The VegNews animal testing legislation controversy: A response to the response

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Whether you’re a vegan, vegetarian, animal-rights activist, or combination thereof, you got there because you asked questions. You questioned yourself about why you loved some animals and ate others, and you questioned others about why humankind uses animals for clothing, for medical testing, or for entertainment. Questioning the status quo is exactly why many of us are the people we are today—and we should never let that quality go, especially questioning those who would hold a place of influence in the vegan/vegetarian and animal-rights community. This is why I was compelled to question VegNews’ judgment and journalistic standards with their Skin Deep article from the June/August 2011 issue.

In my article, “VegNews Magazine Piece Endorses Animal Testing Legislation,” I questioned Jennifer Chen’s work—of which lacked research, credibility, and shockingly, gave a voice to legislation efforts that would cost hundreds of thousands of animal lives to satisfy the re-testing requirements of H.R. 2359, the “Safe Cosmetics Act.” It’s important that you know more about what drove me to write the article, and the facts that clearly demonstrate the lack of effort and honesty in Chen’s Skin Deep piece. If you wrote VegNews asking for a response to my article, you probably got something like this in reply,

----- Original Message -----
From: Elizabeth Castoria
Date: Tuesday, August 16, 2011 1:06 pm
Subject: Letter to VegNews
To: ………………………

Hi ……,

Thanks so much for your note, and we're more than happy to offer
a response. Of course, VegNews does not support animal testing.
The author of the article on toxic cosmetics, a VegNews staff
member and accomplished journalist, researched this story
tirelessly and did an excellent job reporting on the lack of
regulation in the personal care industry.

One sentence in the article mentions the Environmental Working
Group, and it is not an endorsement. We simply state that the
group conducted a survey rating commercial sunscreens, and
included many cruelty-free brands in that survey. That's all.
Feel free to read the article here, starting on page 80:

http://veg.gy/niYME

Should you have any further questions, please let us know!

Most sincerely,
Elizabeth

I removed out the recipient’s name, as a reader forwarded the email (thank you!) Castoria’s response surprised me, especially the claim that we’ve had no correspondence, or that I didn’t respond to their efforts to answer my questions on Facebook. Castoria was the first person to write back to me regarding my concerns over the Skin Deep article,

----- Original Message -----
From: Elizabeth Castoria
Date: Mon, Jul 11, 2011 at 9:17 AM
Subject: Re: Letter regarding "Skin Deep" article in July-August 2011 issue.
To: Nathan Rivas

Thank you for your letter to the editor! Reader feedback is very important to us at VegNews, and we appreciate your taking the time to write.

All the best,
Elizabeth
. . . . . . . . . .

Elizabeth Castoria
Managing Editor
VegNews Magazine
415-665-NEWS

Best Lifestyle Magazine, 2009
Best Website, 2009
Best Design, 2008

Visit us online
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On Jul 10, 2011, at 10:23 PM, Nathan Rivas wrote:

>
> To the Crew at VegNews,
>

Now we know that Castoria isn’t being straight about prior correspondence with my concerns. What about her claim that I didn’t respond to their attempt to answer my questions on Facebook? Well, that’s not true either,





















That gap at the end of my post is the equivalent of digital crickets chirping. VegNews had no response. Castoria’s reply to subscribers is important as it demonstrates of a trend of how VegNews “respects” it readers by “tweaking” the facts to suit their objectives. Now let’s take a closer look at Jennifer Chen’s article, and Elizabeth Castoria’s denials about, Skin Deep.

As I mentioned above, questions and accountability are core to a life of veganism and animal rights advocacy. When I wrote that Chen got her facts wrong, and in fact is endorsing legislation with horrific animal testing consequences, I wasn’t kidding—this is not my interpretation of her Skin Deep article, these are the facts, and it’s crucial we understand just how badly Chen has betrayed your trust in VegNews through a lack of accountability. So we are going to complete the job that Chen failed, and do the research ourselves to find the truth behind Skin Deep. It’s evident from VegNews past actions, they are not above their own interpretation of the journalistic integrity. The first two sentences in Chen’s piece,

Before hitting the beach this summer, many women will likely slather on a healthy dose of sunscreen, apply a fresh coat of lipstick, or experiment with a new shade of eyeshadow—and in the process layer about 160 chemicals onto their faces. Many women’s daily beauty regimen exposes them to a vast array of chemicals, while men on average use about 80 different compounds.

This set my BS meter off, it’s false, and a common scare tactic used to push H.R. 2359, the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011. Allow me a moment to geek out on you when I show you something neat to reinforce the point. If you clicked on that link, you will see all of the chemical compounds that make up an orange. There are 310. Here is another favorite, olive oil (actually, that’s just the olive fruit, but largely the same properties,) with an even 100 chemical compounds. These are just two ingredients, orange and olive oil, common in many skin care products (the rad ones, anyway,) and we’ve already topped 400 chemical compounds. We wouldn’t consider orange extract and olive oil dangerous, and it’s silly to think them harmful because they’re loaded with chemicals. I wanted to give Chen the benefit of the doubt, but she continued,

Since the [FDAs] legal authority over cosmetics is different than other products it regulates, it can be hard to know exactly what harm these ingredients might do to our bodies. According to the FDAs website, “Cosmetic products and ingredients are not subject to FDA premarket approval authority…”

This is true. Premarket approval should not be required of cosmetics or the majority of skin care, because that is silly in most instances as pre-market approval is a process that applies only to drugs and medical devices. Premarket approval process consists of four phases (often referred to as clinical trials,)

1. Phase 1 involves 20 to 80 participants. They may be healthy volunteers or sometimes they are patients. The purpose of these studies is to evaluate the
a. Metabolism
b. Structure-reactivity relationships
c. Mechanism of action and
d. Side effects of the drug.
2. Phase 2 involves several hundred patients. It is to determine the efficacy of a certain drug to treat patients with a specific disease or condition. Various doses at this stage of the trials are used. It is designed to test the short-term side effects at a given dose.
3. Phase 3 involves several hundred to thousands of people even in different countries. It is typically a double-blind, placebo controlled investigation. There are some far-reaching effects that are studied. The larger the population, the more valid are the statistics governing the trials. This phase of study provides more information about the effects and safety of the drug. Scientists can then extrapolate the results of the clinical trial to the general population.
4. In phase 4 trials, they are post-approval trials that are sometimes a condition attached by the FDA to the approval.

The clinical trials lie at the heart of the regulatory program for drugs. Data for the application must come from rigorous trials (FDA Drug Approval Process.)

Is a clinical trial necessary for blush or hair gel? No. Chen has confused “premarket approval” for regulation, of which the FDA has had considerable requirements of cosmetics and skin care since 1938. I covered this in my last article; it’s the FDAs General Regulations for the Enforcement of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act. The FDAs breakdown for consumers, of which specifically applies to cosmetics (and is really, really detailed): Cosmetic Labeling Regulations as Published in Title 21, Code of Federal Regulations, Sections 701, 740. The FDA developed these in 1938, and they’ve been updated in 1967, mid-1972, 1973, 1974, 1977, 1982, 1987, and recently this year. Surprise for Chen, however, as sunscreen ingredients, cosmetic preservatives, lip balms, diaper ointments, toothpaste/oral care, antiperspirants, acne treatments and colorants do absolutely require pre-market trials (it’s all there on the FDA regulations site. Here’s another “at-a-glance” summary!)

Chen continues her confusion with, “…allows the $50 billion beauty industry to put unlimited amounts of chemicals into cosmetics without any testing or inspections before the products are marketed to the public.” This is false, and Jennifer Chen would have known this had she done any research into the FDA Cosmetic Labeling Regulations. She would have found that every ingredient in every cosmetic is required to have extensive data proving it safe in the product. Most of this data already exists for the skin care and cosmetics we use through decades of animal testing, and all of it is easily available to any consumer who requests it from any skin care company, or in the International Journal of Toxicology.

“Beauty companies are not required to release ingredient data or even register with the FDA.” Again, beauty companies are absolutely required to release all ingredient data—it’s all in the lengthy section of the FDA Cosmetic Labeling Regulations cleverly titled “Ingredient Labeling!”

How could Chen get these facts so wrong, despite Elizabeth Castoria’s claim of “tireless research” for the Skin Deep article? Chen may have tirelessly researched her work, but she did so from only one (!!!) source, the Environmental Working Group (EWG.) This is clear, as the EWG relies on the average consumer’s lack of knowledge of regulatory affairs, and their susceptibility to the emotional fear-based tactics used to push the work and legislation by the EWG. The name of Chen’s article isn’t even original; it’s a reference to the EWGs website, Skin Deep Cosmetics Database.

These are the same tactics used to tell America “Great cheese comes from happy cows in California.” Vegans, vegetarians and animal rights advocates have been in the cross hairs of these tactics, of which we’re told that we must be concerned with calcium and B12 deficiency, and that meat and dairy are necessary to maintain a healthy diet. The EWG uses these tactics to maintain enormous funding & donation levels (as mentioned in my last article, the top 8 of the EWG make $1,000,000+ annually) and to ensure the American public is so frightened, they’ll accept legislation like H.R. 2359 without question of its consequences and requirements of animal testing. If the people we trust to speak on these issues, like VegNews, won’t look at this information with a critical eye (or any fact checking,) what are the implications of whether they deserve your trust?

Chen goes on to confirm her use of the EWG as her inspiration by paraphrasing their long debunked tactics; retinyl palmitate is poison in sunscreens, oxybenzone is poison, parabens are cancerous, phthalates and triclosan included. Except that independent experts disagree with these claims—experts on a global scale have repeatedly voiced that these ingredients pose no risk in skin care products. It’s actually challenging to find information that agrees with Chen and the EWG that’s actually applicable to human usage of these ingredients. Here are some of the best and largest collections of independent data (again, from my first article):


The EWG relies on animal testing data, of which researchers inject ingredients into dogs, cats, rabbits and mice, or they forced these animals to consume massive doses of substances to demonstrate harmful effects. It’s safe to say that every member of our community advocates for the rights of animals, and it is not new knowledge to us that this kind of data does not apply to humans. Human data does give us a much more accurate depiction of safety of a substance—and there has not been a single instance of cancer, or disease or death from modern cosmetics or skin care in decades of daily use. In fact, Cancer.org states between the years of 1990 to 2007, overall rates dropped by 22% for men and 14% for women.

The hidden trend of Chen’s “tirelessly” researched piece (reinforcing her reliance on the EWG for her information,) is the complete lack of any reference to back her claims. That’s curious, as she’s made some significant and frightening statements like, “…especially when the FDA does not evaluate 89 percent of the 10,500 ingredients used in beauty-care products.” Except that’s a fabrication, entirely made-up numbers used by the EWG with no evidence to corroborate. Chen would have known this had she done any research whatsoever outside the EWG.

Chen also falls for another EWG tactic, comparing the EU list of banned ingredients (1,100, but it’s actually 1328, the incorrect number 1,100, is what is stated by the EWG,) with those of the US (she states 11, but it’s actually 14, Chen's incorrect number11 is what is stated by the EWG.) This appears quite alarming; until we see that the FDA banned only ingredients used in cosmetics at one time (e.g. nitrosamines, musk ambrette, dioxane, chloroform, vinyl chloride, etc,) while the EU bans any ingredients not approved in cosmetics (warfarin, radioactive materials, and asbestos.) Do we really need toxicity testing on animals to tell us not to add asbestos and radioactive substances to shower gel? Remember, the FDA already requires safety data on every ingredient used in skin care products and cosmetics, and much of this data already exists—no need for more animal deaths.

Now, we’ve proved that Jennifer Chen relied solely on the EWG for her article, and that she did no fact checking whatsoever in Skin Deep. Despite not crediting the EWG with this use, it’s very clear she’s attempted to convey fear, and that additional legislation is necessary. What could be the answer? Chen has a solution (emphasis mine!)

Despite, or perhaps in light of these frightening statistics, some US legislators sought stricter rules over the cosmetics industry. The US House of Representatives introduced the Safe Cosmetics Act in July 2010 to establish a safety-assessment system to begin phasing out harmful chemicals. The act would give the FDA more authority, require companies to register, fully disclose ingredients, and pay fees toward safety evaluation, among other guidelines. The act would also help reduce animal testing, since it requires the Department of Health and Human Services to publish a list of non-animal evaluation methods and encourages the beauty industry to find testing alternatives.

Jennifer Chen and Elizabeth Castoria claim that this is not meant to convey they support the failed 2010 bill by the EWG, or the 2011 version, H.R. 2359. This is an incredible claim, as Chen has spent two pages telling the reader how dangerous and unregulated our skin care products are, offering a solution of EWGs legislation, and this isn’t meant to convey endorsement? Chen doesn’t mention the enormity of animal testing requirements included in this legislation, and their readers certainly aren’t going to suspect that Chen would knowingly endorse such efforts. That Chen thinks H.R. 2359 would reduce animal testing is astounding, and yet more evidence that she’s failed the readers of VegNews.

What exactly does H.R. 2359 state that would require such a magnitude of animal testing? It’s nothing the EWG is going to be forthcoming with—it requires a bit of reading and research. SO, let’s complete the work that Chen should have done for the readers of VegNews. H.R. 2359 is roughly 38 pages, but the important parts where animal testing is concerned are covered in a few primary sections (my writing in red.) This is precisely why I am so passionate about this latest screw-up by VegNews.

“subchapter B—Regulation of cosmetics

Definition of 611(7):

“(7) REASONABLE CERTAINTY OF NO HARM.—With respect to an ingredient or cosmetic, the term ‘reasonable certainty of no harm’ means that no harm will be caused to members of the general population or any vulnerable population by aggregate exposure to the cosmetic or ingredient, taking into account possible harmful effects from—

“(A) low-dose exposures to the cosmetic or ingredient; or

As the EWG hasn’t defined harm, this can mean anything from an allergic reaction to a rash. I like the scent of lime in body lotion or hair products, but those with rosacea or eczema cannot tolerate most many natural extracts. As the EWG has established 1-in-a-million reaction guideline, this means that no more than one person in one million may have a reaction to a substance. This also means that to establish this one-in-a-million “harm” reaction, an ingredient must have a test group of one million!

“(B) additive effects resulting from repeated exposure to the cosmetic or ingredient over time; or

“(C) cumulative exposure resulting from all sources, including both the cosmetic or ingredient and environmental sources.

When you buy shampoo, H.R. 2359 will now require that Aubrey Organics, or Garnier, now predict your total environmental exposure to the ingredients in their product. For example, we’ll use the citrus example above; a body lotion that uses citrus extracts must also account for the total exposure of an individual and formulate their products accordingly to ensure there isn't exposure beyond the threshold that is set above in the 1-in-a million scenario. Environmental exposure includes what you eat, drink, your genetics, and on and on.

“(8) REPRODUCTIVE OR DEVELOPMENTAL TOXICITY.—With respect to an ingredient or cosmetic, the term ‘reproductive or developmental toxicity’ means that the ingredient or cosmetic can contribute to biologically adverse effects on the development of humans or animals, including effects on the female or male reproductive system, the endocrine system, fertility, pregnancy, pregnancy outcomes, or modifications in other functions of the body that are dependent on the integrity of the reproductive system as well normal fetal development.

Here we go with animal research—the EWG is using studies conducted on animals (dogs, mice, etc.) that are force fed pure substances used in cosmetics, or injected with massive doses of ingredients and develop “reproductive toxicity.” This doesn’t remotely apply to how we use personal care products, and it’s a favorite tactic of the EWG to push this legislation. No human has ever shown developmental toxicity from their facial or body care products, and with this bill, cosmetic companies must now prove that every ingredient used in their products (whether it’s L’Oreal, Urban Decay or Aubrey Organics) has no reproductive effects. The FDA does not consider non-animal alternatives acceptable in reproductive toxicity testing.

We already know that animals do not respond to natural extracts or synthetic compounds in the same way as humans—many beneficial ingredients for humans are fatal to animals. And if the claims made by the EWG were true, we would all have seen massive reproductive defects in employees of cosmetics giants like L’Oreal, Proctor & Gamble, Estee Lauder, etc. as they work with ingredients of cosmetics regularly. It’s just nuts (sorry, I am going to get worked up at times writing about this bill.)

“SEC. 613. INGREDIENTS LABELS ON COSMETICS.

In my previous article, I mentioned that the FDA already has very strict requirements on declaration of ingredients, and labeling of skin care products, but this section is important for its requirement of animal testing.

“(a) In general.—Subject to subsections (b) and (c), the Secretary shall require that the label on each package of cosmetics (including cosmetics distributed for retail sale and professional use) bears a declaration of the name of each ingredient in such cosmetic in descending order of predominance.

“(b) Adjustments for label size.—

“(1) RULES FOR SMALL PRODUCTS.—Not later than 6 months after the date of the enactment of this subchapter, the Secretary shall issue regulations that apply to any cosmetic for which the product packaging is not of sufficient size to bear or contain a label that meets the requirements of subsection (a).

“(2) REQUIREMENTS FOR PUBLIC DISCLOSURE.—Such regulations shall establish requirements for listing ingredients on the label of such cosmetics and additional requirements for public disclosure of the ingredients in such cosmetics.

“(c) Special rule for contaminants.—The Secretary shall require, in the case of a contaminant, that a contaminant be declared on the label of a cosmetic, in the same manner as an ingredient under subsection (a), if the contaminant is present at the lower of the following levels:

“(1) A level that is greater than one part-per-billion by weight of product formation.

One part per billion = 0.000000001 of an ingredient to test to ensure that it is not considered a contaminant. To put this in another way, a tomato is comprised of hundreds of individual chemicals, and getting all the way down to parts per million, you begin to see traces of natural elements like lead, barium, and arsenic (which are in everything and everyone at that level.) How much testing must be done to ensure that parts-per-million of lead, barium and arsenic are not harmful enough to be considered contaminants?

What really makes me upset is that this information already exists for synthetic ingredients, and have for some time! However, natural compounds do not have the same testing (the individual chemicals of an orange, for example, or olive oil, are known, but no one is breaking olive oil down into chemical components and testing these.) It would be a new era of animal research to establish this same level of data for natural compounds, and tragically unnecessary.

“SEC. 614. SAFETY STANDARD AND GOOD MANUFACTURING PRACTICES”

“(a) Safety standard.—

“(1) IN GENERAL.—Taking into account the expected use of a cosmetic, the Secretary shall establish a safety standard that, with respect to a cosmetic or an ingredient in a cosmetic provides a reasonable certainty of no harm (as such term is defined in section 611(7)) from exposure to the cosmetic or ingredient and protects the public from any known or anticipated adverse health effects associated with the cosmetic or ingredient.

“(2) STANDARDS FOR ESTABLISHING SAFETY STANDARD.—In establishing the safety standard under paragraph (1), the Secretary shall ensure that—

“(A) the likely level of exposure to all sources of the ingredient or cosmetic (including environmental sources) that will result under the safety standard presents not more than a 1 in a million risk for any adverse health effect in any vulnerable population at the lower 95th percentile confidence interval; or

“(B) the safety standard results in exposure to the amount or concentration of an ingredient or cosmetic that is shown to produce no adverse health effects, incorporating an margin of safety of at least 1,000 and considering the impact of cumulative exposure from all sources (including environmental sources).

It just isn’t possible to test enough to ensure that not one person in a million will have some sort of reaction to a skin care product or cosmetic. This would mean that someone with a nut allergy, or strawberry allergy, would prohibit skin care companies from using either of those ingredients.

“SEC. 615. COSMETIC AND INGREDIENT SAFETY INFORMATION.

“(a) Required submission of all safety information.—

“(1) IN GENERAL.—Manufacturers of cosmetics and ingredients shall submit to the Secretary (in an electronic format that the Secretary shall determine) all data and information that the manufacturer can access regarding the safety of the—

“(A) ingredients listed on the cosmetic label under section 613 for a cosmetic; and
This is where the animal testing requirements really hit the fan. All skin care and cosmetic companies are required to test every ingredient and ingredient of ingredients to the FDA. The sheer magnitude of tests would overwhelm the few non-animal alternatives recognized by the FDA (and in most instances, no alternatives at all, which we will see shortly.)

“(B) cosmetic itself.

This is identical to over the pre-market testing of which we reviewed earlier. Clinical trials for body lotion—this is really something that we want? This is dually concerning; for not only the animal testing issue, but also what this would do to the price of our products. I know I like my American Crew Gel at $11.99, not $50.

“(2) REQUIRED INFORMATION.—The required data and information under paragraph (1) shall include, for each ingredient in a cosmetic and for the cosmetic, the following:

“(A) Functions and uses.

“(B) Data and information on the physical, chemical, and toxicological properties of each such ingredient or cosmetic.

“(C) Exposure and fate information.

“(D) Results of all safety tests that the manufacturer can access or has conducted.

“(E) Any other information used to substantiate the safety of such ingredient and cosmetic.

This information is already required by the FDA, the General Regulations for the Enforcement of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act, and the Cosmetic Labeling Regulations as Published in Title 21, Code of Federal Regulations, Sections 701, 740. I can’t make this any clearer for Chen and VegNews.

“(3) DEADLINES.—

“(A) INITIAL SUBMISSION.—A manufacturer shall submit the data and information required under paragraph (1)—

“(i) in the case of an ingredient or cosmetic which is marketed for sale in interstate commerce on or before the date of the enactment of this subchapter, not later than 1 year after such date; and

“(ii) in the case of an ingredient or cosmetic which is not marketed for sale on or before such date—

“(I) not later than the end of the 14-month period beginning on the date of the enactment of this subchapter; or

“(II) if the ingredient or cosmetic is first marketed for sale in interstate commerce after the end of the period described in subclause (I), not later than 60 days after the date on which such ingredient or cosmetic is first marketed for sale.

This is what makes animal testing alternatives for toxicity testing (LD 50,) or carcinogenic, and reproductive toxicity tests that are not yet recognized by the FDA impossible. There are no recognized options by the FDA that do not require animal lives, and the EWG is absolutely aware that none will be found in the short time permitted to cosmetic companies, or the massive amount of testing required. How could Chen miss this, or fail to research this issue? One thing is for sure, those in the business of animal testing sales and upkeep are sure to be all in to get this passed.

Unfortunately, the vast amount of natural extracts and compounds do not have this data available (because no one has yet seen the need to break down flowers or fruit compounds for such testing.)

“(B) UPDATES.—

“(i) IN GENERAL.—Subject to clause (ii), a manufacturer shall update the data and information submitted under subparagraph (A) annually.

“SEC. 616. LISTS OF INGREDIENTS AND REQUIRED RESPONSES.

“(a) Placement on list.—

“(1) IN GENERAL.—Based on an initial review and evaluation of an ingredient under subsection (c), the Secretary shall place the ingredient on one of the following lists:

“(A) The prohibited and restricted list under subsection (b).

“(B) The safe without limits list under subsection (c).

“(C) The priority assessment list under subsection (d).

“(2) CONSIDERATIONS.—In determining the placement of an ingredient on a list under subsection (a), the Secretary shall consider whether the ingredient—

“(A) reacts with other substances to form harmful contaminants;

“(B) is found to be present in the body through biomonitoring;

“(C) is found in drinking water or air;

“(D) is a known or suspected neurological or immunological toxicant, respiratory asthmagen, carcinogen, teratogen, or endocrine disruptor, or have other toxicological concerns (including reproductive or developmental toxicity); or

This sounds like a good thing—however, this is data that already exists for ingredients used in skin care (again with the retesting, which has unfortunately already cost untold animal testing research.)

“SEC. 624. ANIMAL TESTING ALTERNATIVES

“(a) In general.—To minimize the use of animal testing of ingredients and cosmetics, the Secretary shall—

“(1) require, where practicable, alternative testing methods that—

WHERE PRACTICAL, i.e. the enormous amounts of tests per ingredient make all alternatives impractical

“(A) do not involve the use of an animal to test the chemical substance;

The FDA requires, for recognition, all toxicity testing to use live animals.

“(B) provide information that is equivalent or superior in scientific quality to the animal testing method; and

Also untrue, as there will be no time to test non-animal alternatives for comparison to the current “gold standard” of animal testing by the FDA.

“(C) use fewer animals than conventional animal-based tests when nonanimal methods are impracticable, including the use of tests that combine multiple endpoints; and

“(2) encourage, where practicable—

“(A) estimation of toxicological properties of a chemical through the use of testing information for 1 or more structurally similar chemicals where such estimates provide information of sufficient scientific quality;

Again, toxicology testing is only permitted with live animals for recognition by the FDA.

“(B) the formation of industry consortia to conduct testing to avoid duplication of tests; and

“(C) funding for research and validation of alternative test methods, in accordance with this subsection.

This is the whole issue with non-animal alternatives, too little funding. What do you think will happen when testing requirements increase thousands of folds if this bill passes? Animal testing care and upkeep is a very profitable industry, and that’s political pressure that isn’t going anywhere with a boon like this.

“(b) List of alternative testing methods.—Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this subchapter, and triennially thereafter, the Secretary shall publish a list of the alternative testing methods described in subsection (a).

How many animals are going to be killed in that year?

As I mentioned in my first article, I do not disagree that our skin care products and cosmetics should have better transparency. I strongly believe that a consumer should know the animal testing status of a company in no-nonsense language, if a company claims an organic status, this definition should be better understood, and the sustainability of ingredients of critical importance. What Chen has endorsed, and what the EWG would propose in H.R. 2359 is inexcusable for its animal testing requirements, and it won’t increase the safety of products that are already safe to begin with.

We know that the degree of which Jessica Chen and VegNews failed the vegan/vegetarian and animal-rights community with the Skin Deep article is enormous. VegNews and Chen have displayed a consistent penchant to take liberties with the facts, and this is shameful. Now that we’ve really completed the research Chen and Castoria claimed to have done, it’s time to start asking questions of VegNews and holding them accountable to the journalistic standards we expect of such a publication.

If you would like to read Skin Deep, Elizabeth Castoria was good enough to supply those who wrote to her with a link to an electronic version of the June/August 2011 issue. As VegNews has appeared to voice the importance of the facts of this issue, we’ll assume that they will keep this link active! Should the link stop working, please contact me at nathan@thisdishisveg.com for a PDF version.


Nathan Rivas
Nathan is a passionate animal advocate and vegan in the Seattle-area, who lives with a crazed dachshund, an enormous Maine coon and a judgemental short haired black cat. Nathan graduated with a Bachelors of Science (summa cum laude) from Northeastern University. He is preparing for his Masters of Science program in the fall and likes to make jokes that involve the chemical compound arsole (and is totally addicted to gardein).

Photo credit: Screen capture

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