Friday, March 15, 2013

Cruelty-free cosmetic products are truly beautiful

Eamon the cat in his cat bed
Cats, dogs and rabbits should all have soft beds in their future,
not needles and wire cages.
It's about 3pm, and by my count, I've used something like 10 beauty products today, including lotion, hand soap, cuticle cream, toothpaste, face lotion, lip balm, dental floss and deodorant. Some of these products help me stay healthy, but many of them just smell good and they make me feel a little better about myself. In other words, most of these products aren't worth dying for.

If I hadn't checked the labels before I made my purchases, however, it's likely that a little creature would have died due to my need to smell nice and stay soft.

This week, the European Union passed legislation that bans the sale of cosmetic products that were tested on animals. No such legislation is even being considered within the United States. This means that our store shelves are lined with products that were developed and then tested on tiny creatures like mice, rabbits, monkeys, dogs and cats.

Even though animal cells don't always respond in similar ways when compared to human cells, many manufacturers torture little animals with products just to prove that these products are "safe."

In reality, these tests prove nothing at all.

There are thousands of really horrible pictures floating around the web of animals that have been tortured during product testing. I could be cruel and post them here, but I'll leave that to you to do for yourself. If you haven't seen these images, I promise you won't forget them once you do see them, and the photos are likely to make you want to spring into action.

That's just what happened to me 10 years ago, when I opened up a mailer from PETA and was confronted with a photo of a blind rabbit, used in testing for shampoo. I've been careful to avoid products tested on animals ever since then.

There's very little homogenization regarding animal testing, so different manufacturers use different symbols and words to outline the steps they take to protect animals from abuse. A typical symbol looks a little like a rabbit jumping through a hoop, although some products I buy use the words "cruelty free" or "not tested on animals" under the ingredient list. For me, either method is enough proof. Shoppers who want to do more can use this tool to research manufacturers before they buy.

Want to do even more? Consider signing this petition from the Humane Society of the United States. It's cruelty-free week, so this is an apt step to take.

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