July 2, 2013

Suffering isn’t Pretty: Practice Ahimsa & Pledge to Go Cruelty Free. ~ Lisa Avebury

Have you ever considered how the products you use everyday are tested for safety and efficacy?

And who may be suffering for the sake of your bathroom cleaner, mascara, toothpaste and deodorant? Did you know that most common household products available on the shelves of neighborhood grocery stores, including some of the so called “natural” products, are tested on animals?

Many people take an “out of sight, out of mind” approach to this type of information. They prefer to not know how these items become available for sale on our shelves. And, if they are provided the information, often find ways to condone the practice.

Many don’t want to give up their favorite laundry detergent. So testing on animals gets justified as a means of keeping themselves and their loved ones safe.

But what is the cost of this safety? And can one feel good about using a product knowing an animal had to endure needless, physical and painful tests simply because a corporation wanted more money?

What kind of energy does that product embody?

A Chinese medicine teacher once told me, on the subject of eating meat, “The fear and pain the animal feels at the moment of slaughter, you take on when you consume it.”

That statement strongly impacted me.

I wonder if it is the same for animal-tested products. Are the common products people use every day laced with energy of fear and pain? And how is that affecting us as a whole?

The Draize Test, developed by in the United States by the FDA in 1944, is one of many animal-based tests still in practice today even though most medical experts regard the test as outdated.

There are two variants: The Draize Eye Test and the Draize Skin Test.

Most often, Draize is performed on rabbits, but in some cases dogs are used. The Beagle is most favored for testing due to their gentle and forgiving nature.

The Draize Eye Test requires the animal to be immobilized in a restraining stock with their eyes clipped open. Substances are then applied directly to the eyes and observed for up to 14 days for reactions.

This is all done with the animal conscious.

The Draize Skin Test is also done on a conscious and restrained animal. This requires the animal to have a portion of its body shaved then purposely abraded in preparation for the substance to be applied. After the test, if the animal is not severely injured, it goes through a “wash out” period and is later subjected to more tests.

If the tests prove harmful, the animal is euthanized.

Although in-vitro testing, an alternative to Draize, is thought to be more accurate, in-vitro testing is more costly, and large corporations justify their use of animal testing as a safety issue.

But, more often than not, corporations continue to test their products on animals just because it’s cheaper. They save money.

We, as conscious consumers, have power within our pocketbooks—we don’t have to patronize companies that still do needless and cruel animal testing.

You may be asking yourself, “But how do I know which companies to avoid and which companies to support?”

In 1996, Leaping Bunny was formed as a 501(c)3 non-profit from the banding together of eight national animal protection groups in response to a need for a cohesive symbol people could seek out when deciding what products to purchase.

Their bunny logo is the only internationally recognized logo certifying that what you are buying is animal-friendly. Not only does Leaping Bunny certify the actual product, but they also certify that the suppliers of the ingredients and components are animal-friendly in their products and practices.

Leaping Bunny also performs random, unscheduled checks on their cruelty-free partners to confirm they are continuing to adhere to the Leaping Bunny standard.  If a company is found to have changed a product or supplier and is no longer in compliance, that product is dropped from the program.

The goal is to have a trustworthy symbol that enables the compassionate consumer to be confident in their product choices and purchases.

Leaping Bunny produces the Compassionate Shopping Guide, which is free, continuously updated and available via snail mail, download or as an app for iPhone or Android.

Embrace the first of the Yamas and take the Leaping Bunny pledge to go cruelty free.

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

If you haven’t started already, this is a good place to begin in the spirit of non-harming.

Lisa Avebury lives in Los Angeles and is a body worker, healer and globe trotter. Lisa loves hanging out in stone circles and spending quality time with her dog, Douglas Fur. On occasion, she simply enjoys cleaning her bathtub to a brilliant shine! You learn more about Lisa on her website or find her on Facebook.



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Assistant Ed: Paula Carrasquillo/Ed: Bryonie Wise


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