The Body Shop and Unilever are unmistakably one of the leading international companies providing a wide range of products including but not limited to beauty products or what is commonly known as cosmetic products. And while beauty products are becoming increasingly popular, owing to frequent media exposure the public has contested the use of animal testing in the manufacturing of such products. ‘Animal testing’ in its’ simplest sense, means that animals are being used for the testing of a product during its development.
This is usually done in improving products already in the market, though it also applies in the formulation of newer market products. Unavoidably, the animals being used are harmed in the process and deaths of these animals are an accepted reality (Animal testing, 2007). The Body Shop advocates one of it’s’ core values to be against animal testing—that is, the organization believes that carrying out these tests on animals is immoral and not necessary and should also be prohibited (Our Values: Against Animal Testing, 2007).
However, in the similar website it was stated that campaigns against animal testing have been done since 1998 until the year 2002 but these bans were postponed due to the fact that alternative testing procedures are not properly identified as meeting the standards of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). In response to this, The Body Shop finds such as ‘totally unacceptable’ along with their partners in animal protection groups.
Their official website did not however, discuss extensively about their alternative tests; they have only stated that the company is able to choose from over 8,000 ingredients which should be able to create their products. According to them the materials have already been used in many safe applications and a lot of the ingredients could be found in native preparations used for generations. These ingredients however, were not sufficiently mentioned or explained and as such there could be no basis in determining whether the ingredients could be really alternatives to animal testing or are just derivatives from animals and the like.
In terms of adopted measures to combat animal testing wherein there was insufficient discussion on their alternative testing methods, it was only said that in developing their products they use irritection, a substitute for the rabbit eye test and they also employ human volunteers for skin patch tests. Contrary to The Body Shop, Unilever which is also a leading home-product and cosmetic firm states in its official website the eventual need for testing on animals (Unilever’s policy on animal testing, 2007).
Generally, they explain that in cases where no other means may be possible to test or ensure the safety of their products (for instance, there are regulatory bodies which demand for testing of finished products, in some countries this may actually be the law), only then will animal testing be used. In the midst of such dilemmas, Unilever similarly seeks alternative ways for animal testing or reduction of it. In their website, it was mentioned that the company has been active in finding alternative approaches to animal testing by spearheading a program.
The company claims that they have been very effective at reducing the quantity of animal testing done although by how much percent has the company been really effective we do not know. Researches were also conducted though it is not directly stated whether regarding these researches are about animal testing itself and more than 50 papers are said to have been published in the course of the last five years in a peer-reviewed scientific literature. Mention of this peer-reviewed scientific literature however (perhaps a journal), was absent.
There also appears to be no such peer-reviewed literature that is in their website’s library. So the issue on animal testing has already been presented from the official websites of these two companies themselves. Inasmuch that both are sympathetic to the cause of protecting animal rights, it appears that both are lacking solid evidences in their efforts against the use of animal testing. It is however, substantial to study this issue from other perspectives as well so as not to be biased.
Other sources reveal that The Body Shop is not in fact practicing what it is promoting (Beyond McDonalds: What’s wrong with the Body Shop – a criticism of ‘green’ consumerism -). In relation to our case, this website states that the company is in fact using preservatives, synthetic colors, fragrances and nonrenewable petrochemicals. Most of their products are said to be using only little botanical-based ingredients. The source also reveals that the company routinely treats some products by exposing them to ultraviolet radiation in order to kill bacteria.
The radiation used in the process however, is from uranium which is non-renewable and can not be disposed of safely. Furthermore, the source states that ingredients used in the company’s products have also been tested on animals by other companies. This source also states that they admit ingredients which have been tested on animals before 1991 or ingredients which have been tested since 1991 for purposes other than cosmetics. Gelatin or crushed bone, which comes from animals, was also apparently found in some Body Shop products.
In addition according to another website, animal testing may be stopped if companies would only use ingredients which have already been admitted as safe for use (Heavily Soiled! – Boycott cruelty! ). It is in fact ‘substantial consumer benefits’ which Unilever justifies for animal testing. In a statement which may have been originally taken from Unilever, the source reveals that until alternatives are fully-validated by the government, animal testing will have to be continued for the purpose of ‘enhanced safety’ or ‘substantial consumer benefits.
’ This as found out is similar to the case of Body Shop wherein the company finds failure of alternative tests to the OECD ‘totally unacceptable. ’ Therefore, both companies due to no acceptance by government legislation of alternative testing are invariably led to still carry out animal testing. Despite of negative feedbacks however from other websites, The Body Shop according to another source appears on the list of PETA companies which do not perform animal tests (PETA’s Companies that DON’T Test on Animals List , 2006).
The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals or PETA is an organization for animal rights and the organization work extensively to protect animals in farmlands, laboratories, the clothing enterprise and entertainment industry (PETA’s Mission Statement). Inclusion of these companies in the list however, should be examined carefully as there are companies especially those that are prominent in the market which are influential.
Meanwhile, according to another source, Unilever which is a leading producer of home, health and beauty products was mentioned to be among one of the companies that do animal testing (PepsiCo Declares No More Animal Tests! ). Where companies cite reason for animal testing to be required by law or that there are regulatory bodies requiring finished products to be first tested before release to the market, another source surprisingly reveals that there are companies which still do animal testing despite not being required by law.
According to the Global Action Network, a non-profit organization focusing on oceans, sustainable agriculture, wildlife, animals in entertainment, animals in biomedical research and companion animals as well as globalization; cosmetics, personal care, and household cleaning products are not required by law to be ‘animal tested’ and so there is no excuse for companies which continue to do with animal testing even if it is not being required by the law.
Similar source cites The Body Shop to be among companies that do not do animal testing (this ‘don’t test’ list includes companies which have either signed PETA’s statement of assurance or they provided a statement saying they did not conduct or hire other companies to do animal tests which are not required and that they do not plan to in the future). On the other hand, from the same website, Unilever was mentioned to be among those that conduct animal tests despite not being required by law.
The list has been compiled by PETA and inclusion of said companies in the list that permit or conduct animal testing is not because the companies were required by law to do animal testing but because companies are not even required to have cosmetics, personal care, and household cleaning products to be tested and yet they continue to permit or conduct animal testing (Lifestyle: Choose Cruelty-Free Products: Companies that DO Test on Animals). Perspectives on animal testing by the two companies are presented from numerous sources.
In an electronic document by the Unilever Company itself (Unilever Comments to the Commission Proposal on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS), 2006), the company stated that in response to a new legislation which is introduction of a new method for classifying and labeling chemicals, the company is concerned that this should encourage animal testing. The electronic document has cited however that the company has been helpful in founding of the European Partnership on Alternative Approaches to Animal Testing (EPAA).
This is a joint initiative by the European Commission, trade federations and a number of companies in numerous industries (EPAA Home). A major event advertised in the website however, is predicting adverse effects on human from substances without animal testing. It is only hoped that better alternative measures have been developed that could replace animal testing and at the same time do not compromise safety or risk assessments of humans to products.
Generally however, the best way that could be done in support against animal testing is to boycott companies which continue to do so in spite of non-requirement of law. On a personal level, I think it’s best if we ourselves do not demand for stronger, more improved products. That is, if we want to avoid the necessity for animals to be tested first of these products to be ensured of OUR safety. References: Animal testing. (2007, May 8). Retrieved June 29, 2007, from Biology-Online. org: http://www. biology-online. org/dictionary/Animal_testing
Beyond McDonalds: What’s wrong with the Body Shop – a criticism of ‘green’ consumerism -. (n. d. ). Retrieved June 29, 2007, from The Body Shop in the McSpotlight: http://www. mcspotlight. org/beyond/companies/bodyshop. html EPAA Home. (n. d. ). Retrieved June 30, 2007, from European Prtnership to Alternative Approaches to Animal Testing: http://ec. europa. eu/enterprise/epaa/index_en. htm Heavily Soiled! – Boycott cruelty! (n. d. ). Retrieved June 29, 2007, from British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV): Campaigning to end animal experiments: http://www.
buav. org/campaigns/household/soiled. html Home. (n. d. ). Retrieved June 30, 2007, from European Partnership for Alternative Approaches to Animal Testing: http://ec. europa. eu/enterprise/epaa/index_en. htm Lifestyle: Choose Cruelty-Free Products: Companies that DO Test on Animals. (n. d. ). Retrieved June 30, 2007, from Global Action Network: Animal Testing: Choose Cruelty-Free Products: http://www. gan. ca/home. en. html Our Values: Against Animal Testing. (2007). Retrieved June 29, 2007, from The Body Shop: Our World, Our Community: http://www.
thebodyshop. com. au/ourValues. cfm? valueID=1 PepsiCo Declares No More Animal Tests! (n. d. ). Retrieved June 30, 2007, from Caring Consumer. com (A Guide to Kind Living): http://www. caringconsumer. com/products_pepsi. asp PETA’s Companies that DON’T Test on Animals List . (2006). Retrieved June 29, 2007, from ethicast. com: portable ethical information: http://ethicast. com/petas_companies_that_dont_test_on_animals_list PETA’s Mission Statement. (n. d. ). Retrieved June 29, 2007, from PETA: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals: http://www.
peta. org/about/ Unilever Comments to the Commission Proposal on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). (2006, October). Retrieved June 30, 2007, from Unilever: http://ec. europa. eu/enterprise/reach/docs/ghs/consultation_replies/061020_Unilever_severalcountries_Comments_I. pdf Unilever’s policy on animal testing. (2007). Retrieved June 29, 2007, from Unilever: feel good, look good and get more out of life: http://www. unilever. com/ourvalues/environment-society/sus-dev-report/consumers/animal-testing. asp