Animal Rights

No More Rabbits Wearing Mascara

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cosmetics testing

Worried about animal testing? Mildly disturbed by the idea of gerbils wearing lipstick? Celebrate freaky new advances in biotech that allow cosmetic companies to test on "reconstructed eye tissue and tiny circles of skin developed from donor cells harvested from cosmetic operations."

The lede of The New York Times report captures the surreal nature of the advances:

The delicate hybrids thriving in the balmy climes of Provence, southern France's traditional perfume region, include sweet jasmine, May roses — and fresh layers of artificial human skin.

Companies are hustling to get on board with non-animal cosmetics testing because of an upcoming EU ban, but many companies have been moving in this direction voluntarily for years as improving technology has offered the luxury of being more moral.

When testing on cuddly bunnies was the only way to be sure new products wouldn't hurt people, we had to suck it up and coat Flopsy in Lancome. Now we have options–and the fact that some beauty products are being tested on an artificial skin product made from the cells of plastic surgery patients has a kind of Palahniukian poetic justice to it.

To make Episkin, donor keratinocyte cells, collected after breast and abdominal plastic surgery, are cultured in tiny wells of collagen gel, immersed in water, amino acids and sugars, and then air-dried for 10 days or aged to mimic mature skin by exposure to ultraviolet light.

Lots more on animal rights here.

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  1. Rabbits and Mascara? Rrowwrr!

  2. Mildly disturbed by the idea of gerbils wearing lipstick?

    If by “disturbed” you mean “turned on”, then yes. Yes I am.

  3. Lame headline. We like references to ’80s rock bands. Try this:

    “All they’re ever losin’ is a little mascara”

  4. No more bug bunny in drag. I guess we’ll have to make due with Guilliani.

  5. *gives jet one dose of thunder*

  6. If by “disturbed” you mean “turned on”, then yes. Yes I am.

    And if you don’t mean that, then I am midly distrubed by ed.

    Anyway, it’s funny to see the process of producing cosmetics to be described with the term “had to,” but a change to that process described as a “luxury.”

  7. I don’t think this will achieve the cosmetic industry’s wet dream of getting all the hippie chicks in the world to wear makeup.

  8. I am all for this as an EXPANSION of the time tested test methods, not for the removal of any that still work.

    I want my heavily mascara wearing interpretive dance artists to be SAFE in the workplace!

    Why must the anti-makeup forces be so hostile to women’s health?

  9. I wondered what happened to all those little foreskins.

  10. No more monkeys jumping on the bed

  11. pistoffnick –

    Supposedly, they were made into a wallet. That turned into a full set of luggage if you rubbed it for a while.

  12. I have my suspecions that this may be less than effective, since it doesn’t incorporate the immune system into its model of skin reactivity, and as anyone who has had poison ivy can testify, how the immune system reacts to cutaneous compounds is of great importance.

  13. improving technology has offered the luxury of being more moral

    As advances in technology and material well-being generally do.

  14. Let the rabbits wear glasses! Can I get an amen!

  15. Alternative testing will prevail until somebody has a reaction and sues the bejeesus out of a cosmetics company by claiming the company acted negligently by not using the most reliable means of testing..

    Tacos is right. With disassociated cells or tissues you only get a weak response from innate immunity. A full adaptive immunity response only arises from a complete organism. The method described will tell you if have a direct toxic effect but it won’t tell you what the immune response will be.

  16. BTW, they don’t carefully bruch mascara onto rabbits’ eyelashes. The clip open the rabbits’ eyes and put a dollop of the substance on the cornea, then wait and see how much damage it does.

    If the practices you endorse are so laudable, you don’t go out of your way to mislead people about what those practices are.

    See “fraternity hazing” and “getting prisoners a little wet.”

  17. All you ever wanted was someone Mommy’s scared of

  18. Uhh, joe,

    Who gives a fuck? They’re rabbits.

    I like the Penn and Teller answer to this stuff, namely, I’d kill every last bunny rabbit in the world if it would save just one human life…

  19. Taktix,

    This isn’t saving lives. It’s selling rouge.

  20. They can have my mascara when they pry it from my warm, live… no, wait, it’s not mine anymore…

  21. Taktix,

    There’s that sense of enlightened civility, responsibility, and universal graciousness in the midst of which I am so pleased to be raising my son.

    Thanks for the warm, fuzzy feeling.

  22. Do you want your teenage daughter trying on cosmetics that haven’t been tested on rabbits?

    We are the leading provider of rabbits for food, lucky rabbit’s feet and biological testing as well as a full line of rabbit based biological products. There is NO SAFE SUBSTITUTE FOR RABBIT TESTING.Do you want your little Princess to go blind from improperly tested cosmetics?

  23. …we had to suck it up and coat Flopsy in Lancome.

    Don’t worry, there are still places in Nevada where you can pay to have that done.

  24. Who knows, they might even get more relevant test results too.

  25. This isn’t saving lives. It’s selling rouge.

    You’re saving people from bad reactions to rouge.

    You could observe that cosmetics are hardly a necessity, and I’d agree. However, it is in human nature to seek non-essential cosmetics anyway. Given that people are going to use these things, you need to decide how much (if any) testing will be allowed and/or required. I have no firm opinion on the matter, but you can’t dismiss it on the grounds that these products are non-essential. People buy all sorts of non-essential stuff, and some of it will turn out to be dangerous.

  26. joe, let me ask you this: Would you advocate shifting the possible risks from animals to buyers? An argument could be made that the buyers can consent to risks (if they are informed, etc.) but the animals can’t, so the buyers should assume the risks of buying cosmetics that weren’t tested on animals.

    What say you on that?

  27. I have never understood why people get misty-eyed sentimental about rabbits.

    They are pests. They carry disease. They destroy crops. They foul food storages. They are extremely stupid and they do not show affection. [Any Auzzies feel free to add to the list.]

    Aside from being useful for testing mascara, their only good point is that they taste good.

  28. No eggs for you, Aresen. Jesus says you suck, too.

  29. Easter Bunny | November 20, 2007, 9:03pm | #

    No eggs for you, Aresen. Jesus says you suck, too.

    Thank you, Easter Bunny, for validating what I said about not showing affection.

  30. Uh . . .what was that on the news yesterday about over 140,000 tubes of eye makeup being recalled because it can cause blindness . . ?

    ALL makeup and ALL drugs are tested on animals — if not on Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail, then on Susan, Eileen and Mary. I vote that we test on the bunny rabbits, and the eyes have it!

  31. Worried about animal testing?
    If by “worry” you mean do I worry that they’ll stop it and people will go blind from untested products, then yes.

    Mildly disturbed by the idea of gerbils wearing lipstick?
    No, but I do wonder where they get those tiny makeup brushes.

  32. …and they do not show affection.

    But they do! A friend of mine has two rabbits. One could care less if you are there, but the other most definitely shows affection. Even without any treats in hand, which is more than I can say for some cats.

  33. “I have never understood why people get misty-eyed sentimental about rabbits.”

    This isn’t about pest control. Like thoreau said, if you want to buy cosmetics, that’s your business. I don’t see why you should have the right to inflict pain on another living creature to save your own skin. If you don’t want to take the risk, don’t wear the product. It’s pretty simple (and strikes me as eminently libertarian).

    Animals don’t have the same rights as people but I don’t see why people should be able to torture any living creature they like for their amusement or pleasure. Every living thing has the right to exist. If we’re going to kill them (or harm them), there ought to be a good reason. If you’re talking about a malaria-carrying mosquito, its being malarial is reason enough. But wanting pretty makeup doesn’t strike me as much of a reason to inflict pain on creatures that most definitely feel it. If their lack of intelligence entitles us to inflict whatever suffering we want on them, we could also use severely brain-damaged human beings. Anyone want to argue that’s what we should have done with Terri Schiavo?

    Unfortunately most people who read this will take it as some kind of nutbar rant about “animals-are-people-too.” They’re not, but they aren’t inanimate objects, either. If they feel the same pain you and I do, they are entitled not to have it inflicted without damned good reason.

  34. But is it “torture” to test lipstick on enemy combatants?

  35. See “fraternity hazing” and “getting prisoners a little wet.”

    And eating beef is cannibalism!

  36. They are pests. They carry disease. They destroy crops. They foul food storages. They are extremely stupid and they do not show affection. [Any Auzzies feel free to add to the list.]

    I’m Texan, not an Auzzie, but I’ll add that they breed like, well, rabbits.

  37. I knew a very friendly bunny rambo who used to run back & forth along the fence enthusiastically when people walked by.

  38. You’ll need your tin foil to keep your prozac in

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