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Whenever a company makes a new cosmetic or household product, like lipstick, shampoo or oven cleaner, before they can sell it to the public they have to prove that it is safe to use. Some companies try to prove it is safe by testing it on animals.

The most common tests used on animals are the Draize test and the LD 50 test.

Draize Test  The Draize test is usually performed on rabbits because they are very docile and have large eyes. The product which is being tested is dripped into the rabbits eyes and they are watched for a number of days to see how much damage is done to the eye. You know what it’s like when you have something in your eye that is irritating. Your eyes start to water. Unfortunately rabbits do not have tear ducts like us and are not able to wash the substance out of their eye and so it does more damage. Many of the rabbits go blind. 
LD 50 Test  Another common test is the LD 50, which stands for Lethal Dose 50 per cent. Lots of different animals are used for this test including rats, guinea pigs and even dogs. To perform this test the product is fed to the animals. The scientist forces the animals to eat more and more of it until half of them (which is 50 per cent) die. It’s an awful test for the animals as the substance, which could be oven cleaner or furniture polish, sometimes makes them vomit and have fits before they die. 
Luckily, both the Draize test and the LD 50 test have been banned in Victoria, although they do happen in other parts of Australia and around the world. What we need to remember is that most of the cosmetic and household products that we buy in the shops are from other parts of the world and have therefore been tested on animals. 

There are ways that companies can test their products without using animals but unfortunately they do not all use the alternative tests. They can test substances by using computers or tissue cultures, which is a way of growing cells in a laboratory. There are many companies that only use products that have been used all over the world for thousands of years so they have been proven to be safe. 

What can you do? 
You can help stop product-testing by refusing to buy products that have been tested on animals and also by encouraging your parents and friends to do the same. You can obtain a small booklet called the ‘Preferred Products List’ from Animals Australia or from Choose Cruelty Free. This booklet lists all the companies that do not test on animals. So if the product you want to buy is on the list you can be sure that it is cruelty-free. 

You can display a sticker or wear a t-shirt with a ‘Choose Cruelty Free’ logo to show people that you do not support cruel animal testing. 

Many people do not realize that by purchasing certain products they are keeping the cruel companies in business.  If we all stopped buying their products until they stop testing on animals they would have to listen to us all. 
What sorts of products are tested on animals? 
There are so many products that are tested on animals that it would be impossible to name them all here. They include: Cosmetics such as shampoo, lipstick, perfume and deodorant. 
Household products like oven cleaner, dishwashing liquid, washing detergent and furniture polish. Garden supplies such as fertilizer, snail pellets, weed killer and insect sprays. 
If a product like oven cleaner has been tested on animals, does that mean that it is safe if we swallow it? 
Definitely not!  We have to be very careful with all chemicals. They can still poison us. The companies say they test on animals to protect us but there are many companies that sell similar products that are safe to use and do not test them on animals.