(ANIMAL NEWS) LONDON— Jacqueline Traide is one brave woman who let a fake laboratory researcher choke, force feed, shave, and all around mistreat her for 10 hours in front of hundreds of people. The scene took place in a window display as passersby on one of London’s busiest streets looked on horrified. The shocking display was all in the name of putting an end to the cruel practice of animal testing. Jacqueline agreed to be a volunteer for Lush Cosmetics to help in the campaign to finally end animal testing. The suffering she went through reflects the suffering hundreds of animals go through in laboratories everyday for the sake of lipstick or mascara. To make a difference, only buy products from companies that don’t test on animals, and boycott those that do. Read on to learn more about the protest and to view the graphic video and pictures. — Global Animal
Daily Mail, Paul Harris
They dragged her along with a rope around her neck and pushed her down on a bench.
It was feeding time for Jacqueline Traide and you could tell from the look on her face she was terrified.
First, they stretched her mouth open with two metal hooks attached to a strap around her head. The man in the white coat grabbed hold of her ponytail and tugged it until she tilted backwards.
By the time he had finished spooning food down her throat, she was choking, gagging and trying to break free.
For the next ten hours, this attractive, 24-year-old artist was given injections, had her skin abraded and smothered in lotions and potions – then endured having a strip of her hair shaved off in front of stunned onlookers in one of Britain’s busiest streets.
And somewhere else in the world, perhaps in a laboratory carrying out tests for an expensive new mascara, a helpless animal was being subjected to precisely the same treatment.
The difference was that Jacqueline – publicly humiliated, shivering with cold and nursing the red-raw skin on her cheek – was free to go home when the experiment ended.
The animal would have suffered a miserable death.
Jacqueline volunteered for her starring role in the deliberately shocking performance to underline a campaign aimed at drawing attention to the pain and cruelty inflicted on animals during laboratory tests on cosmetics.
Dressed in nothing but a flesh-coloured body stocking, she was put on display in the shop window of Lush cosmetic store’s branch in Regent Street, London, to re-enact widely used tests.
The ‘cruelty-free’ chain is helping to spearhead a Humane Society International campaign to end cosmetic testing on animals.
Thousands of shoppers, tourists and office workers witnessed Jacqueline, a social sculpture student at Oxford Brookes university, being roughly manhandled and administered by performance artist Oliver Cronk, dressed as a clipboard-toting lab technician.
Her eyes streamed from an irritant he sprayed into them at intervals and her arm began to bleed when she struggled to resist an injection.
Perhaps the most startling moment was when he gripped her head and used electronic clippers to shave a large strip from her hairline – common practice in laboratories when monitors or electrodes need to be attached to an animal’s skin.
Passengers craned from open-top buses as passersby took mobile phone footage of the spectacle – before signing a petition or simply turning and walking away.
Jacqueline, who appeared nervous when I spoke to her before she took up position, remained mute throughout her ordeal – but gave the clear impression that not all her pain was an act.
She told me: ‘I hope it will plant the seed of a new awareness in people to really start thinking about what they go out and buy and what goes into producing it.’
Moments later, someone fastened the rope around her neck.
Lush campaign manager Tamsin Omond said: ‘The ironic thing is that if it was a beagle in the window and we were doing all these things to it, we’d have the police and RSPCA here in minutes.
But somewhere in the world, this kind of thing is happening to an animal every few seconds on average.
The difference is, it’s normally hidden. We need to remind people it is still going on.’
Scientists have long used laboratory animals for medical and drug testing and continue to do so.
‘But although animal testing for cosmetics was banned in the EU three years ago, it is still legal in Britain to sell products animal-tested in other parts of the world, including the USA and Canada. In China, such testing is a legal requirement.
Humane Society spokeswoman Wendy Higgins said it was ‘morally unthinkable’ that cosmetic companies should continue to profit from animal suffering, adding there could be ‘no justification for subjecting animals to pain for the sake of producing lipstick and eye shadow’.
Dr Chris Flower, director general of the Cosmetics, Toiletries and Perfumeries Association (CTPA), said: ‘People may have been understandably shocked by the publicity stunt arranged by Lush in their Regent Street shop window recently.
‘It may give the misleading impression that cosmetic products are tested on animals for sale in Europe whereas the testing of cosmetic products on animals was banned in Britain in 1998 and throughout Europe in September 2004.
‘It has been established by the European Commission’s scientific expert committee that the safety of a finished product can be determined by knowledge of its ingredients. Testing the product on animals is not necessary.
‘The cosmetics industry has been at the forefront of the search for alternatives and has led to the development of many non-animal safety tests that are now routinely used for its ingredients.
‘It is the cosmetics industry that is now promoting the use of these alternatives in countries that currently require animal testing.
‘It is a pity that Lush chose to run this campaign in a country where the testing of cosmetic products on animals is banned and which has the strictest animal welfare provisions regarding the use of animals for scientific purposes anywhere in the EU.
‘It is a pity the campaign is directed at an industry that has done more than any other to develop and promote the use of alternatives.’