I have a very important post to share with you today.
I want to start this post by saying that while I want you to think about this subject, I do not mean to push it on you or guilt you into doing as I do. I want to share what I have learned, and what you do or not do with this information is completely up to you.
I have been working on this post for about half a week, trying to sort through facts and learning as much as I can on this subject. While a part of me wanted to post this right away, I had to take the time to sift through everything that I learned and try to put it into a post which truly reflects this subject and how I feel about it.
Over the years I have never been a fan of animal testing, but to be honest I never did much about it. I would buy cruelty free products as an afterthought, and would push the idea of animal testing out of my mind. I wanted to buy products that I liked, and I didn't think much about the impact that my choices had in the cosmetics industry.
What I learned has completely changed my way of thinking, and has given me the push to do something that I should have done long ago, but never bothered to.
It started with this post from The Plastic Diaries. This really opened my eyes to what really happens, behind the scenes. The Plastic Diaries then followed up with this post. I think that these posts are very in-depth and are a perfect starting point for those of us who want to learn more about this practice.
I want to give a very quick run-down on what happens to these animals (this is by no means the only things that happen, many more horrors occur), for cosmetics testing:
-animals are put in restraints (basically stocks) and can break their necks trying to escape
-animals are shaved and have raw ingredients rubbed onto their skin to check for sensitivities, which can result in blisters, bleeding and other nasty side effects. When I think of Retin A and how it can effect a humans skin in a finished product, I can only imagine how the raw ingredients affect these animals
-animals have raw ingredients (some caustic) dripped into their eyes to check for nasty side effects, many of which result in blindness, excruciating pain, weeping eyes and other side effects
-while some animals are kept alone for years in barren cages and horrible conditions, most are killed immediately after the tests are done (and tests can take days or more, while the animal suffers and has no pain relief or care)
-millions (MILLIONS!!!) of animals are used and killed for animal testing every year in the U.S.A alone, sometimes by breaking their necks (sometimes getting their backs broken by accident) or gassing them in chambers. Not all animals die immediately after this has been done.
-animals have their vocal chords snipped so they do not make sounds that can interfere with testing
-animals being injected with toxic substances, in the ears, stomach and other places, with substances such as botox, which can cause slow paralysis, difficulty breathing, and death
Again I must say that this is definitely not a complete list of what goes on in these laboratories.
And all this suffering and death for what? Skin cream, nail polish and eye liner? REALLY??! All of this for human vanity! This makes me so mad!
Here are some excellent videos that show what really happens (caution: these are pretty grim and the light of heart should be warned):
Here is a LUSH video, where they did a performance in the front of their store, depicting what happens to animals during testing:
We are the only species capable of such disgusting practices. But we are also a species that can put a stop to this!
Using animals to test for cosmetics is so incredibly unnecessary, and a lot of the results are impractical and wrong, as we humans have a different physiology than that of the animals being used. Sometimes tests on humans are still necessary, regardless of the animal tests.
There are alternatives available for testing ingredients that do not need animal sacrifice.
I watched a video that made a really good point: cosmetics companies want to keep their findings secret, and not want to share what they know with rival companies. This means that millions of animals can suffer and die for repeated tests of ingredients, done by different companies. Products and ingredients that have already been tested! UGH!
Another important point is greenwashing. That is when a company tries to appear as though they are ethical, good for the environment, against animal testing...etc., when they really aren't.
A lot of companies say that they are against animal testing, and will clearly state that they do not conduct tests on animals. What they don't want you to know is that they pay third party companies to do the testing for them. So legally, they can say that they don't test on animals (when they are still at fault) and can confuse the consumer. Also, there are three things to keep in mind when a company makes a claim like "we do not test our products on animals": one: that they may pay third party companies to do so, two: that they may not test their finished products on animals, but test their ingredients on them, and three: that their sub-company does not test on animals, but their parent company does.
This can make a lot of work for consumers who want to buy ethical products from ethical brands. But considering the alternative, I think that this is a necessary thing to do. Why should I support brands that will blind and torture animals because I didn't feel like doing a bit of research?
Not only are standard cosmetics tested on animals, but so are dish soaps, laundry soaps, and other day-to-day essentials like toothpaste.
There are several ways to determine if a product/company is cruelty free. One of the ways is to look for the Leaping Bunny symbol. This is how the Leaping Bunny is described on their website:
"The Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics’ (CCIC) Leaping Bunny Program administers a cruelty-free standard and the internationally recognized Leaping Bunny Logo for companies producing cosmetic, personal care, and household products. The Leaping Bunny Program provides the best assurance that no new animal testing is used in any phase of product development by the company, its laboratories, or suppliers. "
There are other websites that give lists for companies that do and do not support animal cruelty, and although I have my own reservations about PETA (for several reasons), they do have a very good set of lists here.
Now here is a tricky subject:
There are some companies who do not test on animals and advocate against animal cruelty, but are owned by a parent company who tests for other companies they own. What you choose to do in this situation is entirely up to you.
The Body Shop is one of those companies (they are owned by L'Oreal, who tests on animals). The Body Shop is a cruelty free company that has a very big voice towards abolishing animal testing, but at the same time they are owned by L'Oreal, who has a different stance on the subject. You can either choose to not support them and in so doing not support their parent company, or you can choose to support them and their beliefs against animal testing, and make a point that you are supporting them because of their anti-cruelty stance. That can send a message to L'Oreal, that you only support The Body Shop because it is against animal testing. What you do in these situations is entirely up to you.
I know that a lot of people feel that they are only one person, and what they say or do will not have much of an impact.
I am here to say that we all have a voice! We can use it for good, for bad, or for nothing. From this day on I am choosing to use mine for what I really believe in. I know that I can make a difference, regardless of how large or how small. Every bit helps.
From now on I will do my best to use only animal cruelty free products, and to represent those products on my blog. While I may use up the products I have already bought, I will my best to no longer support companies that test on animals, and I will no longer promote those companies here on Art Evolve.
Here is a postitive video, showing what we can accomplish if we demand for this insanity to stop:
Here are some brands that I will no longer be recommending and reviewing on my blog, and/or using in my daily life because of their connections to testing on animals (and some of these I have never used before and never will until their own or their parent company changes their stance on animal testing):
Sally Hansen (Coty)
Max Factor (Proctor & Gamble)
Cle De Peau (Shiseido)
Bare Escentuals (Shiseido)
O.P.I (Coty) (*update*: available in China, so that would mean they would need to be tested on animals)
Here are some brands that I have read to be cruelty free, that I will continue to support (or show new support if applicable) and show on my blog:
wet n wild
The Body Shop*
(This above list is subject to change depending on it the companies change their policies. I will make a Page on the right hand side of my blog that lists companies and their stances as I learn of them, as I cannot list them all here.)
*There are a few companies listed above and not added that I am still on the fence about, like The Body Shop. I don't like how it is owned by L'Oreal, but as a separate branch The Body Shop has done a lot to raise awareness against animal testing. So I still have to decide where I stand on that.
Then there are companies like Sally Hansen, which is owned by Coty. Here is what their website says in regards to animal testing:
Here is the Coty Inc. statement on animal testing (here). So, some of their companies do not test on animals, where others do "when required". At least The Body Shop is actively trying to stop animal testing.
Here is another thing that I have to point out: for a company to sell cosmetics in China, their products must be tested on animals. This is a very frusterating thing for many people, and some companies that had previously not tested on animals now do so, in order for them to sell in the Chinese market. Some companies have declined selling their products there to avoid testing on animals.
This is going to be a long process for me, but I am going to try to go as cruelty-free as I can, both on my blog and in my everyday life. I'm sure I will make many mistakes along the way, but I will try to do my best and to learn what I can, so I can make the right choices for me.
I thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking the time to read this post, which is very important to me.
I know that you will make the best decision for yourself about this matter.