Testing drugs on animals is back in news with the Indian government banning repeat animal testing of new drugs already tested abroad. Animal rights groups have welcomed the decision, which prevent using animal for testing of drugs that have been tested earlier in the origin country. However, animals are still used for testing new drugs made in India.
Animal testing is the act of using non-human animals for testing products and services. These generally fall in the domain of medical research and are performed by educational institutions, cosmetic firms and pharmaceutical companies. Particularly, in the cosmetic industry, animals are kept in certain environmental conditions to determine the effect of products, but such conditions do not fulfill the biological needs of these animals. With the growing awareness about animals’ psychological needs, animal testing has become a controversial issue. Should we continue to use animals for medical research where they are uprooted from their natural habitat and are ill treated in labs to cater to our needs?
Animal welfare organizations and animal lovers find animal testing a loathsome and unjust activity due to the sordid conditions of laboratory animals such as guinea pigs, rats, monkeys etc. If we agree that animals do feel pain just like humans, then the ethics that concern human subjects must be applicable to these subjects as well. Moreover, to what extent results from laboratories can be applied to our real-life context is another hotly debated topic. Application of any medical or cosmetic product in daily life introduces a lot of variables that are not accounted for in experiments.
Anyway, what are the alternatives to using animals for testing the products? Scientific studies have innovated computer models that can simulate human anatomy and inner body workings. Such models include in vitro testing, in silico (computer) modeling and research with human volunteers. These models can be used to measure the effect of various products on human beings. It has been claimed that such models are a safe bet, as they would more accurately lay out the probable effects than those that are received through animals bound in unnatural conditions.
Those of us who are concerned about animal rights would like to choose products that have not been tested on animals. We need to look out for an accompanying logo – “No Animal Cruelty” sign, or the “Vegan Society” label. In 2013, India declared a ban on testing of cosmetics on animals. However, to what extent this ban has been implemented and in what ways qualifications have been established to continue animal testing remains a matter of speculation.
We have compiled a list of companies that do not use animals for testing their products:
Founded by Vinita Jain, Biotique is a pioneering company that furthers the cause of using organic beauty methods by utilizing Ayurvedic ingredients, which are fused with scientific and beauty treatment methods. The company manufactures skin, body and hair products customized for men, women and babies that are sourced from natural ingredients.
Shahnaz Hussain has been the pioneer in herbal cosmetics in India and has diverse portfolio of over 350 formulations. Her company has series of quality control Labs where the ingredients undergo rigorous testing. Apart from micro-biological studies, clinical testing and volunteer assistance is also practiced.
Directed by its strong conviction in Ayurvedic philosophy, Forest Essentials follows the old-school of thought to the highest extent possible by making-by-hand, which was the prevalent tradition. The company’s products are produced under the standpoint: “If you cannot eat it, do not use it on your skin.”
Cholayil began as a small-scale backyard production home by a family in Kerala. Today the company has three well-known brands: Medimix, Cuticura and Krishna Thulasi, which are defined by the use of 18 ingredients in differing combinations across their products.
Omved is bound in the belief “to live and let live in complete consciousness”. Firmly based on traditional preparation methods, the company sells its products that are developed with a holistic living in view. Omved sports the following animal-friendly labels: Vegan and Cruelty-Free.
Prakriti Herbals follows the Vedantic philosophy that holds nature to be abundant with therapies for taking care of our body. Neeta Adappa founded the company in 1995 and led the enterprise to develop some unique cosmetic and hospitality products.
Rustic Art provides home utility, body care and baby care products that are produced from certified essential oils, IFRA fragrances, extracts and oils and other natural elements. Based in Maharashtra, the company’s range of products include bathing bars, laundry powder, gel, paper soap, face wash, gift sets and menstrual cups.
The Body Shop
The Body Shop is an international brand established by Anita Roddick in 1976. Inspired by the company motto “Enrich, Not Exploit (It’s in Our Hands)”, Anita was driven by the motive of making business a force for furthering good in the society. The Body Shop sells a wide range of products for bath and body, skin and hair care, make-up, fragrance and accessories for men.
Vicco Labs is perhaps the oldest company that was founded in 1952 by K.V.Pendharkar. The company’s mission of Vicco Labs is to “make boons of Ayurvedic medicine available to every home, far and near”. Their products include tooth powder and paste, skin cream and shaving cream.
Unived Health Care Products
Built on the personal experience of the founder, Amit Mehta, Unived aims to provide a natural and vegan way of leading a healthy lifestyle. Initiated in 2010, the company sell products in domains of nutrition, organic skin and hair care, cholesterol and weight loss, bone and joint health and sexual wellness.