What is beauty?

June 24, 2011
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Beauty. What comes to mind when you hear that word? Is it the faces of supermodels or actors? Extraordinary paintings, or lovely pieces of music? Roaring waterfalls or exquisite butterflies and birds? Or is it beauty products, lipstick and mascara and hairspray? Everyone has their own idea of what beauty is, but we all want it. We want it around us, but more than that we want it for ourselves. That is why the cosmetics industry is one of the most profitable in the world, generating billions each year. It’s sales include lotions, sunscreens, lipstick, eyeshadow, blush, mascara, bubble baths and bath fizzes, shampoos, conditioners, hairsprays and gels, perfumes, nail polish, and countless other products we use on a daily basis. But to determine the “safety” of these products, millions of animals are burned, poisoned, and killed in crude tests every year, all over the world. And that is immoral, reprehensible, appalling and very simply, wrong.

These tests are horrific. In one of the most common methods of testing for cosmetics, eye irritancy tests, test animals, usually rabbits, are immobilized in stocks from which only their heads protrude. Their eyelids are held open with clips as a drop or flake of a chemical or product is dropped into their eye. Experimenters then measure how long it takes for the eye tissue to burn away. Another widespread type of testing is acute toxicity testing, which is often performed on rats or micel These tests are intended to determine how much of a substance is required to kill the subjects. Over a period of two to four weeks, large dosages are administered to a group of animals until at least 50% of them are killed. The substance may be forced by tube into the animals stomach or through holes cut in their throat, injected under the skin, into a vein, or into the lining of the abdomen. It may also be mixed into the animal’s food, inhaled through a gas mask, or introduced through the eyes or rectum. Scientists observe and catalogue the reactions of the subjects, which commonly include severe bleeding from the eyes, nose, mouth, or rectum, convulsions, labored breathing, emaciation, skin eruptions and rashes, diarrhea, intense pain in the stomach and intestines, and vomiting. In addition, the animals are often driven insane by these tests, and develop behaviors such as continually gnawing at their own skin or running in circles. These test animals live lives of excruciating pain constant fear and loneliness, and when the tests have concluded all the surviving subjects are usually killed. These tests are shocking and heartbreaking, and completely unacceptable.

To make matters worse, despite the pain and suffering these animals are going through, the tests’ end results are often meaningless. Not only can animal test results be unhelpful, they are frequently spurious. The subjects are too different from us for the test data to be reliable. Chemicals that are “safe” for use on mice may prove deadly to human beings. One famous instance that demonstrates the dangers of relying on animal testing for human products is the thalidomine tragedy, which occurred in the late 50s and early 60s. Thalidomine was a drug that emerged on the German market, advertised as a harmless sedative for breastfeeding and pregnant mothers. It had been tested on thousands of animals, and was believed to be safe, but because of differences between the physiology of humans and animals, it caused tens of thousands of children whose mothers had used the drug to be born with severe deformities. This is only one example of how applying data from one species to a completely different species can be dangerously misleading. Relying on animal testing for products and drugs has, and will continue to take a painful toll on human life and health.

Of course, that isn’t to say no good has ever come from animal testing. It does have occasional scientific merit. Indeed, many great breakthroughs are made through animal research And some people argue that these tests are necessary for human safety, no matter how horrific they may be, and that if animal testing world wide was suddenly stopped, it would slow down scientific progress. But these are rationalizations. There are many companies that rely on animal experimentation, which would have to switch to alternate forms of research. Fortunately, many alternate methods exist, such as cell cultures, tissue cultures, corneas from the eye banks, and sophisticated computer models. And in the end, we would by making a much larger jump forward in progress, perhaps not as scientists, but as human beings.

There are a multitude of cosmetics companies that have adopted cruelty-free methods, such as Avon, Mary Kay, Kiss my Face, Elizabeth Arden, Sephora, St. Ives, and numerous others. Selecting brands and products that have “no animal testing” labels is a small, easy thing to do that adds up to a big difference in the fight against animal torture. By doing that, you are fighting for life. And I believe that is what beauty truly is. Life. Every heartbeat in this world, every warm breath, every blink of an eye, is a miracle. Mankind has been given this beautiful earth, and the power to decide how we treat it. And when we torture and kill innocent animals for our own selfish purposes, we are disgracing this. With ever bottle and tube of animal-tested products we buy, we are supporting the destruction of the most precious gift ever given. Is it worth it?

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Dragonfly_Girl said...
Aug. 1, 2011 at 8:31 pm
Please comment guys!! :)
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