Most of us have a cat, dog or some kind of pet that we adore. We give them names, we take endless photos to capture their cutest moments, and admit that they enhance the quality of our lives by leaps and bounds.
They have an inherent love and purity that they bring into our lives. Individuals with the ability to feel pain and fear, as well as a right to live, yet without much control over their own well-being or choices. They are utterly dependent on us, not in a dissimilar way to children.
Yet, our society has become somewhat desensitised to the suffering of animals for our personal gain and momentary pleasures. And the worst of it is, it is totally unnecessary and pointless. Most women would agree with the claim that an innocent animal should never have to suffer, especially for something as insignificant as a particular lipstick shade.
If we only knew what happens behind closed doors and in cosmetic labs when it comes to animal testing, we would be shocked and horrified to say the least.
In February 2019, the Australian Senate has passed a bill banning cosmetic animal testing! Whilst you can hear the sighs of relief and celebrations over this huge accomplishment nation-wide, the fight has by no means come to an end yet, globally-speaking.
I’ll save you the gruesome details but the bottom line is: 100,000 to 200,000 animals suffer and die annually around the world just for animal testing (and the number is in the millions per year when we include other types of testing). “Rats, mice, guinea pigs, rabbits, monkeys, dogs and cats are all subject to barbaric treatment.
This utterly disturbing, heart breaking and barbaric process is often futile, as humans react differently to animals to 90% of products and chemicals tested in these cruel ways.”
#1 Here is a current list of all the major beauty brands that still test on animals: https://www.crueltyfreekitty.com/companies-that-test-on-animals
Change is on the rise
Social Media has transformed the need for corporate transparency, and highly increased our ability to take control in any given scenario. A brand may formally choose to announce any change in status, but regardless, such changes cannot be hidden on social media (especially with the wave of savvy millennials who will question the credibility of claims made by a brand, demand an answer, and passionately speak up for their values and beliefs against animal testing).
The radical changes that we have seen in the beauty and fashion industries of late points towards a need for, and the embracing of, higher consciousness. Green beauty brands are in high demand (and as a result numerous other related ‘trends’ like veganism are on the rise).
Many are on a mission to put a stop to the immense damage we have managed to do to our environment, the animals, and ourselves. Whilst some of the biggest American and European brands (especially commercial supermarket and pharmacy brands) are still testing on animals, many international brands are claiming cruelty-free status by embracing sustainability and ethical choices.
To access a list of Cruelty-Free Cosmetics brands that are doing it right, see: https://www.crueltyfreekitty.com/list-of-cruelty-free-brands
Why some brands continue to harm
So as a brand, why sell in China, knowing that this tarnishes your brand and image? Because the Chinese cosmetics industry is already worth billions of dollars and still growing. This is extremely attractive for big beauty brands who don’t want to forego guaranteed profits from the Chinese market. These are the brands that sell-out.
The Ethical Bottom-Line
A brand can promise you whatever it likes, and portray itself in the best possible light - but the facts remain. We reveal who we are when we have to choose between integrity and monetary gain, each of which have their own costs and consequences in due time.
What you do matters
The sad truth is, when we fall for the fancy packaging, the beautiful marketing campaign, the misleading jargon, or any other foreseeable tricks, we vote FOR animal testing with our attention and our dollars rather than against it.
Taking claims like “cruelty-free” or “vegan” on a skincare, makeup, or any other type of cosmetics label at complete face-value, without knowing the facts, is a mistake.
We must question or research and investigate further:
- Is this product entirely cruelty-free, i.e. the final product hasn’t been tested on animals.
- Are the ingredients used in the products cruelty-free, i.e. the company did not purchase ingredients that have been tested on animals.
- Does the company sell in China, i.e. this company may claim cruelty-free status based on the first two factors, but if they are selling in China, they are abiding by Chinese law which involves mandatory testing on animals. Hence, they are not cruelty-free.
A win-win for you
From a consumer standpoint, going cruelty-free makes entire sense both from an ethical AND a practical standpoint.
Why? Because “the way makeup is tested in NO way influences its quality or performance. There’s no study that can prove that cruelty-free cosmetics brands are lower in quality than brands that engage in animal testing.” In fact, the opposite seems to be true.
#2 When you look at industry leaders like Anastasia Beverly Hills which is loved by makeup artists and influencers worldwide, it’s very obvious that there is no limitation in terms of safe ingredients and alternatives to create the best possible range.
Luxury beauty brand Hourglass, and animal activist, Kat Von D. are both examples of hero brands that go even a step further, ensuring their brands are completely free of any animal-derived ingredients (making them “vegan”).
They actively work as advocates for animal rights and protection, using their power as respected brands to create positive change in our industry. Considering functionality, quality, and efficacy - and of course ethics - you as the consumer lose nothing, whereas the innocent animal that deserves a pain-free existence gains it’s life.
What you can do
There is a long list of ethical brands that refuse to test on animals or sell in China for monetary gain. Use the PETA and Leaping Bunny websites (and apps) to assist you to find them, and support them with your buying decisions. A company’s status can change at any point, so the information is always being updated. But keep in mind, smaller brands that are cruelty-free may not be on those lists yet.
Leaping Bunny is the ideal source because it is “the only internationally recognized certification organization for cruelty-free brands. While PETA only requires written agreement from a company, the Leaping Bunny requires that the company agrees to independent audits. This means they can actually verify if the claims are true.”
#3 Next time you go shopping, consider what you really believe, and try not to be swayed by clever marketing or someone else’s agenda. Then, act in accordance with those values. The future is ethical and cruelty-free, but our every move is just as important and has a ripple effect.
What we demand, pay attention to, stand up for, and purchase, affects the well-being of these innocent and beautiful creatures. You are more powerful than you give yourself credit for, and the animals need YOU. There is no reason that animals should suffer.
About the Author:
Neha Hobson is a certified, professional makeup artist and educator, turned professional Instagram coach and beauty blogger. Over the last decade, Neha has studied and worked between Australia and Los Angeles, with beauty business owners and international beauty houses.
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Sources and references: #1 www.peta.org #2 https://ecowarriorprincess.net/2016/08/ethical-beauty-why-you-should-choose-cruelty-free-cosmetics-2 #3 https://www.crueltyfreekitty.com/cruelty-free-101/leaping-bunny-vs-peta