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This Mother's Day, Choose To Be Cruelty-Free

05/12/2017 05:08 EDT | Updated 05/12/2017 05:09 EDT

A mother's love is universal, and animals are no exception. But sadly, in laboratories across Canada, female rabbits, guinea pigs and rats are confined in barren cages and bred for the purposes of testing cosmetics and their ingredients. This senseless suffering continues despite steadfast opposition from the great majority of Canadians, and the fact that companies could just as easily choose from among thousands of available, safe ingredients that require no further testing.

Rabbits are naturally social, intelligent and inquisitive animals. They lick to show affection and need constant companionship so they don't get lonely. They purr just like cats and when they're happy, they express joy by jumping, twisting and flicking their feet.

mother rabbit

(Photo: Stephanieanjo via Getty Images)

But in a lab, a pregnant rabbit is deprived of ever meeting -- let alone bonding with -- her offspring. Instead she is force-fed cosmetic ingredients and killed the day before she is expected to give birth so that her babies can be removed from her womb and evaluated for signs of possible birth defects. Pregnant rats may endure similar experiments in an effort to bring a new cosmetic ingredient to market.

Rats, without companionship, can become lonely and depressed. They are most happy in groups, called a "mischief," and when playing they can make sounds of laughter. They like sleeping curled up together, and dream just like us.

But a "lab rat" is denied the ability to fulfill her natural instincts, forced to live in fear and endure pain during toxicity tests designed to find out how much of a cosmetic chemical will kill her and measure how long it took.

Guinea pigs endure a similar fate. They have test substances rubbed on their shaved skin to determine whether a cosmetic chemical causes an allergic reaction.

But, guinea pigs are very affectionate, curious by nature, and incredibly sensitive to loud noises. They can accurately remember their tracks and are agile swimmers. They squeal, chirp and rumble, purr to express themselves and stretch out when happy and relaxed.

You have the power to help end this cruelty.

Many of these social animals are kept alone in plastic cages no larger than a shoebox and are left to suffer in agony, without pain relief or a second thought, for the shampoo and soap we use daily.

But you have the power to help end this cruelty.

By supporting the Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act, currently being debated in our federal Senate, you can effect real change for animals in Canada. Passing this legislation would permanently ban the use of animals to test cosmetics and ingredients, as well as the sale of newly animal-tested cosmetics in Canada, bringing our country into line with more than 30 other progressive nations that have already done the same. More than 110,000 Canadians from coast to coast have called on our government to #BeCrueltyFree, and you can add your voice at becrueltyfree.ca.

No animal deserves to be blinded, poisoned or killed in cruel and obsolete tests when proven -- and often scientifically superior -- alternative approaches are available. Three-dimensional skin models (e.g. EpiDerm) made from human skin donated after surgery have been shown to better predict skin irritation in humans than their cruel predecessors. Similar non-animal models exist for evaluating eye irritation, skin allergy, skin absorption, genetic toxicity and sunlight induced "phototoxicity." Due to this type of innovation, the cruelty-free market is growing every day, with more than 500 cruelty-free cosmetic brands in North America alone (to see a partial list, click here).

Today, more than 1.8 billion people live in countries that have outlawed cruel cosmetics.

This Mother's Day, help us end the suffering here in Canada by signing the #BeCrueltyFree petition to have the Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act enacted into law, and remember to always choose cruelty-free products!

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