Don’t Wait For A Ban – Stop Buying Animal-Tested Cosmetics Today

albino rabbitsNational bans on animal testing for cosmetics are gaining momentum. The European Union, Norway, Israel, and India have all passed national legislation to inhibit animal testing in the creation of cosmetics. In recent years, some legislators have even made attempts to phase out animal testing for cosmetics in the United States. These are undoubtedly promising developments in the global animal welfare movement. However, enactment of legislation to limit or prohibit testing on animals for cosmetics and other products in the U.S. may be years away. In the meantime, countless rabbits, beagles, guinea pigs, rats, mice, and other animals are languishing in laboratories around the country. Americans must support legislation to stop these nightmarish and unnecessary tests, but everyone living in the United States can stop purchasing animal-tested cosmetics and personal care products now. Rejecting personal care products sold by companies that still use animal testing conveys to those companies that now is the time to end animal testing.

As consumers, finding products that satisfy our preferences, budgets, and consumer ethics can seem like a daunting task. Even the most conscientious consumers may have only a vague understanding of how business, science, and law intersect in regard to animal testing. To add to the confusion, some companies attempt to attract consumers with a “cruelty-free” label without actually abiding by cruelty-free guidelines.

Fortunately, there are resources that make cruelty-free shopping enjoyable and accessible. Thousands of safe and high-quality products are available through companies that don’t test on animals. There are at least three ways consumers can support these companies:

•    An organization known as the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC) administers a cruelty-free standard in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and parts of the European Union. Companies listed by the CCIC meet the standards set by the Leaping Bunny Program, which according to the CCIC website guarantee that “…no new animal testing is used in any phase of product development by the company, its laboratories, or suppliers.” To use this resource, visit http://www.leapingbunny.org.
•    When shopping for a new cosmetic or personal care product, you can visit the company’s website to learn the company’s policy on animal testing.
•    For spur-of-the-moment purchases, download an app to your smartphone. Many apps are now available that help users discern if animal testing was used with a quick scan of the item’s barcode.

As citizens concerned about animal welfare, we send messages to our lawmakers with pens and paper. As consumers, we communicate with our dollars, and these are messages that no business can ignore.

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Captive Chimpanzee “Tommy” May Gain Freedom as Legal Person

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Paws Up!
To attorney Steven Wise for representing chimpanzees in a New York Supreme Court appeal that could free imprisoned chimps.

Photo by the Nonhuman Rights Project

Photo by the Nonhuman Rights Project

According to a recent news story, a chimpanzee being held captive in New York may be freed from a life in a small cage on the premise that he is a wrongly imprisoned person. The 26-year-old chimpanzee named “Tommy” is currently living alone in a small concrete enclosure with a television set on the property of a sales lot for transport trailers near Gloversville, NY. He is being kept as a pet, and has no interaction with others of his own species. Steven Wise is the attorney representing Tommy. In October, Wise made the argument to the New York Supreme Court that Tommy, along with three other chimpanzees located elsewhere in New York, are persons being unjustly imprisoned. Recognition as a legal person would not grant Tommy and the other chimpanzees the rights and freedoms of human beings, but would grant them the basic legal right to not be imprisoned. The panel of five judges is expected to rule on the case in the coming weeks. Wise has recommended to the judges that the chimpanzees be relocated to North American Private Sanctuary Alliance located in Florida.

The designation of animals as persons is not entirely new. Last year , the national government of India recognized dolphins as ‘persons’  having their own established society and culture.  Dolphins therefore, cannot be held captive in India. Steven Wise is not representing all chimpanzees as a species, but if judges recognize Tommy’s personhood, this case could offer a legal platform to help captive chimpanzees throughout the United States.

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Loss of life…for lipstick?

Consumers must use their purchasing power in order to support those companies offering cruelty-free products.

Beauty shouldn’t rely on pain and suffering.

When the European Union, which consists of 28 countries, along with Israel and India ban cosmetic testing on animals, it’s time the United States joined in. HR 4148, the Humane Cosmetics Act, will bring the U.S. in line with these countries in banning the use of animals in testing personal care items, such as shampoo, lipstick, and hand lotion. It is totally indefensible to continue to use animals in cosmetic testing when non-animal alternatives have existed for years.

To learn more about the cruelty done to animals in laboratory settings, read Is a Mouse a Human.

Please contact your representatives and urge them to support HR 4148, the Humane Cosmetics Act.

 

 

 

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China and Cosmetic Testing

PawsUp

The China FDA is now allowing some cosmetic products to be sold without prior animal testing.

The China FDA is now allowing some cosmetic products to be sold without prior animal testing.

Paws Up!
To the China Food and Drug Administration for allowing the sale of some cosmetics without requiring animal testing.

According to a news story, the China Food and Drug Administration announced, “Animal testing would no longer be mandatory for ‘non-specialized cosmetics’, including shampoo, soaps and certain skin products….”

The European Union and India have both changed their policies about animal testing on some personal care products. It’s good to see China possibly following suit.

Take Action: The best way to take action is to never buy personal care items that have been tested on animals. Check labels to make sure you are buying cruelty free products. Additionally, you can write to the China Food and Drug Administration supporting the decision to allow the sale of some cosmetics without requiring animal testing.

Zhang Yong, Minister
China Food and Drug Administration
26 Xuanwumen Xidajie,
Beijing, 100053, P.R. China
Fax: 86-010-68310909
Email: inquires@sda.gov.cn

Artificial Corneas Can Save Animals’ Eyes

PawsUp

Animals are unsuitable for research purposes not only because of the inhumane treatment they endure, but also because of the many physiological differences compared to humans.

Animals have been found unsuitable for research purposes because of their many physiological differences compared to humans.

Paws Up!
To Japanese researchers for seeing an end to using animals in cosmetic testing.

Testing cosmetic products on animals, most often rabbits, has run into roadblocks in both the European Union and India. And now, maybe a permanent roadblock has been created in a laboratory in Japan.

According to a news story, a senior researcher at the National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences, Toshiaki Takezawa, said that “apart from the cruelty involved, animal testing is unsustainable in the long-term because of the physiological differences between animals and humans. He says his research could be applied to simulate cells in any part of the human body, from the skin to internal organs, leaving animals out of the process entirely.”

The eye irritancy test, also known as the Draize test, involves placing liquid chemicals directly into the eye of an animal to determine if the substance will irritate or damage a human eye. It’s time we realize that laboratory animals are not human beings and that tests done on them do not translate into safer products for humans. Learn more about animals in the laboratory.

Take Action: Write a note to the lead scientist thanking him and his colleagues for working on better ways to test products without involving animals. Additionally, shop for cruelty-free products so that you know, on a personal level, you are not contributing to animal abuse.

Toshiaki Takezawa, Senior Researcher
National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences
2-1-2 Kannondai
Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8602
Japan

Saving Animals One Lipstick at a Time

PawsUp

India is the first country in South Asia to ban animal testing for cosmetics.

India is the first country in South Asia to ban animal testing for cosmetics.

Paws Up!
To India for banning animal testing for cosmetics.

According to a news article, “The decision [to ban animal testing] was taken at a meeting of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) Cosmetics Sectional Committee, chaired by the Drugs Controller General of India and is in line with the European Union’s stand.” The article states that India is the first country in South Asia to take this step.

The European Union banned animal testing for cosmetics in 2004 and recently banned the import and sale of cosmetics tested on animals.

Take Action: Write a note to the ambassador from India to the United States thanking her country for respecting and protecting animals.

The Honorable Nirupama Rao
Ambassador
Embassy of India
2107 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20008

When you think about…planned pethood is not so farfetched.

Planned Parenthood Plus is an organization working towards ending animal overpopulation. They plan to sterilize 300 feral dogs in September with a birth control vaccine.

Planned Parenthood Plus is an organization working towards ending animal overpopulation. They plan to sterilize 300 feral dogs in September with a birth control vaccine.

There exists an organization, Planned Pethood Plus, that works globally to end animal overpopulation. Here in the United States, there are an estimated 6 million feral dogs. What is the solution to this overabundance of dogs, especially feral dogs? Birth control. A test using a government vaccine is scheduled to begin in September on two Indian reservations in the West to help curb the proliferation of feral dogs who in previous years would have been left to die or simply shot. The plan is to capture and inject 300 female dogs with a birth control vaccine.

Of course, sterilization of dogs is the best way to curb the dog overpopulation in any area. Responsible canine guardians should ensure their dog is unable to reproduce. In some areas of the country, spay/neuter services have done such a fine job that those areas, especially the northeastern part of the country, often have few dogs for adoption but are able to help out areas of the country, south and west, where too many dogs exist and not enough adopters are available. Dogs are transported from these areas to shelters in the Northeast, often by car or van and sometimes by air.

The only way to reduce the number of dogs being born is to use birth control for those dogs who are not good candidates for surgery (feral dogs, in particular) and to spay/neuter all other dogs as soon as they are old enough to undergo the surgery.

Because, when you think about it…planned pethood is not so farfetched.

Protect Investigators’ Rights

No Cameras AllowedSeveral state legislatures have introduced bills that seek to penalize undercover efforts meant to expose animal cruelty on factory farms.

Cruelty to animals must be exposed and dealt with and often that requires investigators have the freedom to gather information and document inhumane acts. By making illegal the right to investigate such activities, cruelty to animals is dealt a backwards blow and perpetrators are allowed to continue the abuse.

Animal cruelty poses a definite risk to a community and society as a whole. Intentional animal cruelty is of particular concern as it is a sign of psychological distress and often indicates an individual may be predisposed to committing acts of violence. Investigative reports exposing animal cruelty should, therefore, be of great concern to law enforcement and the judiciary and to all citizens of a community where such acts are perpetrated.

Mental health professionals and top law enforcement officials consider the blatant disregard for life and suffering evidenced by all forms of cruelty to animals to be an unquestionable warning sign. In fact, the American Psychiatric Association identifies cruelty to animals as one of the diagnostic criteria for conduct disorders; and the FBI uses reports of animal cruelty in analyzing the threat potential of suspected and known criminals.

Undercover investigations are a necessary piece of our democratic system and have been crucial in uncovering illegal activities. Uncovering animal cruelty regardless of its source and location is requisite to living a humane life; therefore, we do a disservice to our fellow human beings when we allow cruelty to animals to go unreported.

If you live in one of the states listed below, contact your legislators and urge them to oppose bills that limit uncover investigations of animal cruelty on factory farms. If you are not a resident of one of the states below, contact your legislators and let them know you oppose any efforts in the legislature to hamper undercover investigations of animal cruelty in factory farms in your state.

ArkansasSB 14
IndianaSB 373 and SB 391
NebraskaLB 204
New HampshireHB 110
WyomingHB 126

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Take Action Against Ag-Gags

Undercover investigations have successfully exposed many cases of animal cruelty, abuse, and neglect within factory farm operations.

Several bills that seek to penalize undercover efforts to expose animal cruelty are currently under review in New York, Iowa, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, and Nebraska. Many of these bills have been in legislative rest since the 2011 session and are now coming under revision or amendment. All of them call for stiff penalties for undercover investigations concerning animal abuse in agricultural facilities; and some go further and extend that to other animal operations such as puppy mills. The Minnesota bill also criminalizes the act of exposing food safety and labor issues.

Animal cruelty must be exposed and dealt with and often that requires investigators have the freedom to gather information and document such inhumane acts. Investigative reporting has played a historical role in exposing wrongdoings, and undercover exposés have been vital tools for educating the public and lawmakers about the inherent cruelty in factory farming operations. Such reports surface all too frequently, including three since the beginning of this year and ten since the start of 2011. A strong example of this type of investigation was the release of footage from a North Carolina Butterball turkey farm which showed workers maliciously throwing birds against walls during transport loading, hitting birds in the head with metal bars, and birds living in filthy and fly-ridden conditions, some with serious yet untreated illnesses. Often these reports lead to legal action, as in the above example which led to felony and misdemeanor animal cruelty charges against five Butterball employees by state authorities.

Contact your representatives to urge them to oppose these bills; make sure to read over the bill for your state and tell them why you oppose it. If you are in one of the states below, this is a crucial time for you to articulate your voice to your legislators. If you are not in one of the states below, contact your representatives and let them know you will oppose any future ag-gag efforts in the legislature.

Iowa HF 589
Indiana SB 184
Minnesota H 1369
Missouri SB 695
Nebraska LB 915
New York S. 5172

When you think about it…what does modern Thanksgiving really celebrate?

Photo by John Eckman/Flickr

Today, the Thanksgiving holiday can have different meanings to different people. For most of us, it is a time for celebrating family and friends (and football). For others, it is a time for volunteering in their community and helping the less fortunate. Somewhere among this is a varied remembrance of traditional harvest festivals, and all the imagery that entails. Most of all, modern Americans associate Thanksgiving with lots of food, particularly seasonal favorites that we think to with child-like nostalgia and excitement. Casseroles, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, and bread dressing are all expected to be present, featuring a baked and basted bird as our holiday centerpiece. Ironically, few of these things were fare that the pilgrims  would have enjoyed, and even turkey didn’t become a mainstay of the American holiday table until after major advertising campaigns by the poultry industry following World War II.

Many are surprised to learn of Benjamin Franklin’s disapproval of our choice of the Bald Eagle as national bird, thinking it looked more like a turkey as it was originally drawn on the seal, and preferring the latter. In a 1784 letter to his daughter Sally, he stated:

“I am on this account not displeased that the Figure is not known as a Bald Eagle, but looks more like a Turkey. For the Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America . . . He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on.”

Its hard to imagine what Franklin’s reaction might be to learn that our main relationship to the turkey nowadays is as an object of over-consumption during the winter holidays. It isn’t hard to imagine his alarm at seeing the conditions of turkeys raised for food today: birds bred to grow so large so quickly that they cannot fly or even move much on their own (a Broad Breasted White will grow to 35 pounds in 19 weeks, and have been bred to grow 57% larger than they normally would). They are unable to reproduce naturally, and rely instead on artificial insemination methods by humans, without which they would die as a species in one generation. They have their toes and beaks cut off without the use of anesthesia in painful measures that serve to keep the birds from maiming each other in the dark, confined spaces they are kept in by the thousands. Over 46 million turkeys have been raised and killed just for consumption on Thanksgiving day, last year.

The historical legacy of Thanksgiving celebrates abundant harvests, but perhaps our modern celebration of abundance has this backwards. New research reveals that Americans end up wasting a staggering 50-60% of the food that we grow. Further, we use large amounts of grains to fatten Thanksgiving turkeys and other livestock on factory farms; grains that could be better utilized feeding needy humans rather than force-feeding it to animals who aren’t adapted for such foods in their diet anyway.

Turkeys have been shown to recognize each other through the unique qualities of their individual voices, and over twenty distinct turkey vocalizations have been identified. They have also been shown to communicate amongst each other by the way they change the colors of their skins and necks. When you think about it…perhaps the best way to give our thanks for the bounty of the Earth is to appreciate and respect its wonders.

Be an example of compassionate living to your family, friends, and loved ones this holiday by embracing both tradition and taste-buds! Check out these amazing sites below for a slew of vegan and vegetarian recipe ideas and menu plans. Have fun trying something new, or better yet take a conventional favorite and re-imagine it meat-free!

Vegan.com Thanksgiving Holiday Feature 2008 – An entire meal plan; check out the stuffed winter squash! This is a great introduction to  veganizing those mashed potatoes and gravy, etc.

Vegan.com Thanksgiving Holiday Feature 2009 – The Roasted Wheatmeat with Oyster Mushroom and “Sausage” Stuffing makes our mouths water (even if it does have a funny name)! Of course more traditional favorites are to be found.

Meatless Mondays: 15 Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes – We can’t wait to try the wild rice pilaf with butternut squash, cranberries, and pecans; the picture of the Seitan Roulade with Sage and Sweet Onion Stuffing blows us away!

VegKitchen Thanksgiving Recipes – A wide collection of recipes sorted by category for quick reference.

VegWeb.com Thanksgiving Category – This user-submitted recipe site is a great source for finding ideas for specific ingredients, or to take ideas from to make your own concoctions.

21 Day Kickstart India – Vegan Cooking Videos – Indian cooking videos galore, for those of you who want to bypass convention this year, or for the simply culinary curious.

Happy Thanksgiving from NHES!

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