Cruelty Free Shopping
Animals are still being used in testing for household products in Europe and for cosmetics for the Chinese market. The global supply chain makes it difficult to work out who to trust, but one little logo can tell you everything you need.
I’m not going to go into the details of why I think using sentient beings to test make up and bleach is wrong. I reckon that is self evident, but if you’d like some details or emotive videos head to PETA.
Since 2013 it has been illegal in the EU to use animal tests for cosmetics, ingredients and to market those products. However, until 2017 it was mandated that all cosmetics sold in China were tested on animals prior to sale. This law is currently being reviewed but a large amount of animal testing continues there. This huge lucrative market is hard to resist and as such almost all the major brands operate in China. The following graphic gives an idea of how many well known products that covers:
These companies are very good at crowd pleasing statement like:
“At P&G, we believe that eliminating animal testing is the right thing to do. We do not test our products or ingredients on animals anywhere in the world unless required by law.”
Which, as it is required by law by some countries, means that they do test their products on animals. So although that bottle of Pantene specifically may not have been tested on animals, the profits from it are going to a company that certainly does use those methods.
The picture for household goods is more murky, if an ingredient is going to be more than a 50% component of a cleaning product then it can’t be tested on an animal in the UK. However there are exceptions to this, on the grounds of ingredients being intended for other uses or if new medical evidence means it is deemed necessary. Understanding Animal Research, an organisation of the other side of the scale to PETA make some valid points on the matter. Again, though a ‘not tested on animals’ statement doesn’t legally mean anything.
Avoiding Animal Testing
So what can be done if you don’t want to delve into which brands are run by who and you can’t trust a meaningless ‘we’re against animal testing’ statement? Look for the leaping bunny! Cruelty Free International put the hard work in and certify products that have definitely not been tested. Their logos look like this:
Unlike a lot of eco friendly choices, this one could also save you money. A lot of the big brands that test on animals are a lot pricier than the cruelty free alternatives. Superdrug, Co-Op, Morrisons, M&S and Waitrose own brand cosmetics are all approved, and most also sell approved household cleaners. We’ve been slowly transitioning and using these for about a year now, and I can’t honestly say that I’ve missed anything.
I am still on the hunt for some cruelty free sensitive teeth toothpaste in recyclable packaging though. It does make me feel selfish sometimes, I’m putting my welfare about that of others. Should I just suck it up and endure the pain? Food is a hugely important part of my life and is often hot or cold, both things which hurt a lot if I use ordinary toothpaste.
You can find out about the brands you use (if they’re not listed, they’re not approved) or find alternatives by doing a leaping bunny search.
Together we can make a difference.