By Bronte Chandler

Using animals for product testing has been banned in some of Australia’s neighbouring countries but it remains legal for companies to sell products here, whose testing caused the death of many animals. 

Rabbit that has had chemical testing to eyes and skin. Credit: PETA

One industry that tops the list of animal testing is the cosmetics industry, with many big name companies still testing products on animals.

Internationally the ban on cosmetic testing is at an all time high – with New Zealand, the European Union, India and Israel enacting banning laws.

However Australia is yet to introduce such laws and still allows animals to suffer chemical intake and poisoning just for the sake of a mascara.

These laws do not reflect many peoples ethical stance that animals should never be forced to suffer or die in cosmetic tests.

Recently the Labor Party proposed a bill to end animal testing for cosmetics and ban the importation of any cosmetics tested on animals, which is one step ahead of the Liberal Party which has not yet proposed any action on this issue.

High profile cosmetic brands such as MAC, L’Oreal, Estee Lauder and Johnson & Johnson practise cruelty to animals through testing of their products in China.

Some tests are standard practice for companies and brands and other animal tests are carried out because of local laws in importing countries. For example Chinese laws require that all beauty products are to be tested on animals before they are allowed to be sold in the country.

Animals are made to swallow massive amounts of chemicals to determine the dosage that causes death.

Some cosmetic companies claim that they do not support animal testing, yet remain on the cruelty list because they choose to sell their products in countries that require animal testing.

According to People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), approximately 200,000 animals (rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, rats and mice) are suffering each year from cosmetic testing.

Some of these cosmetic tests involve animals being shaved and having chemicals dripped onto their bare skin and into their eyes over a number of months to test for re-occurring irritation.

The ‘lethal dose’ test refers to animals that are made to swallow massive amounts of chemicals to determine the dosage that causes death.

Animals are often left swollen, blind, have internal bleeding or organ damage and birth defects as well as dying from the tests.

Companies have a choice to animal test or not – but some companies insist on developing ‘new’ formulas and ingredients that they insist need to be tested.

For many years animal testing was seen as acceptable, but in recent years the protection of animals from harm has become a priority.