Herbal Essences have repeatedly force-fed one of their chemical ingredients to scores of pregnant animals – and then slaughtered the mothers and their offspring. (Source: Daston, GP (2004) ‘Developmental Toxicity Evaluation of Butylparaben in Sprague-Dawley Rats’. Birth DefectsResearch (Part B),71: 296-302.)

  • Each animal was put in solitary confinement, depriving them of the warmth and comfort of their fellow creatures. Their wire cages can cause suffering due to foot ulcers and other injuries.
  • Each day for 2 weeks, different doses of the chemical were poured through a tube shoved down their throats. This can be a very stressful and painful procedure that causes damage to the throat and internal organs. Some of the animals suffered poisoning after being given massive doses that were hundreds of times higher than could possibly be consumed by humans.
  • Just before they were due to give birth, the pregnant animals suffered a painful and terrifying death in a carbon dioxide gas chamber. Over a thousand baby animals survived, only to be cut from their mothers’ lifeless bodies, killed and dismembered. The test was carried out by scientists from Procter & Gamble, the American multinational company behind the Herbal Essences brand.
  • But a wealth of scientific evidence already shows that the chemical in question – butylparaben – is generally safe. In particular, many tests have revealed that butylparaben is broken down into harmless substances when swallowed. What’s more, testing unrealistic huge doses on animals does not give reliable information about the effects on humans in the real world.
  • A scientific expert has commented that this test ‘was a profligate and wasteful use of animals’.
  • Procter & Gamble continue to perform lethal poisoning experiments on animals for shampoos like Herbal Essences. But with many other shampoos produced without painful animal testing, there is no excuse for such gratuitous cruelty…