Because THEY Are Worth It

Cover pic Cruelty Free International

L’Oréal

Imagine yourself in a focus group, being asked to blurt out the first words that come into your head when L’Oréal is mentioned. Would they be ‘beauty’, ‘skincare’, ‘make up’?
Or would they be ‘cruelty’, ‘suffering’, ‘inhumanity’? Because underneath the company’s flawless façade of glamour lies an underbelly of ugliness – brutal testing on animals.

In the EU, not only is testing on animals for cosmetics banned, but as from 2013 there’s also a blanket ban on the sale of any cosmetics and/or their ingredients tested on animals outside the EU. Similar measures have also been enacted in India, Israel, Norway, and Switzerland. More than 1.8 billion people can now only buy cosmetics that will never be tested on animals again. American cosmetic companies must already comply with these laws in order to sell their products internationally. Guatemala, New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey and four states in Brazil have also passed laws to end or limit cosmetic animal testing.¹

There is, as yet, no such ban though within the USA itself where untold millions of animals undergo extreme pain and distress in research for cosmetics, as well as drugs and household products. ‘Untold’ because the most commonly-used animals are rats and mice, which the USDA does not define as animals for the purpose of animal experiments. So they slip conveniently under the radar.

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L’Oréal and their ilk are rubbing chemicals into animals’ shaved skin, dripping them into their eyes, and even force-feeding the chemicals with a tube down their throats directly into their stomachs, for months at a time, to test for signs of ‘adverse effects’ like cancer or birth defects. All up till now sanctioned by US law.

L’Oréal clearly cares nothing for animal welfare. And such a huge corporation – featuring 198th on Forbes’ List of The World’s Biggest Public Companies, and reckoned to be worth $107.5 billion – can easily afford to forego sales to vegans!

But now there is a brighter side. Enter EpiSkin

What is EpiSkin? “EpiSkin is an in vitro, reconstructed human skin (just the epidermis) cultured on a collagen matrix at the air-liquid interface.”

L’Oréal are pumping some of their lovely big profits into the EpiSkin project. Not because they’ve seen the error of their ways, or out of the kindness of their heart, you can be sure, but because EpiSkin gives a “much better simulation of human skin than animals.” Which means beauty products tailor-made for the end user, rather than best-guessed. Which means increased profits. And as a spin-off, no more torture for the animals, we sincerely hope.

And there is more good news

L’Oréal is making this research open to all:

“EpiSkin models are also available to the global scientific community to support academic and corporate research and development activities across industries,” Charbel Bouez, vice president of advanced research at L’Oréal’s America Zone and president of EpiSkin, told CNBC.

And more

EpiSkin is not the only cultured human skin under research. It has a twin – EpiDerm launched by MatTek in 1993. MatTek does the ultimate in recycling: they use surgical waste skin from cosmetic surgery to grow its two adult humans worth of skin per week.

And still more

EpiSkin“already works so well that it’s outperforming animal testing in most scenarios.

Its applications could reach far beyond the beauty industry, hopefully into medical research. These two competitors, plus other research labs around the world, are looking to expand the technique to make cells for human organs, organs other than skin. This could make even today’s cutting edge technology of organs-on-a-chip obsolete.

For companies and institutions engaged in research, testing on cells in petri dishes is a huge financial saving on keeping those millions and millions of unfortunate animals in labs. Plus the benefits in terms of accurate results are off the scale.

And yet more

The United States itself is close to finally saying “no” to cruel cosmetics.The Humane Cosmetics Act is being reintroduced in Congress with bi-partisan support. This week is the week! The Act would bring US legislation in line with that of many other countries, as well as the EU. It would prohibit the use of animals to test cosmetic products and ingredients, and phase out the sale of cosmetics tested on animals overseas.

If you live in America please urge your legislators to support the Humane Cosmetics Act

#BeCrueltyFree

Hopefully the time is not too far off when we will look back at animal testing and will not believe how we could have been complicit in the barbaric torture of others, just because we could. That we were drawn into parting with our cash on products of cruelty that promised to magically transform us into an Eva Longoria, a Jennifer Aniston.

But meanwhile, for everyone, everywhere:

  • Sign the Humane Society’s petition to Support Legislation to End Inhumane Cosmetics Testing on Animals here
  • Check out Cruelty Free International’s campaign page with 8 petitions to sign
  • Get ‘The Little Book of Cruelty Free’ handy pocket guide here
  • Or search here for Leaping Bunny certified cruelty free products
  • Sign up for CFI’s email updates
  • Donate here – every single donation received, large or small, helps animals in laboratories

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¹One Green Planet

Other Sources

The Humane Nation – Wayne Pacelle’s Blog

Lab-grown human skin might finally spell the end for animal testing – ZME

Cosmetics Tests That Use Animals – HSUS

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Animal cruelty-free testing methods will be tested by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration

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Animal cruelty-free testing methods will be tested by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration

“Animal testing is considered unnecessarily cruel by many, especially since new methods are being developed to take its place. The most promising are organ-chips that contain human cells and imitate the complexity of particular organs. Now they are on their way to being commonly used. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration Office has just entered into an agreement last Tuesday with the company Emulate that creates ‘organs-on-chips’ to develop and test the technology.

“Using these organ-chips could eliminate the need to test drugs or cosmetics on animals. These chips are much more accurate than animal testing, which is good for animals and for us. The chip is the size of an AA battery. It is transparent and made out of flexible polymers. The chip contains little channels filled with tens of thousands of human cells and fluid that imitate human functions and reproduce blood and air flow similarly to in the body. Therefore, chips can recreate breathing motions and muscle contractions.
“‘We are excited to begin this relationship with FDA as a potential first step toward accelerating the adoption of our Human Emulation System for broad application as a new testing platform for a wide range of products that are reviewed and approved by regulatory authorities to protect and improve human health.’– Geraldine A. Hamilton, Ph.D., President and Chief Scientific Officer of Emulate.”

Isn’t this epic? A fantastic breakthrough – not even so much the technology which has been around for a while, but the fact that Emulate has been able to forge this agreement with the FDA.

Though no-one knows exact numbers, it is reckoned that every year more than 100 million animals in the US alone, are subjected to chemical, drug, food, and cosmetics tests, as well as medical training exercises and experiments at universities. And that’s without including mice, rats, birds, and cold-blooded animals, which actually make up more than 99 percent of animals used in experiments, but because they are not covered by even the limited protections of America’s Animal Welfare Act, go uncounted

Cruelty Free International tells us:

  • The USA heads the list of the top 10 animal testing countries in the world, which include Japan, China, Australia, France, Canada, the UK, Germany, Taiwan and Brazil.
  • Animal experiments are sadly not in decline, and in many parts of the world are on the increase  (e.g. China) or remain at the same level as they were in the 1980s or 1990s (e.g. the UK, Europe).
Whatever, one animal being tortured in a lab – and it always is torture – is one too many.

The US Department of Agriculture is responsible for monitoring the application of animal welfare legislation for animals in labs. It’s not exactly renowned for the rigour of its oversight at the best of times. Then two months ago this headline appeared in The Washington Post:

USDA abruptly purges animal welfare information from its website

“The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Friday abruptly removed inspection reports and other information from its website about the treatment of animals at thousands of research laboratories, zoos, dog breeding operations and other facilities.”

So this latest news from Emulate and the FDA is all the more welcome – and surprising, considering the state of play in Washington DC right now.

Where the US leads, others are swift to follow. Let us hope this will indeed be the beginning of the end of animal suffering in laboratories.

Meanwhile, here are 10 animal research petitions you can sign, all on one page: Care2 Animal Research petitions

And urge the European Commission and the European Parliament for a moratorium on animal experimentation here

And read more about the new cooperation between Emulate and the FDA here.

Read more about biomedical research in the US here.

Other sources

Animal Testing 101

Facts and figures on animal testing

USDA abruptly purges animal welfare information from its website

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Ollie the Bobcat Breaks Out of Jail

Do you remember Flaviu, the beautiful lynx who within hours of being sent to Dartmoor Zoo broke out of his enclosure and eluded capture for three weeks?

Well, it seems that the USA had its own jailbreaker this week in the form of Ollie, a wild-born female bobcat that the Smithsonian Zoo in Washington DC claims for its own.

The American bobcat is a close relative of the Eurasian lynx – think cousin – and every bit as solitary and elusive. Ollie broke out on Monday (31st Jan) and zoo spokeswoman Pamela Baker-Masson feared, “it will be very very difficult to find her.”

But on Wednesday fortune smiled on the zoo. Unhappily for the runaway, hunger drove her into a trap baited with treats inside the zoo’s bird house. Looking on the brighter side, Ollie’s capture might well have been a lucky escape for the birds, since bobcats have an acrobatic ability to leap from the ground and catch flying birds in the air.

Zoo vets assure us that she is none the worse for her little adventure, apart from a small cut on her left front paw.

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One thing is sure, if her breakout had been successful this lady would not have gone hungry. Bobcats are remarkably agile and fast and are silent and patient stalkers of rabbits, hares, mice and squirrels – even small deer.

Like most cats, bobcats are beautiful creatures, an attribute that cost them dear in the first half of last century. The wild population was almost wiped out by fur trappers. Now I’m glad to say they are protected by the Endangered Species Act, and are bouncing back.

What can I say about Ollie? I so hoped she would never be caught and locked up again. I hoped that for the rest of her life this lady would run free .

Help captive animals by never visiting zoos and aquariums

For more facts and figures about the beautiful bobcat click here

Sign Born Free Foundation petitions  here

Support the work of the Captive Animals Protection Society here

Source

Ollie the jailbreaking bobcat on the lam from National Zoo – TreeHugger

Ollie the bobcat found safe at National Zoo – Fox

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Cutest Wildlife Pics Ever – Woodland Creatures ‘Building’ Snowmen!

These have to be the most entrancing wildlife pics I’ve ever seen. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did!
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Russian photographer Vadim Trunov is known for his captivating photos of wildlife. When the snow falls, Trunov takes to the great outdoors to capture images of squirrels, other rodents and birds.

The animals explore the scenes he creates — dining on the snowman’s carrot nose or playing catch with walnut-filled snowballs. Trunov will occasionally leave out some trinkets, like a camera or a microphone, and watch as the woodland creatures explore these fascinating finds.

Take a look at Trunov’s snowy work below and check out his website, where you’ll also see his work from less wintry days, photographing lizards and snails perched on mushrooms and squirrels collecting baskets of flowers.

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15 Animal Myths That Are Absolutely False!

With thanks to Care2

Did you know these? I only knew a couple of them. Live and learn, eh?

From lobsters’ love lives to the eating habits of bats, cats and rats, prepare to have your mind blown.

1. If you chop earthworms in half, both halves live.

Although it might not look like it, earthworms do have a head and a tail. If you chop it in half, the part with the head and all of its vital organs will survive and most likely regenerate its tail but the original tail, without its organs, dies.

2. Cows lay down if it‘s going to rain.

Who didn’t hear this one on a road trip growing up? If a cow is laying down, it means rain is coming. Unfortunately whatever adult fed the kids this piece of information was wrong, though. Dr. Jamison Allen, a livestock researcher that investigated when cows stood or laid down during the day, says that, “If an animal is left on its own in a pasture, it will spend a third of its time gathering food, a third of its time eating, and a third of it sleeping. If they’re lying down, it probably doesn’t signal much beyond the fact that it’s sleeping time.”

3. You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

While the old adage may be a good metaphor on how to get people to take your side, it’s not real for actually catching flies. As it turns out, flies, specially the ones often found in homes, are very fond of apple cider vinegar and filling some containers with it and a tad of sugar is the best way to trap them. (Note from me: We WON’T be doing this!!!)

4. Pigs sweat a lot, hence the expression “sweating like a pig.”

Anyone who follows Esther the Wonder Pig on Instagram knows pigs do love a mud bath and a water bath, and that is because they don’t actually sweat. They do have a few sweat glands but that is not how their body cools off. The expression “sweating like a pig” comes from the process of iron smelting. When liquid iron was poured back in the day, the shape resembled a mother pig and her piglets. The process was done at extremely high temperatures and at one point, the air around the mould would turn into steam and the piglets would look like they were sweating.

5. Bats are blind.

Some bats can see three times better than humans.

6. Bats will suck your blood.

Nope, not true either. There are more than 1,300 types of bats and most of them are insect eaters. Vampire bats live in Mexico, Central America and South America and do suck blood but not human blood — at least not commonly. They feed mostly on cattle and are more like mosquitos than a Dracula-esque threat.

7. Mice like cheese.

Just about every cartoon features a big piece of cheese on a rat trap to grab the critter when it can’t resist the treat, but in reality Tom would have had a lot more luck catching Jerry if he had used cereal or fruits. Studies have shown that while mice will eat cheese if hungry enough, that’s not their number one snack choice.

8. Fish have a 10 second memory.

There’s only one fish with a short term memory and her name is Dory. However, studies show that all other fish can remember things like sounds five months later. They are also self-aware enough to recognize themselves in a mirror, they hunt collaboratively with others in a group, some of them like being petted and even “ask” for it from divers sometimes, and they have feelings and can feel stress.

9. #Cats like drinking milk.

When cats are not trying to catch mice with pieces of cheese, they’re usually drinking milk out of a bowl. What those classic images didn’t show was that the feline probably had terrible diarrhea afterwards. While cats will drink milk, their bodies can’t properly digest lactose, which means stomach problems will usually follow.

10. A bear will walk away from you if you play dead.

The National Parks Service does not suggest playing dead when seeing a bear. Instead it advises people to carefully and quietly walk away. In the case of a brown or grizzly bear attack, laying on your stomach and playing dead is an option but if the bear turns you over, the best option is to fight back. If attacked by a black bear, the agency stresses to never play dead. Can’t identify which type of bear is attacking you? Fight back and run for your life. Playing dead will most likely have you end up dead.

11. One human years equals seven dog years.

In reality the math is a little more complicated. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, for a medium-size dog, the first year equals 15 human years. The second year of a dog’s life equals about nine years for a human and after that each human year is equivalent to about five years for a dog.

12. #Dogs can only see black and white.

It’s a common misconception that dogs only see black, white and shades of gray. The truth is that they do see colors, just not all the colors. While humans can see all different shades, dogs see mostly yellows, blues and violets. That means greens and reds will appear to them as blues and yellows but it’s still more cheerful than black and white.

13. Bulls see red and attack.

The imagery of a matador using a red cloth to lure bulls in for the kill made this myth widespread but it’s not the color of the cloth that makes the bull charge for the matador (and on a good day to strike him). Mythbusters did a test with different colored cloths and found the animal doesn’t have a preference for (or a grudge against) any color. It’s the movement in the fabric that entices him to attack.

14. Dolphins will protect you from sharks in the ocean.

While a couple of dolphins have played heroes in the past, don’t count on all of them to do you a solid if a shark comes around. Dolphins have been known to also flee when approached by sharks. On top of that, even though we’d love to believe dolphins love humans, the truth is that they don’t.

15. Lobsters mate for life.

Sorry, Phoebe. Ross and Rachel might have ended up together but not because they were each other’s lobsters. The animals actually have multiple partners along their lives and they don’t walk around holding claws. The whole courtship is a lot less romantic than that — more reminiscent of a one night stand than a storybook romance.

Ah, what a shame!

Photo Credit: ThinkStock

Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/15-animal-myths-that-are-absolutely-false.html#ixzz49TO3Olil