Animal Testing 101

07 Apr 2014

Animal Testing


Imagine your gorgeous household pet locked in a cage in a lab. Everyday it is taken out of its cage, only to be force-fed and forced to inhale potentially poisonous substances. It is then locked away again at night, inevitably waiting for another day of torture. Feeling uncomfortable thinking about it? Welcome to the cruel world of animal testing.



Unfortunately for us as a cosmetics company, animal testing is something that we have to think about and deal with everyday. Animals like mice, rabbits, rats, monkeys, amphibians and reptiles are tested on. The tests include:

  • Repeated Dose Toxicity, where the animal is repeatedly force-fed and forced to inhale a substance to see if it is tubes and needles​poisoness.
  • Reproduction Toxicity, where the animal is force-fed a substance to assess whether the substance alters pregnancy, sexual behaviour or birth and growth of their young.
  • Toxicokinetics, where the animal is force-fed a substance to assess how it is absorbed, distributed, metabolised and excreted by the body.
  • Skin sensitisation, where a cosmetic substance is rubbed into the raw, shaved skin of an animal to assess possible allergic reactions and itchiness.
  • Carcinogenicity, where the animal is force-fed a substance over two years to assess whether or not they get cancer.

After all of these tests and experiments are carried out, the animal is then almost always killed.


These horrific tests are in fact not needed with all of today’s modern technological advances. The EPISKIN has been invented, which is a reconstituted human epidermis and most tests can be carried out on this. Obviously this is a more humane way of testing cosmetics and ingredients, but it has also proven to be a more effective and low cost way of testing. All other tests can be carried out in vitro (tube testing) and are safer, more reliable and relevant to humans. It is important to point out also that there are more than 20,000 ingredients in the European Union’s database for which safety information is already provided. Yet this awful practise is still so common in many countries around the world.

The United States is one of the main contributing countries to the animal testing world. It is estimated that 1.28 million animals are used in cosmetic testing per annum there, however up to 90% of the animals used are excluded from official statistics because they have been bred specifically for experimentation purposes. This means that figures published regarding this matter in the United States can never be accurate and are more than likely substantially underestimated. We will never know how many animals are suffering at the hands of scientists in American laboratories for the sake of an eye shadow or a moisturiser.

We are however, slowly making positive breakthroughs.

As of the 11th of March last year 2013, the final stages of the animal testing ban in the EU were put into place. This means that cosmetics tested on animals can no longer be sold in Europe, even if the testing was done elsewhere. This is a huge step forward in the push for a worldwide ban on all animal testing in the cosmetics industry. However, just because a product is not tested on animals and sold in Europe does not mean that it cannot be tested on animals for other markets, like China, where it is law for any cosmetic product to be tested on an animal. The best thing to do in order to make sure the cosmetic products you are using are not involved in animal testing, is to only use brands that are cruelty-free and are not sold on the Chinese market. These products will display the Leaping Bunny logo, endorsed by Cruelty-Free International.


Here at Rehab London we are proud to say that we are completely cruelty-free and that all of our new packaging displays the Leaping Bunny logo. Rehab London has always been tested on men – not animals! 



Kristen Parker | Rehab London Team

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