Ethical Beauty: Animal Testing and Going Cruelty Free

Like a lot of issues, I think the occurrence of animal testing is easily ignored because we cannot see it, and as they say, ignorance is bliss. However, the more I have found out about the use of animals in experiments and product trials, the harder I have found it to ignore, therefore I have recently made the commitment to buy only cruelty free cosmetics from now on.

Rather than going into a great deal of depth, here’s some facts about animal testing (I’ll include some links at the end of the post that go into more depth, should anyone be interested in reading more.)

  • 80% of the world still allows animals to be used in cruel tests for cosmetics.
  • Not only is it cruel and unethical, but it’s also unnecessary, non-animal methods of testing have the potential to be cheaper, faster, and more relevant to humans.
  • The number of animals that suffer worldwide from laboratory testing is unknown because mice, rats, birds, and cold-blooded animals are not covered by even the minimal protections of the Animal Welfare Act and therefore go uncounted. These animals make up more than 99 percent of animals used in experiments.
  • When it comes to animal testing for cosmetics, approximately 100,000-200,000 animals suffer and die every year around the world. Animals used include rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, rats and mice. While dogs and monkeys aren’t used to test cosmetics anywhere in the world, they are used to test other types of chemicals.
  • The life of an animal used for testing in a laboratory is bleak, most commonly they are bred intensively for this purpose, used in experiments, then will die, if not as a result of the tests, they’ll be put down when they are no longer useful.
  • Many companies will claim that they do not test on animals ‘except where required by law’, this means they are NOT cruelty free. Animal testing for cosmetic products is banned in the UK and EU, however some countries like China require companies importing into the country to test on animals by law. Bear in mind it is a company’s choice whether or not to sell their products in these countries.

PETA’s Testing 1…2…3… video is hard to watch, but gives you an insight into what happens behind closed doors in the development process of a lot of the cosmetic products we are buying.

So what can you do?

Join the cruelty free revolution. In the future, only buy from companies that can guarantee they do not test on animals (there is no point wasting anything you currently have, even if it is from a company that tests on animals). It can be hard to find out which companies do and which don’t, so it’s worth looking out for logos like the Leaping Bunny, PETA caring consumer or the Choose Cruelty Free Rabbit.

(Source: Ethical Elephant)

It’s also worth checking out curated cruelty free brand lists, such as Cruelty Free Kitty’s List of Cruelty Free Brands or Logical Harmony’s Cruelty Free Brand List. I’m aiming to put up a post in the next few weeks with some cruelty free brands and products I recommend. (Spoiler alert: likely to contain a lot of Superdrug own brand products, as not only are they cheap and student-budget friendly, but also certified cruelty free!).

However, I’m not trying to say this is a simple issue and going cruelty free is easily done. I have struggled with many brands to find accurate information with regards to their animal testing activities, as have many other people, including the curators of some of the brand lists mentioned above. Unfortunately lack of transparency of companies can make it very difficult to know if a product is truly cruelty free, and many companies will claim they are, when they actually aren’t. Some cruelty free companies are owned by non cruelty free companies (such as the Body Shop, which has a clear stance against animal testing, but is owned by L’Oreal), which arguably makes them not so cruelty free after all. Others will claim they do not test their finished products on animals, but this doesn’t mean the ingredients aren’t tested. As I also mentioned earlier, certain countries require products to be tested on animals, so while a company may claim they do not do it, that does not mean they don’t pay someone else (for example the Chinese Government), to do it for them.

I am no expert on this subject and I fully understand that people will be reluctant to give up their favourite cosmetic products just because they test on animals, however the purpose of this post was just to try and increase awareness of the issue, and maybe just make you think twice next time you’re shopping for a new mascara or shampoo. A change is a change no matter how small, even a reduction in consumption of products from non cruelty free brands is better than no change at all.

Much love, Jemima X


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