If you’re reading this article, chances are you’ve already considered or are well underway of dropping products that are not cruelty-free from your lifestyle. Animal testing and animal ingredients have found a way to permeate a large portion of products on the market, whether that product is for cosmetic purposes, household cleaning, natural hygiene and beauty — you name it, there’s probably a history of animal suffering behind it. The beautiful thing about this dismal situation is that people are actually willing to try, to take a stand, and make a change in our society for the betterment of animals’ lives and our own.
This can become increasingly difficult in a world where most products are not specifically labeled. Sometimes, a company can slap on the phrase “not tested on animals” to their product despite there being numerous animal ingredients used in its creation. Other companies find loopholes to claim cruelty-free status while being owned by a parent company that funds massive amounts of animal testing and other forms of cruelty. While your best bet for truly cruelty-free products is to look for a label that says “vegan” rather than simply “not tested on animals,” even still we may need to look into individual companies to ensure that they are true to their word.
It can get frustrating sometimes! And why should we dance around the aisles of our local drugstores and food marts in vain, picking up a million bottles and bags before we find the one true cruelty-free product? Instead of consumers amending their lives to the hazards of animal testing, we should be demanding that the companies themselves amend their policy. Our purchasing power can only go so far; it’s time for the companies themselves to make the next move. Here are some companies that the ethical consumer community might benefit most from a change in policy:
Cleaning is painful enough. Nooks and crannies full of dust bunnies, a strange fungus growing in the corner of your bathroom, and you don’t even want to know what the top of the refrigerator looks like. Cleaning without all the pain should be easy, yet Clorox – best known for their bleach products, and owners of Glad and Pinesol, among many others – still uses animal testing. A petition against this behavior, and details about how Clorox has been evading animal rights centered regulations, can be found here.
Why should ethical consumers care? Well, one of the major brand names for “eco-friendly, ethically conscious cleaning,” Greenworks, is owned by Clorox. This really limits options for vegans, environmentalists, and anyone against animal testing in general. While we won’t be turning to Greenworks again anytime soon, alternative cruelty-free cleaning companies you may want to give a try are Sun and Earth and Seventh Generation.
This brand makes it big primarily in the personal hygiene category with toothpaste first, followed by soaps, deodorant – and other things I’d recommend you don’t go without for more than three days…even if you THINK you can cover it up with a cheap body spray or cologne (first year college boys, I’m looking at you). And while it’s on the list of companies that test on animals, this generally bothers very few consumers, as there are plenty of cruelty-free and vegan soaps out there… but what about toothpaste? An ethical consumer go-to for clean teeth, Tom’s of Maine, is owned by Colgate-Palmolive. I used to love Tom’s toothpaste before I found out that whenever I bought a tube of minty Tom’s, I inadvertently paid for animal testing.
Colgate-Palmolive has made the claim that it is ethically friendly due to the fact that they “only use animal testing when necessary.” Luckily, KissMyFace provides some cruelty-free toothpaste without the BS, as does the company GreenPeople.
Johnson & Johnson
Does this company sound familiar to you? How about what this company owns: Purell, Aveeno, Visine, O.B. tampons, Lubriderm, Neutrogena, Clean and Clear? It’s apparent, and unfortunate, that Johnson & Johnson is a company that dominates facial cleansers, as well as some, ahem, interesting products like K-Y Lubricants.
“Alright,” you’re thinking, “I was fine when I thought that I had to brush my teeth using a leaf and some water, I was okay thinking that I’d have to rub flowers under my armpits for deodorant, but if you’re saying in order to be cruelty-free I’ll have to live out the rest of my life as a pimply virgin, we’re gonna have some problems here.”
Fear not, pimply virgins, for living cruelty-free doesn’t suck all the fun out of life. While we wait patiently and petition Johnson & Johnson’s use of animal testing, independent companies like Lush jump to the rescue with amazing facial cleansers (that smell so great, you have to try them) and many other hygienic and body-pampering products. And for all of your ‘private’ needs, The Vegan Sex Shop has you covered. A small portion of their profits even go to animal rights and human rights charities, so you can feel good and clean even when you’re planning to get a little dirty, if you know what I mean.
L’Oreal, like Colgate-Palmolive, likes to pretend that using animal testing as an exception when “regulatory authorities required it for safety or regulatory purposes” means “we don’t use animal testing.” On their own site, it outlines clearly that they honestly believe that statements about not using animal testing and specifically using animal testing are not contradictory whatsoever. More information about L’Oreal’s loopholes and how the Chinese cosmetics market plays into this can be found here and a petition to call L’Oreal out on its animal testing can be found here.
Best known for their beauty products and cosmetics and the brand name behind The Body Shop, ethical consumers will have to look elsewhere for the time being while L’Oreal sorts its priorities out.
Image source: Understanding Animal Research/Flickr