In an unusual scenario, eight dogs in New York were made to protest in front of the United Nations headquarters against cosmetic testing on animals, as part of a campaign by The Body Shop and Cruelty-Free International, which works to end animal experiments.
In the world's first animal protest, eight dogs of different breeds were trained to stand outside the UN headquarters with miniature banners around their neck displaying messages such as 'Ban Animal Testing' and 'Down With Cruel Cosmetics'.
As per a Humane Society International report, that works across issues of inhumane practices against animals, cosmetic testing harms about 2 lakh animals every year with a majority of them losing lives due to adverse effects of chemicals.
"We designed the campaign in June 2017 with a target of 8 million signatures to be presented to the United Nations and about 4.1 million signatures have been gathered so far," The Body Shop India Marketing Head Aradhika Mehta told PTI.
The campaign titled 'Forever Against Animal Testing' is jointly undertaken by The Body Shop and Cruelty-Free International, an organisation that works to end testing on animals.
Although a few countries including India have banned animal testing for examining the safety and hypoallergenic properties of products to be used by humans, 80 percent of countries still have no laws against cosmetic animal tests.
"It is indeed ironical that on one hand we keep dogs for their loyalty and call them human being's best friend, on the other hand, we make them subject to such cruelty who cannot speak for themselves," Mehta said.
She further said the reason to choose dogs over any other animal was that they can be easily trained and made to do what trainers want them to do.
Once the petition reaches 8 million signatures, The Body Shop and Cruelty-Free International will present it to the United Nations, calling for an international convention to ban animal testing on cosmetics to protect millions of animals around the world.
Usually, animal tests for cosmetics include skin and eye irritation tests where chemicals are rubbed onto the shaved skin or dripped into the eyes, repeated oral force-feeding studies lasting weeks or months to look for signs of general illness or specific health hazards, such as cancer or birth defects, the report by Humane Society International says.
Other tests include lethal dose tests, in which animals are forced to swallow massive amounts of a test chemical to determine the dose that causes death which can lead to blindness, swollen eyes, sore bleeding skin, internal bleeding and organ damage, birth defects, convulsions and death.