The Power of the Consumer
You’re walking down the aisle in a grocery store not really paying attention to the toothpaste you just threw into your cart. That toothpaste may just represent a means to an end for you, but to countless rabbits, guinea pigs, mice, and more, that toothpaste is the reason for their continuous suffering.
Why should you care?
Welcome to a brief lesson on ethics in the market place:
Unfortunately, the meat industry isn’t the only avenue leading to animal cruelty. Products that are made using animal testing are still a major part of much of the household items we may unknowingly buy today. What is worse is that even though the USDA does not require animal testing, this practice is still conducted on ingredients that are known to be harmless and can be effectively tested through non-animal methods (i.e. invitro). You can learn more about the stark reality behind animal testing here:
The good news is that companies are making more of an effort to be transparent to build an image that is consistent with public demand. This transparency helps us, the consumers, make decisions that are in line with our values.
Which brings me to my next major point:
The Power Of One
People, undoubtedly, have the power to influence markets by making informed choices that push companies to change their practices. The power of one applies no place better than in the market. For instance, if one out of every 100 people stops buying products obtained through cruel methods, imagine the impact this shift can have in a country that contains 319 million people! China recently lifted their mandatory animal testing requirement for certain cosmetic items at the outrage of consumers and companies alike who did not want to participate in such a rigid market. This is progress. This just shows that consumers do truly drive the market and can shape the business practices of companies and even policies of countries. India, Israel, and the European Union have completely banned animal testing in cosmetics!
Each and every person has the ability to drive compassionate consumerism changes simply by doing a bit of research and choosing products that are cruelty free. How do you know if a product is cruelty free?
Educate Yourself On Misleading Verbiage
If a product labels says, “No Animal Testing” or “This product was not tested on animals” or any other variation, be wary.
With such phrasing, there’s more than meets the eye. A company itself may not test on animals but may still purchase ingredients from another company that did test on animals. Similarly, products that label themselves as not performing animal testing may still hire a contract company to do the dirty work for them. The finished product itself might be “cruelty free” but as you can see, the devil is in the details.
Look for the “Cruelty Free Bunny” or “Leaping Bunny Logo”
The Cruelty Free Bunny indicates that the company has signed on wit
h PETA to ensure there is no animal testing in any part of their process. To PETA, animal cruelty does not stop at animal testing. Products must also be free of animal products, such as lanolin, dairy, honey, etc.
PETA includes a list of cruelty free companies here: http://features.peta.org/cruelty-free-company-search/index.aspx#ixzz3E0pWZHUc
The Leaping Bunny Program only includes products that are 100% cruelty free. This means no animal testing in any stage of production; this includes laboratory testing and contract companies that supply ingredients. Companies undergo an independent audit of their entire product chain to ensure the rigorous cruelty free standards are met.
The Leaping Bunny program publishes a consumer guidebook on their website and even provides an app that can be download and used while shopping!
Visit it here: http://www.leapingbunny.org/shopping.php
I personally believe that a product that is cruelty free should not contain animal testing OR animal ingredients. When lanolin, a product derived from the shockingly inhumane wool industry, is included in a product that is considered cruelty free for the lack of animal testing conducted, the product cannot, in my eyes, be truly cruelty free. For this reason, I try to buy products that are cruelty and animal-product free.
Urge Companies To Change Their Practices
Call and write to companies to update their practices to incorporate non-animal testing methods. Better yet, sign or even start your own petitions to push companies to change their policies. After ample public pressure, Colgate has promised a moratorium on animal testing and is currently searching for alternatives to make company wide animal testing changes. Even though Colgate has not gone 100% cruelty free, their changes illustrate that public perception does have an impact on giant corporations’ policies.
Do your homework, understand the PETA and Leaping Bunny lists, and make decisions that impact positive trends towards banning cruel practices!
Next time you walk down that toothpaste aisle, consider picking up this brand of toothpaste.
Instead of Clorox, opt for this cruelty free
Instead of Neutrogena products, consider switching to a cruelty free brand like Alba.
“Let’s be the change we want to see in the world”- Mahatma Gandhi
Resources used in this article came from: