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The PET Act is a Band-Aid

SAN MARCOS- On July 21, 2022, the Humane Society of the United States launched a rescue operation of nearly 4,000 beagles from a breeding facility in Virginia. The beagles had suffered from acute cases of abuse and neglect. Worse yet, they were on their way to becoming test subjects for pharmaceutical and biotech companies.

Upon hearing the news, California Sen. Scott Wiener proposed a bill that would ban the use of household animals as test subjects. According to the senator’s webpage on, “the PET act ends the suffering of cats and dogs by prohibiting these household pets from being used in toxicity tests for products such as pesticides, chemical substances, and food additives.” While Wiener’s bill is a step in the right direction, it doesn’t strike at the heart of the matter; these chemicals don’t belong in consumer goods in the first place.

There’s a saying that’s long-circulated in the health and wellness industry, “don’t put on your body what you wouldn’t put in your body.” Simple and straight to the point, it seems like it would be second nature. And yet, many goods sold in the U.S. feature lengthy ingredient lists with names that most people struggle to pronounce. In recent years, other countries have recognized the harmful effects of these ingredients and subsequently banned them.

Six out of ten of the world’s healthiest countries, according to the 2020 Bloomberg Global Health Index, belong to the European Union. It comes as no surprise then, that many additives common in the U.S. are either prohibited or in the process of being phased out by the EU.

One of these additives, Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), is a common preservative and flavor enhancer. It’s found in cereal, chips, preserved meat, and other processed foods; as well as a variety of cosmetics. A report from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, released in March 2022, announced that BHA is “reasonably anticipated” to be a human carcinogen (cancer-causing agent).

Another common additive blacklisted by the EU is titanium dioxide, a whitening agent used in everything from toothpaste to pastries. According to a report published in the Journal of Food and Drug Analysis, titanium dioxide was flagged for its, “ability to damage DNA and lead to cell mutations, potentially causing cancer.” Researchers from the European Food Safety Authority, warn that titanium dioxide builds up in the body over time, leading to potential health complications in the long run.

BHA and titanium dioxide are just two of 12,000 compounds on the EU’s 2022, restrictions roadmap, which outlines all additives and hazardous compounds it plans to phase out by 2030. Europe’s proactivity in looking after the health of its citizens also extends to its four-legged population. In 2013, they initiated a ban on all cosmetics, including individual ingredients, which utilize animal testing.

To put that in perspective, that’s 10 million animal lives that will be spared, according to Cruelty-Free Europe.

The ban illustrates a simple cause-and-effect: By cutting out the potentially harmful, largely unnecessary ingredients, we eliminate the need for animal testing from the get-go.

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