Bolt’s real agenda

Andrew Dempster writes: Re. “Bolt v Langton and the ABC” (Tuesday). There’s been plenty of discussion about whether Bolt’s cry-baby antics are simply an attempt to steal more oxygen, but I can see it for what it really is: a cynical attempt to wrap up early the “big one”: Crikey‘s Arsehat of the Year …

Who benefits from animal testing?

Roland Lever writes: Re. “Crikey Clarifier: will we ban animal testing for cosmetics?” (yesterday). As someone involved in the supply of ingredients to the cosmetics industry for some 30 years, it looks to me like this article goes nowhere. I would be surprised if any animal testing on cosmetics is done in Australia — the article suggests you have been unable to find any. Local manufacturers are quite happy to have animal testing banned — it saves money and bother. They just launch their products untested on the market, with the claim “not tested on animals”!

Treating cosmetics as hazardous chemicals by NICNAS (as your article points out) has  pretty much wrecked what remains of the industry in Australia anyhow, and most products are now manufactured offshore, where it’s cheaper and impossible to supervise. The small stub of surviving local manufacturers uses mostly formulations developed overseas — they have no real access to animal testing history (if such a thing exists).

As no one can tell whether an imported finished product contains ingredients tested on animals, local legislation is just silly and unenforceable. The reason Estee Lauder says it still tests on animals is because it is required by law to ensure its products are safe. Here’s a thing: L’Oreal’s lawyers insist all ingredients are tested on animals. The Body Shop (owned by L’Oreal) insists no ingredients are tested on animals. So a new ingredient submitted to L’Oreal is tested on animals (some secret side-alley contract lab in Switzerland, perhaps …) and is accepted. After all, if you develop an interesting new ingredient, L’Oreal is your largest potential customer. You then simply change the product trade name and submit it to The Body Shop, as it has not been tested on animals. The Body Shop kind of knows this, so they are confident in choosing the new ingredient, knowing it’s both safe and ethically pure. But they have a declaration from the supplier that it has not been tested on animals. And … L’Oreal is active in the dermatologicaltissue engineering and pharmaceutical fields, so their product development can be done under the umbrella of “therapeutic goods”, which can be tested on animals. Just how an incompetent bunch of regulators could stop this is beyond me — but then they get paid as long as they keep everyone stirred up.

I imagine they don’t really care, they’re just doing their job (whatever that may be — there’s no accountability). What is probably closer to the truth is that cosmetic companies hope to be forced by popular demand to stop animal testing. I’d love to have my rather cynical views proved wrong.

Let’s not rush into total war

Niall Clugston writes: Re. “European Union to Ukraine: sorry, you’re on your own” (yesterday). It is unsurprising that the EU is reluctant to take on Russia, a nuclear-armed superpower, over territory where the population seems largely pro-Russian. It’s easy for Donnacha O Beachain to point out how appeasement of Hitler failed Czechoslovakia. But the British and French ultimatum didn’t save Poland, either. It was years of hard fighting, in places like Crimea, which destroyed the German armies.

I think the world can be forgiven for not rushing into total war and for being slow to accept that Putin, like Saddam Hussein before him, is a new Hitler.

Peter Fray

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