I used to think that I was quite fashion and beauty conscious, but it wasn’t until I made a New Year’s Resolution to make a better effort to buy Cruelty Free that I realised just how inappropriate the use of the word ‘conscious’ is. Sadly, before many of them reach our make up bags or bathrooms, many of our favourite products are tested on animals. Such tests often involve severe pain and inhumane living conditions and it can be heartbreaking to see pictures of helpless creatures that have been subjected to such cruelty.
In this day and age there should be absolutely no reason for huge international conglomerate companies to be testing their products on lab animals. There are many recognizable brands as well as lots of smaller, lesser-known brands that use alternative and legally accepted forms of product testing. Some of these brands are even owned by the larger parent companies but, luckily, many of the smaller brands have stuck to their guns and insisted that their brand does not lose its cruelty free status.
It seems somewhat a no-brainer that animal testing should not be required by law, but sadly, that is not the case. Although animal testing itself is banned in the UK, you don’t have to look far to find a brand on sale in the UK that openly admits to the testing of its products or their ingredients elsewhere. Although the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) has been campaigning since the end of the 19th century, it is only recently that any real progress has been made. The European Union is on the cusp of passing the 7th amendment to the Cosmetics Directive, which would ban the testing on animals of all cosmetics and ingredients within the EU, as well as the ban on the import and sale of any product which has been tested on animals anywhere else in the world. However, due to pressure from some huge international corporations that want to continue trading within the EU as well as countries that require animal tests by law such as China, the Directive is yet to be fully implemented. Until then, the only thing we as consumers can do is to make a more conscious effort to buy cruelty free, but is that easier said than done?
In order for a product to be truly cruelty free, it will be marked with the internationally recognised Leaping Bunny logo. 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.’
The Leaping Bunny is found marked on the products of many well-known brands so it should be pretty easy to just ensure that we are only buying from these brands. However, with recent research showing that many women tend to stick to the same tried and tested cosmetic products, not wanting to compromise their looks, it seems extremely unlikely that we will be able to push these international brands either out of our market or towards alternative testing techniques.
By Louise Hayward