Tuesday 13 May 2014


Over 85% of Australians do not want products they buy to be tested on animals before sale for human use. The scientific excuse for animal experimentation is that animal skin reacts in the same way as ours. Yet when the moral issue is raised, whether it is right to use animals in this way, the argument is that animals are not like us.

In the words of Professor Charles R Magel, "Animal experimentation rests on a logical contradiction.”

Cruelty by humans to any type of animal is so wrong the wonder is the subject has to be discussed at all. Yet pharmaceutical and chemical companies, universities and government bodies have failed to accept animal experimentation as cruel. Nonetheless, when tested chemicals react on living tissue to the extent of poisoning, burning and blinding the animals, then the cruelty factor is glaringly obvious to all but the most compassionless person.

Leading international cosmetic companies, Johnson & Johnson, Dove, Herbal Essences, Clinique, Estée Lauder, to name a few, still subject animals to these shameful practices before shipping their products into Australia. In China, where the majority of products come from, it is still a requirement by law to trial cosmetics and toiletries on animals before they can be accepted as safe for human use.

While Australian cosmetics are not tested on animals, it is still not illegal to do so. Also many imported ingredients used in their manufacture are known to be animal-tested.

But now two women in Parliament, Green's Lee Rhiannon and Labor's Tanya Plibersek are  working to ring in the changes for animals, with the introduction of a private member's bill to ban all sales and imports of cosmetics carrying animal-tested ingredients, and the setting up of a national consultation with industry, scientific researchers, and high profile groups such as Humane Society International, Cruelty Free and Humane Research Australia.

Meanwhile the Body Shop has removed its products from China's duty-free shops, since the consumer group Choice found their products in Beijing and Shanghai airports, where authorities randomly run post-market tests on animals.
- Patricia Edwards

This article was published in the "Voices for the Earth" column in The Daily Examiner on May 5, 2014.