In my journey towards a completely cruelty-free cosmetics collection I’ve ran into this problem so many times: a brand calling itself cruelty-free, while not actually being cruelty-free. It’s a bit of a struggle to find out which brands you actually want to support and which ones you don’t. But why is this such a problem and how do I work around it? I’ll tell you all about it in today’s post!
Let’s start by talking a bit about the term cruelty-free. What exactly does it entail? A product is considered cruelty-free when animals aren’t harmed or killed in the production, testing and selling processes. In the most common sense this is when a product isn’t tested on animals in any stage, and that is the standard that most people hold when talking about cruelty-free products. That is because cruelty-free products aren’t always vegan, but when you look at the processes used to gain some of the animal products, you can’t always call a product cruelty-free since these processes can harm animals. So sometimes it’s a bit of a tough distinction, and that’s also why I’m trying to convert my entire cosmetics collection to a vegan one. But that’s not the point of this article. We’re talking about cruelty-free beauty here, which in this case are products that aren’t tested on animals in any way, shape or form and don’t immediately cause harm to animals.
I think most people can agree that animal testing is unnecessary. In the current age there are so many perfectly fine alternatives, there is absolutely no need to put poor, innocent animals through the harm of chemicals just so we can look a bit pretty. There are currently even ways to use cultured human cells in the laboratory and test the products and ingredients on that. They can also run the products through computer models and predict the reactions, and then there’s always the option to use human volunteers to test products on. Because at least those people gave permission to be tested on, unlike the poor animals used in animal testing. So yes, animal testing is completely unnecessary. Especially for such unimportant products like make-up and shampoo, we’re not even talking about medicine testing here!
So now we have decided that animal testing is unnecessary, and that there apparently are brands that agree with us, let’s identify the problem here. When you decide to only use cruelty-free brands from now on, you have to Google every brand to see where they stand. And then you can’t trust what the brand itself is saying. Why? Because some of them are a bunch of sly foxes. In Europe animal testing is banned, so most European brands do not test on animals. That’s great, right? Well, yes. However, there are also countries where animal testing currently is mandatory. Yes, you read that right. For example, when a brand wants to sell its products in mainland China, the product will be tested on animals in China before it’s sold, because that’s just how it works over there.
Now you’re probably thinking, what does this have to do with the brand? Well, there are only very, very few locations in the world where animal testing is mandatory, so why should a brand decide to sell in those places? There are a lot of name-brands like L’oréal and MAC which do sell in China as well, even though they call themselves cruelty-free. They call themselves cruelty-free, while still endorsing and allowing animal testing on their products, just for a bit more profit. Technically, yes, the brands themselves are cruelty-free because they are not doing any animal testing themselves, but they are still allowing it to happen. Just for their own gain. So if they want to call themselves cruelty-free, why still stand behind animal testing? They’re just catering to the current market by naming themselves cruelty-free, while still making full use of animal testing. It’s very sneaky, and that’s why you should never trust the statements by the brands themselves. So that’s the big problem: a brand can call themselves cruelty-free, while still endorsing animal testing.
But how do we work around this problem? Well, since so many people struggle with this, there are thankfully some easy ways to deal with it. The main thing is just that you have to do your own research. If you believe animal testing is cruel, you should not be giving your money to brands which allow such a thing to happen. So before you buy a product of which you’re not sure if it’s cruelty-free, do a quick Google search. My favourite place to look is at the CrueltyFreeKitty. She has an entire database on brands which are and aren’t fully cruelty-free. If you’re looking for a brand that’s not on that list, you can also do some investigating yourself. I have done this a few times with some smaller brands. Just send them an e-mail asking if they are cruelty-free, if they sell in mainland China and if they have any plans to do so in the future. It’s also great to ask if they know if their ingredients are tested on animals as well. But most products that are made in Europe are cruelty-free, you just have to know where the brand stands with selling their products in China.
So yes, brands can be very sneaky, because in the end it’s all about the money to them. And since you vote with your money in this day and age, you should definitely do your research on where your money is going. Because brands can just deceive you like that. They make you think that they’re cruelty-free and safe to put your money into, while they are actually not. It may be a tiny bit more trouble to research the brands, but at least then you know that you’re voting for something good. And apparently it’s helping, because China is making changes to their animal testing policies next year. So hopefully this whole problem will be something we don’t have to deal with anymore. However, I’m not sure I would want to buy from MAC next year, just because China changed their rules. They still supported animal testing while they could have just refrained from that. Anyways, I hope I was able to tell you something new today. Just keep your eye out for sneaky brands and keep doing your own research. I want to thank you for reading, and I’ll see you next time!