I was shocked when I first learned that animal testing is still happening today.
I’ve always loved animals, and it’s heartbreaking to think of them in pain. Yet according to Cruelty Free International, over 115 million animals are being used for testing worldwide—a life of nothing but suffering.
When I first got my dog Pippa, caring for an animal and feeling the unconditional love she gave me made me realise how incredible animals really are. Pets are completely dependent on us for their health and well-being, and, as a pet owner, it’s my responsibility to keep her safe from harm. But what about the animals all around the world living in labs, being tortured just so we can have the latest makeup trends? Who will stand up and keep them safe?
Most of us do not wish to cause harm, and when walking down the aisles of beautiful makeup products, it can be easy to feel completely removed from the innocent animals suffering in labs; but by purchasing products created as a result of animal abuse, are we really living peacefully?
Becoming a dog owner inspired me to switch to a cruelty-free beauty regime. The final straw was finding out that even dogs are used for cosmetics tests—thousands every year are being deprived of their basic rights. According to the law, laboratory animals form a special category not protected from animal abuse, but the only difference is that they are kept in a lab—they still feel the same pain that any pet or wild animal would if they were tortured in this way.
Many people assume that animal testing doesn’t happen anymore, but I was horrified to learn that although it was banned in the European Union in 1998, it does still occur in other areas of the world, and that can still affect the products we buy.
A lot of brands sold in the E.U. are still testing on animals abroad and are therefore not cruelty-free, which is where it can get confusing.
Humane alternative tests are actually cheaper, quicker, and more accurate than animal tests, but in China animal testing is still required by law for products to be sold in the country. So if a brand is selling in China, it’s not cruelty-free.
Unfortunately, there’s no legal definition for the term “cruelty-free,” which means that many big beauty brands get away with making false claims. Some even print little bunny logos on their labels as an attempt to fool consumers into thinking they do not test on animals.
The Leaping Bunny certification is the official bunny logo you can trust. In order to be Leaping Bunny approved, brands must be transparent with their animal testing policies all the way through their supply chains to ensure all ingredients are cruelty-free as well as the finished product. This is audited by Cruelty Free International so brands cannot get away with making false claims.
Another phrase to watch out for is “finished product.” Some brands use this as a loophole to claim to be cruelty-free. They will state that their finished product isn’t tested on animals, but won’t discuss individual ingredients, which often have been tested in this way.
It’s also important to remember that just because a beauty product is “vegan friendly” doesn’t necessarily mean it hasn’t been tested on animals. Vegan products do not contain any animal by-products (such as honey or beeswax), but this doesn’t include animal testing.
My advice for anyone wanting to transition to a cruelty-free beauty routine is to take it slow. Start with one product you currently use, do your research, and if it isn’t cruelty-free, look for an alternative.
If you’re unsure, you can email the company directly and ask three questions:
- Are your products or ingredients tested on animals?
- Do you ask anyone to test on your behalf?
- Do you sell in mainland China?
The answer to all three should be a simple no. Unless a brand is prepared to be completely transparent, it’s possible that animal testing is happening somewhere in their processes. The only way to be sure is to buy from brands that have been independently audited and certified, so always look for the Leaping Bunny!
Lots of brands are cruelty-free but owned by a parent company that uses testing in other brands or products they own. Whether you decide to purchase from parent-owned companies is a hot topic of debate among the cruelty-free community; it’s another area of research to consider.
It’s important to make the transition without feeling guilty. People may be unknowingly using products that have been tested on animals, or may find it difficult to replace them with a cruelty-free alternative. For me, taking it slowly allowed me to explore new products and find alternatives to the ones I used to love. It meant I could research the brands properly and gave me confidence that I was choosing truly cruelty-free beauty products.
The journey to a cruelty-free beauty regime may seem daunting at first, but the online community of bloggers and supporters is growing and animal-free research is advancing rapidly.
As beauty consumers, we can tell brands what we want and dictate the market demand, so opting to purchase from only cruelty-free companies is the best way to send a message that we won’t stand for animal testing any more. If you want to switch to cruelty-free cosmetics, look for the Leaping Bunny accreditation. Cruelty Free International have more information on their website.