For many years there’s been a terrible secret in the cosmetics industry: its use of rabbits in testing. In too many countries, rabbits are still being used in eye and skin irritation tests for beauty products and their ingredients.

They endure unimaginable pain in these crude and cruel 1940s-era experiments. Worse, this suffering persists even though producing cruelty-free beauty products is safe and simple. In honor of International Rabbit Day, please join the global #BeCrueltyFree campaign and help make this the last year when rabbits are suffering on a day created to promote the protection and care of rabbits. We’ve never been closer than we are now in our campaign to halt this cruelty.

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Cruel Testing

In commonly used tests, rabbits have substances dripped into their eyes or smeared onto their skin all for the sake of testing beauty products or their ingredients. In eye irritation tests, rabbits are immobilized by their necks in restraints and the test substance is applied to their eyes. Their eyes may show signs of redness, bleeding, ulcers, blindness, and/or other signs of damage. During skin irritation tests, the test substance is placed on the shaved skin of rabbits and observed for signs of redness, rash, lesions, scaling, or inflammation. These tests are unreliable as well as cruel.

But there’s a better way: Companies can create products using thousands of available ingredients that do not require new testing of any kind. To the extent that companies choose to incorporate new chemicals to their cosmetic formulations, an ever-growing number of non-animal methods, and ‘next-generation’ approaches to safety assessment, are available in lieu of animal testing. Cruelty-free brands are already creating innovative new products safely by relying on modern non-animal tests in combination with existing ingredients that have established histories of safe use.

As consumers, we all have the power to accelerate the shift toward non-animal testing methods by becoming more compassionate shoppers. North American consumers can use the Leaping Bunny guide, a list of cruelty-free brands compiled by the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics to ensure your personal care, household, and pet grooming products aren’t tested on animals.

Humane Cosmetics Act

two people holding cats
Sara Amundson, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, and Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-CA) with bunnies, Paxton and Andre,  at the 2019 Some Bunny to Love event where attendees learn about rabbit care and humane cosmetics (Paul Morigi/AP Images for HSLF)

While there are currently no federal bans on testing cosmetics on animals in the United States, the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society Legislative Fund are working to make such a ban a reality. California, Nevada, and Illinois have recently passed laws that ban the sale of cosmetics newly tested on animals. The Humane Cosmetics Act, if enacted by Congress, would end cosmetics testing on animals in the U.S. by prohibiting the use of animals to test cosmetics and banning the sale of animal-tested cosmetics. Leading humane organizations and the cosmetics industry support the passage of the legislation.

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Please contact your representative and senators in Congress to urge them to cosponsor the Humane Cosmetics Act if they haven’t already and do all they can to pass the bill as quickly as possible!

Global Effort

The #BeCrueltyFree campaign led by Humane Society International and its partners is tirelessly working to ban cosmetics animal testing around the globe. Today, there are 40 nations, including the member states of the European Union, Australia, Colombia, Guatemala, Iceland, India, Israel, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, and Turkey, that have passed laws prohibiting or limiting cosmetics testing on animals. Similar legislation is under discussion in Brazil, Canada, Chile, Mexico, the Association of Southeast Asia Nations, and elsewhere. Sign the global #BeCrueltyFree pledge today and say no to cosmetics animal testing in your country and worldwide.

Let’s celebrate rabbits today and commit to working for an end to their use in cruel cosmetics testing. In the U.S., take action to help rabbits by asking your federal legislators to endorse the Humane Cosmetics Act. You can also sign the Humane Society International pledge to be cruelty-free.

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