Jenn (jennysteel) wrote in ratsnospos,

Because I love my ratties...

I'm sorry if this is inappropriate, but I feel it's important to spread the word. In case anyone's not aware of the Herbal Essences campaign - Herbal Essences force-fed butylparaben to pregnant rats to see if it harmed their developing offspring in a test that killed almost 100 pregnant mothers and their 1,447 babies.

We all love our ratties, so please go here - and sign the petition to stop Herbal Essences testing on animals.

PLEASE read under the cut for more info -
1. Why are you asking me to boycott Herbal Essences products?

We have direct evidence of animal testing of an ingredient found in Herbal Essences. This ingredient - butylparaben - was tested and declared safe many years ago. However, Herbal Essences force-fed butylparaben to pregnant rats to see if it harmed their developing offspring in a test that killed almost 100 pregnant mothers and their 1,447 babies.

A scientific expert and Government adviser on animal testing who has reviewed this experiment described it as "a profligate and wasteful use of animals."

We are urging people to boycott Herbal Essences shampoos to show their opposition to such unnecessary cruelty. Through publicity and loss of income, together we can encourage Herbal Essences to stop testing on animals.

2. So, what exactly happened to the animals in this test?

In the tests, 94 pregnant animals were placed in solitary confinement in wire cages, which is against best practice because the animals are known to suffer without the warmth and comfort of their fellow creatures. Their wire cages can also cause suffering due to foot ulcers and other injuries. The animals were then divided into 4 groups, each group to be force-fed a different dose of the chemical. Each day for 2 weeks, the chemical was poured through a tube shoved down their throats, similar to the process that geese endure in the production of foie gras pate. This can be a very stressful and painful procedure that causes damage to the throat and internal organs. Some of the animals suffered poisoning after being given massive doses that were hundreds of times higher than could possibly be consumed by humans.

Just before they were due to give birth, the animals suffered a painful and terrifying death in a carbon dioxide gas chamber. Incredibly, the 1,447 baby animals survived, but they were removed from the womb, killed, dismembered and disembowelled.

3. But I got the impression that Herbal Essences was a natural, eco-friendly brand?

Funnily enough, that's what Herbal Essences try to get you to believe with their adverts - with vague images of jungles, plants and animals. It's just empty marketing nonsense - just look at the back of the bottle - it's stuffed full of numerous cheap chemicals with the odd token herb thrown in! There's very little that's natural, environmental or ethical at all about Herbal Essences. We've discovered that many consumers are angry because they feel deceived by Herbal Essences' brand image.

4. But I thought that testing shampoos on animals was a thing of the past?

Unfortunately not. Although such tests have been effectively banned in Britain for ten years, most shampoos and other cosmetics* on sale in the UK are, like Herbal Essences, international brands who perform animal tests abroad.

5. Why did Herbal Essences carry out this animal test?

There has been some theoretical concern over certain possible effects of preservatives like butylparaben. However it has been used by humans for many years and is known to be safely metabolised by the human liver if swallowed. It has also been extensively investigated over many years both in vitro (test tube) and in previous animal experiments.

The conclusion of these latest tests? Yes, it is still safe!

One of our scientific consultants has stated "Given all that is known regarding paraben chemicals, the doses at which these effects can be expected, and the doses at which humans are typically exposed, this experiment appears to be completely without justification. It is the epitome of 'tick-box' animal testing - against Herbal Essences' stated commitment to 'thoughtful toxicology'".

Herbal Essences should (and could) have used non-animal methods to re-test this chemical. This example clearly shows that they are lying when they state: "We are committed to the elimination of animal testing for all components of cosmetic and personal care products."

A scientific expert and Government adviser has described these experiments as "a profligate and wasteful use of animals".

6. But they were 'only' rats, so what does it matter?

Gratuitous cruelty to any animal is wrong, full stop. There's a lot of ignorance and prejudice around about rats. In fact, rats are clean, lively, adaptable, highly intelligent and sociable creatures - living in large groups in nature. They have very complex relationships with other rats - their relationships are so important to them that there have been reports of rats dying from heartbreak after their partner has died. The stress and loneliness of the laboratory cage can cause severe suffering and death. Rats can also laugh and express joy.

They can also have a strong bond with humans. People who share their lives with them find that girl rats tend to enjoy climbing all over you, while the boys just relax and watch the television. They are sensitive individuals with their own unique personalities who deserve every chance of a full and happy life.

7. Was this just a one-off animal test by Herbal Essences?

Sadly, this animal test is just the tip of the iceberg. Most animal tests are never published and are kept secret. This particular test was conducted by a scientist from Procter & Gamble (P&G) - which is the USA-based multinational company that produces Herbal Essences. P&G have a policy of testing on animals, particularly when they want to put a brand new chemical into products like Herbal Essences as a way of boosting their sales. Each chemical may go through about 14 different types of animal test on various species such as mice, guinea pigs, rabbits, rats and sometimes dogs. The test involves things like dripping chemicals into the animals' eyes, rubbing the chemical into grazed skin, or different force-feeding tests - causing suffering and death to anything between 2000 and 6000 animals. Why should innocent animals suffer just for a new version of Herbal Essences? Haven't we got enough shampoo on the market?

8. So how can Herbal Essences get away with it?

Sadly, most people are unaware that it still goes on. Uncaged has relatively little money to publicise te truth, while Herbal Essences can spend millions of pounds on advertising. Herbal Essences earn millions from sales, but Uncaged is totally dependent on donations from compassionate individuals. That's why donating to Uncaged is so important - without donations we can't alert people to what's really happening, and Herbal Essences can get away with cruelty to defenceless animals.

Having said that, thanks to Uncaged's efforts, the public are becoming more aware of animals-tested products. We've embarked on a massive campaign to take the 'Boycott Herbal Essences' message directly to the people and we've had a tremendous response. The fact that most people agree with our campaign shows that it has great potential to succeed. What we need is your support through spreading the word and making a donation if possible.

9. But P&G claim that they only test on animals as a last resort - does this mean they really do care about animals and are doing their best to avoid cruelty?

As this animal test shows, no. P&G spend lots of money on clever PR to give the impression they care about animals. But their claims do not stand up to scrutiny. Far from animal testing being a last resort for P&G, they conduct gratuitous tests and promote animal testing by constantly inventing new chemicals to go in their shampoos and other products. This is what creates the legal pressure to do animal tests. They also conduct animal tests that are not required by law - the Herbal Essences case is just one example.

P&G have even been caught out trying to secretly lobby the European Union in support of animal testing on cosmetics. In reality, all they care about is maximising profits, and are happy to sacrifice animals in pursuit of that goal.

Hundreds of companies produce shampoos etc. without animal testing. The bottom line is that P&G could stop animal testing for Herbal Essences and other cosmetics immediately if they genuinely wanted to.

10. P&G state that they have spent millions of dollars on developing alternatives, doesn't that show how committed they are to stopping animal testing?

No. P&G could stop their animal testing immediately if they decided to use the thousands of existing ingredients that already have a proven safety record from being used by humans. The bottom line is that they put profits ahead of animals - it's pure greed.

P&G's own scientific papers show that some of these proposed 'alternatives' are just slightly less cruel types of animal test, rather than truly humane, non-animal alternatives. Furthermore, they are actually spending large sums of money developing new animal tests.

In fact, there are several reasons to be suspicious about their claim regarding spending on alternatives. Firstly, one of the reasons they say it is because they tested it on focus groups and found it was the most persuasive excuse they could give for their animal testing practices. Secondly, the figure they quote for alternatives spending changes from statement to statement, and they have produced no evidence to back up the claim. It seems more like cynical spin, not reliable fact.

Even if we accept P&G's claim at face value, then this translates to just 0.6% of their total spending on research. Even more startling, the amount spend by P&G on developing alternatives is approximately 1/1000, or 0.1%, of the amount that it spends on advertising. So their commitment is not quite so impressive when put in context.

11. What shampoos can I buy?

On the high street, Lush and Marks and Spencer shampoos have signed up to an independently verified policy which ensures their products are not associated with any animal testing. Our website at includes a list of some cruelty-free shampoos. Or you can order a comprehensive Compassionate Shopping Guide to the testing practices of shampoos and other consumer products by making a donation via our website.

12. Is there anything else I can do to save animals from such wanton cruelty?

* Visit our campaign website at where you can sign an online petition and send a protest email to Herbal Essences.

* Become a 'fan' of our 'Hurtful Essences' facebook page at . Facebook is a great way of spreading the word about the campaign and demonstrating to Herbal Essences how many people are boycotting them.

* Ask your MP to sign Early Day Motion 1279, 'Animal Testing of Cosmetics', in order to put pressure on the Government to enforce a Europe-wide ban on the sale of animal-tested shampoos like Herbal Essences and other cosmetics. This would pile huge pressure on companies to stop such unnecessary cruelty as they would be excluded from a multi-billion pound market for their products. You can lobby your MP via our website at or contact us if you would like a hard copy sample letter and need to find out who your MP is.

* At the end of the day, defending animals from industrialised and entrenched forms of cruelty is a long-term battle, and it's really important to lend consistent support to Uncaged in our dedicated efforts to protect animals from cruelty. The best way of doing this is by setting up a monthly direct debit donation.

x-posted all over the place, sorry.
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