cruelty-free cosmetics animal testing
Image: Pro-Test Italia / CC BY 3.0

Confusion and terror filled the rabbit’s eyes as he was fastened into a metal body restraint that only allowed for slight head movement. He longed to scratch himself. He could feel his skin crack open as the new lotion product seeped into chafed skin. The rabbit watched as colleague whimpered on a table, poked and prodded, her once pink skin now severely bloodied, inflamed, and scabbed. Several minutes’ worth of note-taking and observations accompanied by loud rock music passed before the bunny witnessed each creature go limp after an injection, only to be thrown into a garbage bin.

cruelty-free cosmetics animal testing“Okay, time for round two.” The rabbit’s heart beat faster as his restraint was unlocked and a freshly-gloved hand wrapped around his neck.

Although rabbits are not the only animals used in the cosmetic animal testing world — dogs, cats, mice, guinea pigs, primates are also used, just to name a few — they were used quite often for the Draize eye and skin test developed in the 1940s. Rabbits have no tear ducts, so the chemicals put into their eyes are able to stay in for longer periods of time, making rabbits popular candidates for testing. A full-body restraint locks the rabbit in place while chemicals are either dripped into their eyes or rubbed onto their skin. Although this causes obvious pain and discomfort, the rabbit is unable to attempt to soothe the wounds while in the restraint. After all is said and done, the rabbits are then euthanized and thrown away.

cruelty-free cosmetics animal testing
Photo: Understanding Animal Research / CC BY 2.0

There are many other torturous methods used on animals for testing, but things may be looking up with new alternatives to animal-free testing. EpiDerm, EpiSkin, and SkinEthic are all skin care companies that do not employ animal testing like BCOP (Bovine Corneal Opacity and Permeability) and ICE (Isolated Chicken Eye). Cruelty-free companies also choose to not use any new ingredient that would require testing. There are thousands of ingredients that have already been tested and are certified for the market.

cruelty-free cosmetics animal testing

I must say that I am disappointed in myself for overlooking animal testing for so long. My mind was recently been opened to the world of animal cruelty when I decided to become vegan this past February. However, one doesn’t have to be a full-on vegan to stand up against animal testing. Thousands of animals are consistently tortured and killed for vanity. While animal testing is involved in the production of most cosmetics, there are cruelty-free cosmetics that don’t require animal testing to manufacture. Next time you do your cosmetic shopping, take a quick glance for the “cruelty free” leaping bunny logo. It may not seem like you’re making a difference, but it is one step further to a cruelty-free world in the cosmetics industry.

Sign the petition! Be cruelty-free at For a list of cruelty-free make-up click here.

Animals don’t have a voice, so let’s speak for them.


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