A RABBIT WARREN is made up of a series of intricate interconnected burrows. In relation, much could be said about trying to navigate the maze of controversial problems surrounding animal cruelty and welfare. Every year, 115 million animals are used for cosmetic and domestic products, drugs, toxicology and research trials.
Animals are subjected to abhorrent, cruel tests, such as the Draize test in which the irritation or corrosiveness of a substance is measured by dripping substances into animal’s eyes, causing pain and permanent damage. Skin sensitisation tests are applied directly to animals’ skins, often resulting in cracked skin, ulcers, burns and discomfort or pain. Some undergo oral toxicity tests, where a tube is passed down their throat and a substance injected. The animals suffer from diarrhoea, internal bleeding and immobility, which all ultimately lead to a painful death. We are a nation of pet lovers, emotionally invested when it comes to our own animals, yet they’re no different to those subjected to these inhumane tests. Horrifyingly, even products that fail these tests may still end up on the market.
Rising pressure from consumers, governing bodies and organisations have led to hundreds of companies registering as cruelty free. Alternative, non-invasive, economical and more accurate experiments are carried out on EpiDerm, a cultivated model of human skin grown in labs, which can accommodate a wide variety of toxicity, dermal corrosion, drug metabolism and DNA repair tests. Other methods include computerised trials or tests on human volunteers. With new products on the market every year and increased awareness in buying cruelty free products on the rise, a result is the dizzying variety of certified labels to reassure and appeal to the ethically selective consumer. Cruelty Free International requires companies to successfully complete a stringent checklist before they can be awarded the leaping bunny, PETA’s symbol, accompanied by text stating whether it is cruelty free or vegan friendly. PETA have also developed an app allowing consumers to scan the bar code of any product and tell you its cruelty status. It’s available in all app stores, free. Animal testing for the use of cosmetics is banned within the UK and Europe, but is a legal requirement in China.
With this in mind, are companies who sell products in China really cruelty free? L’Oréal admit that some of their Chinese suppliers still test on animals. Other culpable companies include Nivea, Head & Shoulders, Bobbi Brown, Covergirl, Estee Lauder, Avon, Vaseline and MAC. But there’s good news! Sainsbury’s and Tesco’s own products are all both cruelty free and affordable, including body, hair, oral and household goods. Sainsbury’s also clearly labels any products containing palm oil. Cosmetics by Sleek, Barry M, Natural Collection and The Balm don’t sell in China and are perfect cruelty free purchases – proof that you don’t need to sacrifice money for morals. These are the ultimate combination of good ethos and quality of product, with excellent value for money.