09.02.17

How to make sure your beauty products aren’t tested on animals

Animal testing of cosmetics has been on the nose in recent years across the globe, and many mainstream beauty companies have been phasing out or have stopped entirely the use of animal experimentation.

In July this year, Australia will follow the path set by the EU and New Zealand to ban products that have been tested on animals. This is a huge and very welcome step that should be celebrated, but we still have to be aware of what we are choosing at the checkout.

Unfortunately the ban doesn’t affect brands that already have a foothold in the market; it only targets new products.

Most of us are familiar with why animal testing is so unappealing and unethical, and due to latest technology, unnecessary. But here’s a gentle reminder for those that may have forgotten, sparing too many yucky details.

 

vegan beauty

At this stage, the onus is still on consumers to do their own investigation. So how do you ensure that your favourite lippie isn’t tested on innocent bunnies?

Testing cosmetics most commonly occurs on mice, rats, guinea pigs, hamsters and rabbits. The practices are cruel, often painful and often lethal to the animals. It is certainly difficult to justify the routine experimentation on, and limitation of quality of life, on any creature simply to test products that humans use for beautification.

While it’s great news that many global brands have made moves to end animal testing for their products and ingredients, we cannot rely on good faith to ensure what we buy is cruelty free. It’s a tricky world out there – a brand you buy may be cruelty free but its parent company may not be. And there are still many brands that practice animal testing, despite claiming they do not.

A legal loophole means some companies test on animals overseas, or condone experimentation on their behalf and funded by them, at some stage of production. If they sell their goods in China (a very lucrative market), for example, they must be tested on animals before they reach the shelves.

BE CLEAR ABOUT YOUR OWN BOUNDARIES

Do a bit of research on animal testing. Are you happy to support a big brand, such as Revlon and Loreal, knowing they are making awesome steps towards limiting animal testing, but haven’t stopped animal testing on all of their products or ingredients at some point of production? Are you happy to buy a brand that does not test on animals, but whose parent company still does? Or will only give your dollar to brands who have one hundred percent phased out or never practised animal testing? Once you know your own ethics, it’s easier to be an informed consumer.

LOOK OUT FOR THE BUNNY

bunny

The bunny symbol signifies a product is cruelty-free.

GO ONLINE

There are many animal welfare websites that have comprehensive checklists about which brands do and don’t test their products on animals, anywhere on the production line. These are a free resource, and very easy to use. Check out Animals Australia and their cruelty-free makeup list: http://www.choosecrueltyfree.org.au/makeup/ and their more comprehensive cruelty-free product list, which is regularly updated: http://www.choosecrueltyfree.org.au/cruelty-free-list/. The animal rights group PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) also has a comprehensive list of products which cover the market outside Australia: http://features.peta.org/cruelty-free-company-search/index.aspx. You simply type in the brand, and PETA gives you a brief rundown of its animal testing status. They also have a free phone app available for download called ‘bunny free’, which is great if you’re on-the-go.

VOTE WITH YOUR DOLLAR

Actively support brands that boast about being properly and legitimately cruelty-free, either on their packaging, website, or social media. Given the cosmetic industry’s recent history, it isn’t asking much that they make it very clear they do not condone animal testing. Give your hard earned dollars to brands that sing their cruelty-free status from the rooftops, or at least make it easy for buyers to find out. It shows they’re aware of the importance of renouncing animal testing, and are proud to advertise it.

MAKE CONTACT

If you still can’t get a satisfactory answer, contact the company directly. Email or call and ask a few simple, key questions. Do you test on animals?; Are any of your ingredients from suppliers tested on animals?; Are you owned by another company who tests on animals? If it’s a product or brand you buy often, it’s worth the little bit of effort to ensure they are cruelty-free.

Photo credit: Lowe PirellaFronzoni – Milan

Kira Simpson

Founder + Director of The Green Hub, an urban green living advocate and coffee obsessive. She believes there is no one size fits all green lifestyle and we can all live more sustainably in a way that fits in with each of our unique lifestyles.