the manufacturers can use any language they want on their labels and it does not mean the same thing from one company to another. The Leaping Bunny Program maintains a single comprehensive standard for cruelty-free labeling, making it easier for consumers to shop for products that are manufactured without the use of animal testing or animal ingredients.
If you love animals and are concerned for their welfare, you can extend your compassion to benefit laboratory animals – especially those used for product safety testing. Decades ago, animal activists successfully pressured many cosmetics companies to reduce or eliminate animal use in the testing of their products. While there is still much progress to be made and truly reliable figures are not available, it is estimated that the number of animals used to test the safety of personal care products in the United States is probably fewer than 5% of all animals used in U.S. laboratories. This represents nearly a 90% reduction since 1980, when a public outcry arose over animal use in product safety testing.
During a product test, a group of animals is exposed to a test substance in various ways: by application to an eye or a patch of shaved skin, in their food or drinking water, by inhalation, or by addition to the water in which they live. Another group of the same species, the control, is left unexposed to the test substance. The condition of the exposed animals is then compared with this control group. Some of these tests are quite barbaric; there are much better ways to test products for human safety, especially since tests on other animals do not necessarily ensure safety for humans. Ironically, consumer interest in “green” products has increased the amount of animal testing as manufacturers attempt to develop new, less environmentally harmful products.
Many ingredients have already been proven safe through years of animal tests and human use, companies are now more apt to share test results, and a wide array of non-animal skin and eye irritation tests have been developed to determine the effects of short-term exposure to new ingredients. All of these things fostered positive change for laboratory animals and our consumer choices can ensure that animals do not have to suffer needlessly for another type of toothpaste or a better oven cleaner.
To learn more about Leaping Bunny, download a shopping guide, and see a list of local companies that are certified, visit: www.mspca.org/leapingbunny. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to have a shopping guide mailed to you or to volunteer to distribute the guides in your neighborhood.