Every day, we get up, shower with our favourite toiletries, apply our make-up and hair-care products and head off out the door, feeling confident and satisfied. But the question that we are rarely made aware of is who or what could be suffering in the meantime?
I’ve always been aware of animal testing being something to watch out for, but after hearing a while back that the UK imposed a ban on all cosmetic animal testing, I’d never really given it much thought since. After recently seeing a video on the net however, depicting what animals in the global intensive farming industry go through every day for meat production purposes*, it led me to do a bit more digging and I ended up back on the familiar website PETA.com, one of the leading animal rights charities. The question over whether animals should be bred to be eaten is not one I wish to indulge in here, but more the question of whether they should be used to test our cosmetic products. My answer is no, as would probably be the initial reaction of many animal-lovers. The reality of standing by one’s answer, on the other hand, isn’t always so straight forward.
The Ins & Outs
The confusion about whether a product is ‘animal-safe’ or ‘animal-friendly’ comes from the fact that whilst a company may say that a particular product has not been tested on animals, this does not mean that the product’s ingredients haven’t been tested on animals, either within the company’s premises or elsewhere on their source site. This was a new piece of information to me, which I had never really considered before, and it’s really opened up some doors as regards to what toiletry and make-up brands I will be using from now on.
It’s difficult to be totally sure that everything we’re using is animal-safe (animal-friendly household cleaning products, for example, are particularly difficult to come by). My view is that the idea of making the change to our skincare/hair-care routines sounds too daunting or exhaustive, so we very easily become apathetic about the idea, and give up. But don’t! After a bit of research, I’m discovering that being animal-friendly is actually much easier than we think.
Some Starting Points…
Original Source shower gels, shampoos and conditioners, are made with all-natural ingredients and are vegan-friendly, as are all products from The Body Shop and of course the wonderful Lush, which has so many yummy-looking shampoo bars, I want to buy them all! Plus the organic and natural properties of these products have surely got to be better for our skin than those common chemicals. From scrubs, cleansers and moisturisers to hair-care…it’s all there.
PETA also provide an extensive list of companies and products that do not endorse animal testing, but I find it to be a bit opaque as I don’t really recognise most of them. Interested in make-up particularly, I found a more condensed list of what make-up/facial brands do not animal-test, which can be found here. Among these are well-known popular brands like Mac, Barry M, Almay, Avon, Aveda, Bare Minerals Make-Up, Bobbi Brown, Bumble & Bumble, Chanel, Clarins, Marks & Spencer, St Ives, Urban Decay (which have vegan products)…and of course, my beloved Liz Earle! This is just the tip of the iceberg though, so do give the list a look. On an extra note, Liz Earle have just recently launched their own make-up range, which I am very excited about.
It’s easy to suddenly feel horribly guilty about any current products we might be using that aren’t animal-safe, but that doesn’t mean we need to rush out and replace our entire toiletry/cosmetic collection. My own plan is to simply wait until each thing runs out, and gradually replace them one at a time with an animal-friendly alternative.
Look For The Bunny!
The symbol of the dancing rabbit is often used on products that are animal-friendly. Again, many products will state “[This company] does not test on animals”, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that animals haven’t been used to test the ingredients elsewhere, so it’s sometimes helpful to do some research. Although there may be some disappointments (it looks like I might have to wave goodbye to No. 7, sob!), there can definitely be some pleasant surprises.
If you love animals, then why take the chance? Look great, and feel guilt-free.
*The video I won’t go into detail about as it was literally too horrific and frightening to comprehend. You can see for yourself here, but beware! I could not last more than 20 seconds.
EDIT 20/05/12: After further research, I have discovered that a scary nnumber of companies (including some of the ones I mentioned up above) publish misleading policies concerning their approach to animal testing. This is why a bit of research on individual brands/products is often very important! Below are a couple of sites; the first is a clear, detailed overview of many companies’ policies so you can read them for yourself, with a friendly breakdown of what their complex terms actually mean. The second link is to the Go Cruelty Free site that provides a much more cohesive and accessible way to find brands that are cruelty-free right down to the core. Enjoy!