A white rabbit looking upwards with a sweet, pleading expression.

Animal testing: how to spot it – and how to avoid it!

Your five-minute guide to shopping kindly for animals.

Animals Australia

Animals Australia team

Last updated March 14, 2013

Many TV commercials for makeup, personal care items and cleaning products seem to feature smiling people in slow motion, dimpled babies, sweet ducklings or fluffy dogs. The pastel colours and cutesy soundtracks of these ads seemingly inspire a ‘warm and cosy’ feeling and instil a sense of trust in consumers …

But sadly, the reality is anything but cosy for the millions of animals — including rabbits, cats, dogs and mice — who are burned, poisoned and killed in painful and unnecessary experiments every year in order to test the products featured in those ads.

This image contains content which some may find confronting

The Draize Test: used in cosmetics testing, this cruel procedure involves applying a potentially toxic substance to the eye or skin of a restrained, conscious animal (usually an albino rabbit although other species, including dogs, are used) and monitoring its effects.

Animal testing feels so out-dated and cruel that many people are surprised to learn that many big name products on our supermarket shelves and in our department store cosmetic counters are STILL being tested on animals.

But the good news is that finding out which products and brands are cruelty-free is easy. And best of all? The cruelty-free list gets bigger and bigger every year as customers and companies embrace an animal-friendly way of life!

Global giant Unilever, which owns many of the best-known cosmetics and household brands — such as Dove, Rexona, Sunsilk and Vaseline — announced its support for a global ban on animal testing for cosmetics. With big names like this speaking out, the world is heading in the right direction towards an end to animal testing for cosmetics…

We're very hopeful that through collaboration — amongst companies, NGOs and Governments — it will soon be possible to assess the safety of all cosmetics products without any need for animal testing anywhere in the world.
David Blanchard
Chief Research and Development Officer at Unilever

How to shop cruelty-free

A great place to start is this list from our friends at Cruelty Free International (Choose Cruelty Free).

It’s an at-your-fingertips list of products (including make-up, skincare, deodorants, household cleaners and car care) that haven’t been tested on animals!

Companies that still use animal testing

Some tests are standard practice for such companies and brands, while other animal tests are carried out because of local laws in importing countries (such as China) that require all beauty products to be tested on animals before they are allowed to be sold in that country. So while some companies and brands may state they don’t support animal testing, they may not make it onto the cruelty-free list because they choose to sell their products in countries that do require animal testing.

This list shows companies that use animal testing, as well as particular brands that are likely to test on animals due to importing laws in countries like China. Please note that this list is not exhaustive and reflects research at the time of publication.

Help spare animals from cruel tests

Consider that every dollar you spend is a vote for a kinder world. Next time you purchase makeup or cleaning products, will you vote for cruelty or kindness?

  • Take the pledge to opt for cruelty-free products!
  • If after reading this you’ve struck a company that still uses cruel testing off your shopping list, please contact their customer feedback team to let them know why you won’t buy into animal cruelty.