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Saving The Planet And The Animals

Are hotels as green as claimed?

Dr. Elinor Garely, eTN  Apr 10, 2011

Guests at hotels have grown accustomed to reading bath and bedroom cards asking to save the planet by reusing towels, save water by showering with a friend, and to save trees by using emails instead of printing press releases. Hotel Meeting Coordinators offer pens, pads and plates made from recycled materials, and offset their carbon footprints by donating to organizations in remote parts of the world. All these attempts by hotel management appear to put guests on notice that they are good corporate citizens concerned with protecting the environment.

Although “going green” is excellent public relations, the soft-sweet-spot that many hoteliers are not willing to address are the toiletries in guest bathrooms that are tested on animals. When asked if the products offered to guest as amenities were tested on animals, some major brands refused to respond to the query, franchised properties claimed they make no purchasing decisions at the local level, while global brands indicated that the information was proprietary.

Hotels Leading Animal-Free Testing
Fortunately several hotel groups have recognized the importance of providing products to guests that have not harmed animals. Wyndham Hotels and Resorts offers bath-care products from Bath & Body Works brand’s True Blue Spa line that offers “…guests professional spa-quality products designed for a fun and easy spa-on-the-go experience…and there is no animal testing on these products” according to Jessica Chan of Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide (Hong Kong).

At the Pierre NY, (a Taj Hotel) guests can enjoy “…Molton Brown Therapies Range products which are all organic, have biodegradable packaging and not tested on animals” according to Nora Walsh, the hotels’ Director of Public Relations. Soon Lishan of Intercontinental Hotels reports that animal testing – free products are used at their various brands under the Hilton Worldwide portfolio and include: Hilton Hotels (Peter Thomas Roth products); DoubleTree by Hilton and Embassy Suites (Crabtree & Evelyn), Hilton Garden Inn, Homewood Suites and Home2 Suites (Neutrogena Body and Bath)and the Hampton Inns (Purity Basics).

Industry Role Model
Even small properties recognize the importance of offering toiletries that have not harmed animals. The Sea Breeze Hotel in Brighton, UK features the availability of cruelty-free shampoo and crème rinse as part of their marketing strategy, mentioning the Baylis & Harding brand on their website. All the products are designed to be environmentally friendly and do not contain any ozone depleting substances. None of their products are tested on animals as they comply with the ban on animal testing imposed through The Cosmetic Products (Safety) Regulations 1996 (UK).

In addition, all Baylis and Harding suppliers are required to comply with their no animal testing policy and confirm that materials have not been tested on animals. Any materials which do not comply with these requirements will not be used in their products. All finished products are manufactured under strict quality control parameters. If testing is a legal safety requirement, only human volunteers are used in accordance with the safe system of testing set out under current UK Health & Safety Legislation for the type of test to be conducted. Finished products are never tested on animals. Midland Cosmetic Sales Plc (Baylis & Harding) is wholly against the suffering forcibly endured by animals through the testing of ingredients and finished cosmetic products on animals.

Tortured Bunnies
According to Santosh Krinsky who has been in the forefront of the natural products industry since 1974, “There is no regulation or law that requires cosmetic products to be tested on animals. In fact, the European Union passed a ban on the use of animals in cosmetics testing in 2009…The only thing (the tests tell us) is how much of a certain chemical it takes to kill a rabbit.”

Why are animals used to test toiletries and cosmetics when there are more reliable and less expensive methods available? Computers can make use of cell and skin tissue cultures, corneas from eye banks, and simulated mathematical model. “If we can map the human genome, “asks Krinsky, “...why do we need to pour chemicals into a dog’s eyes?”

Studies show that American companies cling to obsolete, expensive, ineffective and cruel testing methods because of money. Krinsky finds that, “Many companies don’t want to undergo the initial expense of changing their testing methods…and the testing labs want to maintain their current contracts.” Krinsky’s research also shows that, “The tests performed typically measure the level of skin irritancy, eye tissue damage, and toxicity caused by various substances used in cosmetics.

“In the Draize test, caustic substances are placed in the eyes of conscious rabbits to evaluate damage to sensitive eye tissues. This is extremely painful for the rabbits who often scream when the substances are applied and sometimes break their necks or backs trying to escape the restraints. “The more common Lethal Dosage (LD) tests are used to determine the amount of a substance that will kill a predetermined ration of animals….In the LD50 test, subjects are forced to ingest poisonous substances (through stomach tubes, vapor spray inhalers or injection) until half of them die. Common reactions to LD tests include convulsions, vomiting, paralysis and bleeding from the eyes, nose, mouth or rectum.”

Cruelty-Free Products
Krinsky claims that America lags behind other countries in banning the testing of products on animals. It is a fact that there are cheaper, more effective cruelty-free methods for testing products, but the process continues because the American consumer has not voiced an opinion on this practice and “…then and only then will American manufacturers stop torturing animals in the name of beauty.”

Hoteliers are major purchasing agents of billions of bath and personal care products. When they decide that their suppliers must provide products for guests that have not harmed a bunny or a puppy – then the manufacturers will see the impact on their bottom line and change the testing methodology. Hoteliers can lead the way to saving the bunnies for Easter celebrations and puppies for romps with children, rather than horrible deaths at the hands of pseudo-scientists.

For additional information

Are hotels as green as claimed?
Santosh Krinsky, CEO, Beauty Without Cruelty

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