Animal Cruelty And Your Beauty Cabinet
Last week I was invited by the ISPCA to the launch of their Inspectorate Report in the Mansion House. The ISPCA had a record year last year with 21 initiated prosecutions finalised through the courts which was outlined. You can read the full report >here<
Whilst the fact that these cases are being taken seriously, and those involved are brought to justice is something to celebrate, there is another element of animal cruelty that I feel it's necessary to speak about. This is one we can easily be unaware of and could be contributing to without even knowing. As a beauty blogger it would be remit of me to ignore the Animal cruelty in the industry.
The cosmetics industry is a multi-billion dollar one where vast sums of money are paid to models, photographers, stylists, editors and influencers to name a few, to glamorise the products and advertise them appealingly to us. One area no company publicises is the fact that they test on animals.
According to the Humane Society International it is estimated that approximately 100,000-200,000 animals suffer and die just for cosmetics every year around the world.
*Typically, animal tests for cosmetics include:
-Skin and eye irritation tests where chemicals are rubbed onto the shaved skin or dripped into the eyes of rabbits.
-Repeated oral force-feeding studies lasting weeks or months to look for signs of general illness or specific health hazards, such as cancer or birth defects; and even widely condemned “lethal dose” tests, in which animals are forced to swallow massive amounts of a test chemical to determine the dose that causes death.
-These tests can cause considerable pain and distress including blindness, swollen eyes, sore bleeding skin, internal bleeding and organ damage, birth defects, convulsions and death.
-Pain relief is not provided and at the end of a test the animals are killed, normally by asphyxiation, neck-breaking or decapitation.
All of this is done in captivity, and with absolutely no consent whatsoever.
*Why is it done and where is animal testing mandatory?
The Chinese government conducts mandatory animal tests on all cosmetic products imported into the country. The government may also conduct animal tests on items pulled from store shelves. Therefore, even if a cosmetics company does not test their products or ingredients on animals, if they sell their products in China they cannot be considered cruelty-free. In 2013, a ban on animal testing for cosmetics and the marketing of cosmetics tested on animals went into effect in the European Union, paving the way for efforts to find alternatives for all of the common cosmetics tests that use animals.
What companies do test on animals?
For an extensive and up to date list of companies that do test on animals see this link >here<
In 2018 this is completely unnecessary, incredibly cruel and one of the ugliest aspects of the 'beauty' industry. We have the technology to test things with alternate methods. We all have access to information online and I feel we should use it and be aware what companies that we buy products from are doing. Personally I refuse to knowingly purchase or in any way support companies that allow this to happen.
Why I care about this so much-
I wasn't aware of this for a long time. I associated products with glamour, beauty and a feeling of luxury. When I transitioned to a plant based diet I made the immediate connection between what I was eating and where it came from but cosmetics was a little slower. It was very upsetting to realise that some of my 'favourite' products were from companies that globally contributed to something horrific for the sake of commerce. My stance on everything is always that Commerce shouldn't condone Cruelty, ever.
I have seen animals in the ISPCA rescued from horrific conditions wag their tails when they see people come and lick their hands and love them in such a forgiving way. If ever I am having a bad day playing with or brushing one of the cats cheers me up. Animals have so, SO much love for us, guaranteed, and I think if we all looked on them as our friends we wouldn't allow this to happen... I can appreciate for some degree of medical research it is necessary and has saved lives, but as important as beauty is, it doesn't merit this level of cruelty, not for a mascara or foundation, no matter how 'shook' you may be about the packaging or shimmer.
My site and social channels have reached the stage where there are thousands of you on here every week and, even though I'm nervous at times, I try to give a voice to those that have no voice whatsoever, literally in some cases. Although not specifically for cosmetic testing, sadly and distressingly Beagles vocal Chords are cut so they cannot bark during animal testing. The ISPCA rescued a number of Beagles from the Charles River Laboratory, a US multinational with a plant in Glenamoy. Dogs and cats were bred on site primarily for testing veterinary products and I saw some of them when I visited. They were so gorgeous and friendly, despite the horrific torture inflicted on them.
The reality is that all of this is deeply uncomfortable viewing and personally has required change, which can be difficult/awkward/hard. In the past year I have said no to press trips, sponsored content and events because they weren't cruelty free and it can feel very isolating. Being freelance you always worry about your income and I know I am not suitable for a lot of work but I trust that it will all work out and I'll keep my values and maintain support of brands that share those. I can't quite put my finger on why exactly I care so much about this but I suppose the world can be a dark place and we can all go though moments of feeling unloved. One thing that never ceases to amaze me is the love that animals have for us, and it upsets me so much when I see the cruelty we inflict on them continuously.
Initially I didn't want to compromise my beauty or skincare routine and it took a while to change everything. Currently I'm proud to say every element is cruelty-free, as far as I am aware, as legislations and company policy changes from time to time. ( I'm looking at you NARS )
From hair dye, to tan, nail polish, foundations, perfume, SPF, skin and body care I've found a solution that works for me. It also hasn't been expensive as you might think. The new Penney's Make Up range is vegan and cruelty free as well as Wet N'Wild to name just two I use myself that are incredibly reasonable also.
Here are a few suggestions if you want to move to cruelty free cosmetics:
-If you want to make changes please don't think it's impossible or get overwhelmed. Take things at your own pace, use up your current products and do some research and test out some new options in the meantime.
-Have a look in you beauty cabinets and google whether the companies test on animals or look them up on trusted sites like Cruelty Free Kitty. If some of your products do test - before they run out - trial some cruelty-free alternatives. When the time comes to replace them you will have a replacement. I am well aware strong coverage and good products are necessary for personal confidence so take the time to find what's right for you - with no pressure.
-Get active on social - it can be very upsetting to realise that your favourite brand of foundation or lipstick engages in this extremely cruel practice. You have a voice and using it will only accelerate companies banning this practice globally. Telling them why you are no longer buying or supporting the company speaks louder than you can imagine.
-If you choose to support a charity - ensure they are campaigning for changes to legislation. Rescuing is a short-term solution. Legislative change is fundamentally important. I volunteer and am a proud (unpaid) ambassador for the ISPCA as they are tackling the legal side of things, as well as caring and re-homing rescued animals.
-Look for the Leaping Bunny certified cruelty free logo and check out their brand list before you buy and follow bloggers like Leanne Woodfull who only features cruelty free beauty and youtuber Laura's views has so many beauty tutorials and shopping tip videos. I also have a weekly Cruelty Free column on IndulgeMe.ie as well as here.
-Charity shops will accept perfume and barely used cosmetics if you no longer want to use them and you want to donate.
Some of my favourite brands that are crueltly free include:
Yonka, Primark PS range Make Up, Charlotte Tilbury, Bare Minerals, Trish McEvoy, Human and Kind, The Body Shop, Aveda, Laura Mercier, Cover FX, Catwalk HQ, Dr Bronner and Wet N'Wild. Obviously there are so many more products but these are just what I personally use and love.
My heart is sort of broken from having to research this piece but I hope it's been informative.