8 min read

Selfie Challenge: Wipe It Off To Wipe Out Animal Testing

This is my face.

It's my face without makeup that has been tested on animals. (My kitty Chloe wanted to join in because she adamantly opposes testing cosmetics on her friends.)

You may or may not be aware that several months ago a no-makeup selfie challenge hit social media in the U.K. to raise money and awareness for cancer. The campaign raised a lot of money, but it also received some heavy criticism, mostly because going makeup-free has absolutely nothing to do with cancer.

Some women living with cancer were offended by the campaign. After witnessing my mother's decade-long battle with cancer that claimed her life in 2012, I agree that the "sacrifice" of going without makeup is insulting to those experiencing the pain and heartbreak of cancer.

So what should makeup-free selfies be supporting? A ban on testing cosmetics on animals!

In the U.S., the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has quickly spread through social media and raised tens of millions of dollars for ALS research. Millions of people accepted the challenge, but not everyone. Celebrity Pamela Anderson (a spokesperson for PETA) announced that she would not accept the challenge because of the use of animal testing in ALS research. The ethics of testing on animals to find treatments and cures for deadly human diseases is debatable. Animal testing for cosmetics, however, is unequivocally wrong and has been proven unnecessary.

Examples of these barbaric and outdated animal tests include: forced chemical ingestion, spreading chemicals on raw and exposed skin, and repeated application of chemicals into the eyes. These tests cause severe pain, and if the animal hasn't died during the experiment, it is euthanized at its completion. These tests are performed on rats, mice, guinea pigs and rabbits.

These experiments have received heavy criticism because the results are inconsistent and irrelevant. The way cosmetic ingredients affect an animal is not representative of the way they affect humans. For instance, the eye of an albino rabbit is very different from a human eye and is much more sensitive.

In the U.S., an estimated 100 million animals are tested on each year. American law provides that a product does not require animal testing if it contains ingredients that have been pre-approved and established as safe for household use. There are over 8,000 approved ingredients, yet cosmetics companies continue to test on animals.

While the majority of American cosmetics companies test on animals, some operating in global markets claim that they do not conduct animal testing for products sold domestically. However, if these companies sell their products in China (which most of them do), they are required to test their products on animals (although China has eliminated mandatory animal testing for several types of cosmetics).

Figuring out which products are one hundred percent cruelty-free can be a headache. Wouldn't it be nice to walk into a department or drug store and know that every cosmetic product was cruelty-free?

That is what the House of Representatives is trying to accomplish with H.R. 4148, the Humane Cosmetics Act. This bill would add the U.S. to a growing list of countries with bans on cosmetic animal testing, including India, Israel, Norway and the E.U.'s members. It would also undoubtedly put pressure on other countries to ban the practice. (Click here to read the full text of the bill.)

In support of the Humane Cosmetics Act I am starting the Selfless-Selfies Challenge.

The purpose of this challenge is to show cosmetics companies that we do not need their products to look beautiful, and that we would rather go without than support animal testing.

To accept the challenge, do these 4 easy things:

1. Take a picture of yourself makeup-free and post it to social media, along with a link to this article.

2.Call your U.S. representative to urge their support of H.R. 4148. It's easy! Just take 30 seconds to leave your representative a voice message expressing your support and asking them to co-sponsor H.R. 4148. Click here to find your U.S. Representative and their contact information.

3.Clickhere to fill out the Humane Society's pre-written letter supporting H.R. 4148. Enter your information and email your Representative.

4.Challenge your friends to take a Selfless-Selfie.

Thank you for taking a stand for animals and against unnecessary cosmetics animal testing!

Until the ban passes, click here for a list of cruelty-free products that are certified by the Leaping Bunny Program.