Tips to help you become a cruelty-free and eco-friendly shopper

I find it very sad and totally unnecessary that so many of the products on our supermarket shelves, from lipsticks to floor cleaners, have either been tested on animals or contain ingredients that have.  So many great companies are able to produce effective and cruelty-free products so why do other businesses find it necessary to test on animals? If you don't want an animal to suffer just for the sake of your longer and fuller lashes or sparkling bathroom and want to make sure that the products you buy haven't been tested on animals there is help at hand:

Naturewatch

Naturewatch, a charity against animal cruelty, run a compassionate shopping campaign.

“Some consumer products reap a high toll in animal lives, whether by necessitating animal testing or destroying habitats.”

They sell a fantastic handbag-sized Compassionate Shopping Guide for a bargain £4. It's packed full of tips from where to find cruelty-free and eco-friendly products on the internet, in the supermarket or even spa, to eco-cleaning tips and homemade cleaning product recipes.  Mine is always in my bag and has improved invaluable to making this green change in my life. The lists of endorsed companies held some surprises for me as did the list of companies who aren't getting the Naturewatch seal of approval.

BUAV

The  Go Cruelty Free international campaign has the Leaping Bunny mark which you've probably seen on a variety of household, personal care and cosmetic products. BUAV say that:

“Products bearing the Leaping Bunny mark are certified ‘cruelty free’ under the internationally-recognised Humane Cosmetics or Humane Household Products Standards. These rigorous standards stipulate that no animal testing is conducted or commissioned for finished products or ingredients in any phase of product development by the company, its laboratories or its suppliers after a fixed cut-off date.”

Their incredibly useful website includes a cruelty-free product search where you can search by country and The Little Book of Cruelty Free which is available for free by download or post. BUAV's “Go cruelty free” campaign was supported by celebrities such as Joanna Lumley, Helen Mirren, Dannii Minogue, Jude Law and Kimberley Wyatt. After a long, hard battle, the European Union became free of all new animal tested cosmetics in March 2013. Great news but although the EU Cosmetics Testing Ban is now in force, L'Oréal, and other multi-national companies can carry on using animal testing outside Europe.  That means if you buy form these companies your money could be used to fund animal testing! That is why I'm determined to use my consumer power to support companies who chose not to test on animals, not companies who have been forced not to use animal testing because of the ban.

PETA

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Foundation is a UK-based charity dedicated to establishing and protecting the rights of all animals. The Easy Way to Go Cruelty-Free (Warning: contains upsetting images) is a useful read.

Useful info

‘Fixed cut-off date' and ‘rolling rule'

BUAV explain the difference between a ‘fixed cut-off date' for animal testing and a ‘rolling rule':

A company which adheres to a fixed cut-off date does not allow animal tests for any of its finished products, ingredients or formulations after a set date. The particular date is determined by each company and is a pledge that ‘from this day forward’ (the fixed cut-off date) animal testing will not take place as part of the manufacturing of the company's products. Company formulations and products should be developed with reference to this fixed cut-off date.

By contrast, a company which operates a ‘rolling rule’ (such as a five-year rolling rule) will not use an ingredient which has been tested within the specified timeframe (five years for example). However, it can use those same ingredients once the time has expired. We believe that the rolling rules allow for animal testing to continue within the industry, discouraging the development of alternative research methods.

Word games

Some companies are sneaky and deliberately try to deceive consumers. They may make claims such as “this product is not tested on animals” to hide the fact that the ingredients are tested on animals, or “this company does not test on animals”, which may mean the company contracts out its testing to other companies.

Cruelty-free companies not on the list

Not every company which isn't approved by PETA will do animal testing or buy animal-tested ingredients – but only those listed here are guaranteed to be 100% cruelty-free. Some brand-new companies or very small ones may be cruelty-free, but they might not be approved by the HCS or HHPS yet. If in doubt, ask the company about their animal testing policy. If you can recommend any cruelty-free companies not on the list, please post them in the comments section.


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