Warning: This post will make you uncomfortable.
I've loved animals for as long as I can remember. My parents had a border collie mix named Maynard before I was born, and they tell stories of how he and I would play in the living room or how Maynard would pace back and forth by the pool when I was swimming because he wanted to keep an eye on me.
I started horseback riding when I was a little girl, and continued way into my teens. Throughout the course of my life, my family has had dogs, birds, fish, and a turtle. Hans and I have a cat and my beloved, super-sweet, fluffy, is-58-pounds-and-thinks-he's-a-lap-dog border collie/Australian shepherd mix named Banjo. I pull over and try to save every turtle I see crossing the road.
I can’t watch any movie where the dog dies because I will ball my eyes out. I have a weak stomach and I’m naive about much of the suffering that goes on in the world.
But I do know this: I can't stand cruelty to any sentient being. Cruelty against humans or animals is a wicked and sinful thing.
This I also know: the majority of makeup products on the market today (as well as self care products, household cleaners, and a gazillion other things) use animal testing.
Animal testing is, by this definition from the International Humane Society, "procedures performed on living animals for purposes of research into basic biology and diseases, assessing the effectiveness of new medicinal products, and testing the human health and/or environmental safety of consumer and industry products such as cosmetics, household cleaners, food additives, pharmaceuticals and industrial/agro-chemicals."
That doesn't sound so terrible, right?
Let's keep going.
According to PETA (I don't 100% agree with PETA 100% of the time, but they have put out a lot of research), "U.S. law allows animals to be burned, shocked, poisoned, isolated, starved, drowned, addicted to drugs, and brain-damaged. No experiment, no matter how painful or minor, is prohibited - and pain-killers are not required."
These experiments are done on mice, fish, rats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, farm animals, birds, cats, dogs, monkeys and (in some countries) chimpanzees. Virtually all of these animals either die as a result of the testing, or are killed afterwards.
Here's a 60-second video about animal testing. It will make you uncomfortable, but it will also help you understand that this is a serious and sickening problem.
Over 100 million animals are burned, crippled, poisoned, and abused in U.S. labs every year.
I understand that new products and medicines need to be tested. I am thankful for the knowledge that my mascara won't chemically burn my eyeballs. But here's the thing: animal tests rarely predict real-world effects on humans.
Animals are not humans: so the way an animal reacts to X, Y, or Z is NOT going to be the same way a human reacts. For example: Chocolate is not poisonous to me, but it is to Banjo. Additionally, the FDA has stated that 92% of all drugs that are shown to be safe and effective in animal tests fail in human trials because they don’t work or are dangerous.
Also, even if a product harms animals? It can still be marketed to consumers. What the??!!
If you've never heard about animal testing before, I apologize if I've overwhelmed you. It's a lot to take in, and it's also rather overwhelming (not to mention depressing) to think about. But that's the reason that I don't buy beauty products from drugstores.
Well, I don't buy the majority of beauty products from drugstores.
There are a handful of brands out there that are cruelty-free and carried in big-name stores like Target or Walgreens, but there is less selection and usually a heftier price tag. An exception to this is ELF Cosmetics...they are decent quality and inexpensive, while still being cruelty-free. I love me some ELF! There are also plenty of boutique shops that offer cruelty-free products (my favorite is LUSH Cosmetics), but these tend to be pricier as well. Most natural grocers carry cruelty-free products, too.
Personally, I've decided that having a clean conscience as well as a clean body is worth the extra money. I want to live my life in such a way that it matches up with my values and beliefs. I don't want my dollars inadvertently enabling cruelty towards God's creatures.
What sits in your makeup cabinet and on the shelf in your shower is your decision, not mine. The goal of this post is simply to tell you what's worked for me and give you some education. I would love to continue the conversation in the comments section below!
Had you ever heard about animal testing before? Have you ever purposefully bought a cruelty-free beauty item?