I want to start a new series on the blog where I bring up more in-depth topics and we can discuss them together. These are topics that have been floating around in my head for months, and I’ve always been unsure whether or not I should address them. I decided to finally go for it, so here we go!

This month, I want to focus on the topic of who can be “blamed”, or rather, held responsible for animal testing.

This isn’t about pointing fingers or making anyone feel bad about their choices. I believe, at least in the case of animal testing, that it’s important to place a “blame” somewhere because it would act as the first step towards finding a solution to this problem.

Blaming someone (or rather something, like some people’s actions or a country’s regulations) would mean that we’re deciding who is doing the most harm, and also, who has the power to do the most good.

I can think of 3 “entities” which can be held responsible for animal testing, at least to some degree. All of them have the power to do some good, and remedy the situation.

1. The brands themselves

The first and most obvious choice would be to blame the companies who test on animals. These are mainly giants of the beauty industry, such as L’Oreal, Estee Lauder, Procter & Gamble, and Unilever. These companies continue to finance tests on animals rather than use alternative methods or refuse to enter markets that require animal testing.

The problem with blaming and shaming the companies themselves is that businesses don’t feel guilt or shame, much less compassion. Businesses are fuelled by money. Even “ethical” businesses are motivated by money first and foremost, using ethics to appeal to ethical audiences in order to sell. So we could blame these businesses, but blaming them would have no real impact since profit is the only language they speak, meaning nothing would change.

2. The consumers

This brings us to the second most obvious group to blame, which is the consumers. Either out of ignorance or apathy, many consumers continue to purchase from the aforementioned companies which test mercilessly on animals. These consumers continue to unwillingly support animal testing by financing those companies, which sends them the following message: cruelty towards animals has no impact on their profits and is therefore okay.

But can consumers really be blamed? The truth about animal testing is often hidden, and billions of dollars are spent on marketing and PR to ensure that brands like L’Oreal and Covergirl only show us their most glamorous facade, burying any animal torture under the rug.

3. Governments

We’re left with one group which, in my opinion, can make the biggest impact: federal governments. Governments are generally responsible for placing limits on what’s allowed and what isn’t. They have the power to make any practice illegal. As proof, animal testing has already been banned in the EU, Norway, New Zealand, Isreal, Turkey, and India, and each of these bans reduced animal testing in part.

I believe that the future of the cruelty-free movement lies in governments worldwide banning animal testing. The main problem right now is mainland China’s policy, which requires animal testing for all foreign cosmetics. A change in China’s policy would have a huge impact on the beauty industry and would spare over 375,000 animals a year.

Unfortunately, governments are known to move at a turtle’s pace, so we can only hope that more bans will fall in place in the near future. Nevertheless, I think that more pressure should be put on our local governments to introduce these bill and see them pass. It’s where we can make the biggest difference.

Of course, purchasing cruelty-free brands and boycotting those who test on animals also has the potential to make a huge difference and should never be underestimated, as it’s the main positive action that we can take as consumers.

What do you think about these issues? Do you think anyone should be held responsible for animal testing?

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88 Comments on "Getting Real: Is Anyone To Blame For Animal Testing?"

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Jennifer
Guest
Thank you for writing about this topic!! I am definitely interested in reading and discussing more about these issues. I don’t think any one entity or person is to blame overall. I agree that Federal Govts are the only ones that can make a huge shift. Companies/people who don’t care now, won’t care later. I am so so happy to see some countries moving towards the ban. Unfortunately, the country I live in (US) probably won’t see much change from the govt any time soon. This current administration doesn’t care about the general human population; I don’t see them giving… Read more »
Jennifer Joiner
Guest
I’m not sure blame is ever helpful in solving a problem. I am a firm believer in consumer power and it’s ability to affect change. If consumers en masse began to change their shopping habits and choose products known only to be cruelty free, this would directly impact on profits and the market would adapt to this. Shoppers need to see their money as a vote – when you give your money to a company you are voting to endorse their products, principles and practices, it’s more than simply transactional. Consumers are both the problem and the solution. This being… Read more »
Gloria Green
Guest
I absolutely agree with your comment. Once a consumer is informed about companies that animal test, as a consumer, STOP supporting those companies through purchases of their products…very powerful. I also like your suggestion about templates for writing to legislation and companies that animal test. Also, thank you, Suzi, for your efforts in researching and keeping the consumer informed about companies that animal test…Horrific! As if animals don’t feel pain…It makes me cry when thinking about the physical pain the test animals must feel until when? They die or are killed because they no longer have any useful value.
Kaylyn Van As
Guest
I totally agree with your list 100%. Businesses will always keep their eye on the profit and governments will always be slow, so it’s up to us as consumers to think a little bit further than our nose! People need to stop focusing on MAC lipsticks and Benefit brows because they’re trendy, and rather open their eyes to what is happening in the real world. It is disgusting and, in my eyes, inexcusable if people are aware and still choose to be a direct cause of the pain these poor animals go through. Thank you for all of the amazing… Read more »
Joanne
Guest
First of all, Suzie, I would like to congratulate you on such a wonderful, comprehensive blog! I really enjoy reading your posts and I stopped using MAC cosmetics because of the China policy. My family is now 90% cruelty free and we aim to be 100% by the end of the year. I believe it is a multi-faceted approach involving all of the entities you mention. We all need to work together to spread the word about cruelty free products and help consumers make more informed choices. Price will always be a factor in peoples’ choice of product but I… Read more »
Jan
Guest

Hi Suzi, can you please provide a source for “375,000 animals a year”? It’s so hard finding solid facts about China’s animal testing. Thanks in advance.

Kirsten
Guest
I like the idea of prioritising where action is most urgently needed – equally, we could flip the question and ask ‘what would help most?’ and probably reach similar answers: most obviously, stopping huge-scale animal abuse in China, and also encouraging governments more generally to enforce animal testing bans without loopholes (as well as educating consumers so they are aware of the power they hold in the equation i.e. to choose cruelty-free brands). What does the UN say about animal testing? Obviously we can lobby our own governments, but when it is happening elsewhere in the world, it seems to… Read more »
Alyssa
Guest

Totally agree that governments have the most power to put an end to animal testing. I truly hope to see legislation towards a cruelty free world in my lifetime. For now, I will continue to shop cruelty free for my family!

Jane
Guest

I hate even the thought of animal testing. But, aren’t we all being a bit hypocritical? We eat meat. We use cosmetics. We over-use pharmaceuticals. We have medical procedures done to save our lives. All these things have one thing in common. Animals were used and, often, killed and maimed so we could safely consume food, deal with pain, make ourselves more attractive, and save lives in a medical situation. Are we willing to give up ALL of these things to ensure the protection of innocent animals?

Karen Wheeler
Guest

Yes, we are! My house is 90% cruelty free soon to be 100%. I’m vegetarian, don’t buy products that are not cruelty free. The only leather I have I have owned for years. My one remaining is I’m not yet Vegan. It is a choice we all make for ourselves. It is so much easier these days with excellent products easily available now!

Angela
Guest

Good points. Why does it have to be all or nothing, though? If we all chose just one area to be kinder to animals, the impact would be huge. Maybe for me it’s cruelty-free beauty products, someone else mighy choose to eat only pasture-raised grass fed beef from small farms that is slaughtered humanely. Obviously it would be great if every single person could be cruelty-free, but we have to start somewhere. Rome wasn’t built in a day! 🙂 xoxo

Zola
Guest

We don’t all eat meat. My husband and I are vegan, for our health but mostly because we care about animals. I only buy cruelty free because I feel if we all stop purchasing from companies that participate in animal testing, they will eventually do the right thing. I know, this will most likely take a long time but at least I can sleep at night. Just wanted to let you know that ther are some of us who DO NOT eat animals or animal products.

Debby
Guest

For me the bigger question is how do we get away from animal testing? There are alternative methods but how do we, who have a passion and concern for animal rights, get change made?

Erin
Guest

What I would really like to know is what I can do right now, today, to stop animal testing. I went cruelty free a little over a year ago but I’d like to do more. I even quit smoking because of it. It breaks my heart and I truly want it to stop. Everywhere.

Alexis Calvert
Guest
Thank you for starting this discussion. I have always been against the exploitation of animals- most significantly the use of animals for testing products that are used solely for humams. Although I have aleays attempted to steer clear of companies that test on animals, I was sadly naive to just how many products I thought were okay, were actually owned by one of the worst offenders. It’s a learning experience trying to find things that I regularly use, that work well and are produced by compassionate companies. There is a lot more research going into each purchase I now make.… Read more »
Dawn Cox
Guest

What frustrates me is the dishonesty of companies. For example, Dove told me they do not test their products on animals. It’s only when you read their policy they state they do test ingredients and allow their products to be tested (e.g. China.)

If it was more widely known that the majority of brands stocked in supermarkets DO test, more people would choose Cruelty-Free. A lot of people (and until fairly recently this included me) thought animal testing ended a long time ago on cosmetics. Testing companies are not honest and therefore many people are under false impressions.

Kirsten
Guest

This is a really well written article! Please keep these coming (:

Olivia
Guest
I cant help but agree with this entire article. Firstly with the brand. I feel like the people who run the brands are completely ignorant to the fact they are testing on animals. I’m sure that none of the CEO’s go to the place they test and watch it being done and see how their testing tortures and kills animals. If they all did and still test, truly heartless and cold people. Secondly the consumer. Every day of my life (since I could) I have ignorantly bought thousands of products that have been tested on animals. I think where the… Read more »
L. H.
Guest
Thank you for your analysis of the forces behind animal testing. The article leads me to think that governmental bans are a good place to start. I also agree that people, in general, would be more likely to purchase cruelty-free products if they knew the brands that are involved in animal testing. As for the companies using animal testing, I think the obvious analogy to be drawn is between their executives and war criminals. The Nazi war criminals who were tried at Nuremberg may not have directly, physically tortured and killed people, but they were still among those responsible for… Read more »
Rosie
Guest
I think this is a really interesting debate and someone does need to be held responsible. Like you say, companies don’t care until it affects their profit so educating consumers is one of the best ways to force change. However, one argument I’ve heard from a friend (I live in the UK) is that “animal testing is banned in the EU therefore I’m not supporting animal testing by buying MAC because they’ve not tested for me, it’s other governments that made them test.” I can kinda follow the logic as they tried to stop themselves feeling guilty but it doesn’t… Read more »
Julie
Guest

Agreed, Rosie – I think consumers have to be the ones to signal to governments – first with their wallets, then with their calls and letters – that animal testing should not be accepted as a practice. And Suzi, thanks for the article! I think it really gets at some of the bigger issues behind why animal testing is still happening, and I’d be interested to hear more about the complex mechanisms behind it as well.

Courtney S
Guest

I definitely agree that the place to start and have the most impact is through our government. If companies aren’t forced to stop from a legal perspective I doubt they ever will. As you said, money is their motivator so perhaps slapping them with sanctions/fines will bring this barbaric practice to a stop.

R.Husak
Guest

I would put the consumer and the first problem. Thanks to you people are becoming aware if what’s going on!! Money talks and that’s what will make the business listen. I’m trying to make people aware of the dolphin/mammal slaughters as well. Put that on your list of topics as well please.

Karen Wheeler
Guest
I agree to a certain extent. Foolish and naive though it may be, I think companies and consumers ARE very much to blame. Companies like Estée Lauder value their bottom line over ethics by choosing to sell in brick & mortar in China, for example, while continuing to espouse that they are in the forefront of funding alternative testing methods, and stating on their website they only test where required by law they make it easy for the lazy consumer to feel good about purchasing their products. I can understand they want to make money in all countries but in… Read more »
Suzan D
Guest
Hi, Karen, I agree completely with you as to your statement about being even angrier with the companies that didn’t use to test duping us. I, like you, used Mary Kay, Avon, Estee Lauder and Clinique with confidence that they were leaders in the cruelty free movement among major cosmetic companies. Then I found out that all of them had begun testing when they went in to China, because greed knows no boundaries. I immediately stopped buying from them and explained to the Clinique girl who called to tell me of the latest offerings that I would no longer use… Read more »
Cory
Guest
Thanks for your blog, Suzi. I also tend toward governments as the agencies most able to have an impact on animal testing, but in the US (at least theoretically), our government rep’s are responsive to their constituents, and I don’t think the collective electorate is making much noise about this topic. There are so many people who would be outraged by the cruelties perpetrated on animals by producers of cosmetics and household products, IF they were aware of the practice, but the majority of folks I talk to don’t even know it goes on. How can we educate the American… Read more »
Christina
Guest
Hi Suzi, I am happy that you decided to share, and i enjoyed reading this article. As a non ignorant consumer i can not find justification in others ignorance; consumers have the responsibility to research products they are buying. Consumers are aware that this practice is on going and they choose to continue to support these companies for whatever many reasons they may have. I think it’s horrible to support these companies, and even out of convenience i refuse to do it! I can not stand to see the social media posts that i scroll through on Facebook regarding animal… Read more »
Mello
Guest

I definitely agree that governments play a large role in whether or not animals are tested on. This is an issue that I’ve wrestled with for a while, and it really comes down to federal regulations. The best thing we can do right now is make the conscious effort to buy cruelty-free, and spread the message against animal testing in the beauty business. It makes me so sad to see CoberGirl ads, because I keep thinking, “…But how many animals died/were severely injured for this product?” It really makes you think.

Thanks for this article!

Helen
Guest
I feel like you hit the nail on the head with these three. My housemate and I went cruelty free almost two years ago and I was afraid at first that we would have a hard time finding products we were okay using. It’s been just the opposite and we are finding brands we like in more stores too. I have been very careful about how I’ve approached friends and family who don’t follow my shopping habits (I’ve recently gone vegetarian as well) but I’m finding it harder to do so. It’s a struggle to find a balance and I’d… Read more »
Marjory Moore
Guest
I recently began researching and came across this site. Until I came here, I didn’t realize how many companies still test on animals! I was happy to learn that most of the products I use are cruelty -free. I stopped buying products that are made by companies that test on animals. I’m looking into what else I can do to help. This article was definitely interesting. I have thought about all three aspects over the past week. Aside from not supporting companies that test on animals, what other ways can people like myself do to push this movement in the… Read more »
Julie
Guest
Hi suzi! Firstly can I just thank you for all your wonderful advice! Without you I would of been lost. Secondly I totally agree with what you’ve said. 1, the government & whoever it may be that makes this decision shouldn’t be allowed to make a decision at all it should just be a big fat NO.2nd I will never give my money over to any company that tests. 3rd, yes the companies should say NO too, there are that many companies that don’t that aren’t as greedy. But I suppose if it was 100% law everywhere then 2& 3… Read more »
Danell
Guest
First and foremost, the consumer. If everyone was vegan, a beautiful cruelty free lifestyle, this world would be wonderful. Vegans want the cruelty free products, in every way and form. If a consumer does not care about the animals, then the government steps in and performs animal testing, because that is the government law. I do not feel that animals should be tested on for anything. It is terribly wrong. Animals and people are not the same type of individual, so if testing needs to be done then humans should be tested on, for the products, when needed. As to… Read more »
Kristen Gaz
Guest
Putting it out there-in schools, that this is happening. So many people are unaware its even going on. Short story-I didn’t even know until just recently that Victorias Secret went against their word of being cruelty free. When I called to cancel my credit card I was contacted a few times thru email and a phone call asking why I canceled my card and how could they get me back? (Offer: A $50.00 gift card) (uhm! No! Thanks anway) The V.S. representatives I spoke to had no idea their company was testing. So my part in making a change, is… Read more »
Candi
Guest
EDUCATION is one way to change the behavior of the large companies still using animal testing. By spreading the word of what they are doing, like Suzi does, and NOT BUYING their products, we can take a big step toward pressuring them to change. This takes an all out effort by everyone who cares. Every person you come in contact with needs to be educated. It’s not easy to be on a soap box. But it’s important to change public opinion. Even a 30 second chat in the grocery isle with a stranger can plant a seed. You have to… Read more »
Lisabella
Guest

I blame the companies. If I were in charge, I’d go to the jails and ask for participants there – they are “human” and can be compensated… the $$$ can go to them or to the victims of the crimes they committed. Animals may be close in DNA, but there’s nothing like true “DNA”. I’d also like to add – in this day & age we know what can harm and “not” harm humans, so experimentations should be null and void.

Courtney Lynn Cueto
Guest

I love that you’re doing posts like this. I agree with all three of these as being responsible for this issue. Unfortunately, money talks, so I think the consumer has the most power to change the position of the other two.

Monica
Guest

I love love love that you do what you do, Suzi! You are a godsend! How can we get the Chinese government to find a compassion toward animals to then change their laws? Why do they have such a detachment from animals I wonder?

Christine
Guest

We are all to blame for animals testing. From the consumer who buys the products, to the companies that manufacture them to the governments that do not put sanctions in place to protect the animals. We need to push for change in policy with our dollar and our voices. Boycotting isn’t enough. Write to the companies, email them, bombard them. Change is up to every single one of us on every level.

Melissa
Guest
I assume you meant to say held responsible for animal testing. Companies are definitely to blame. A company, although more of an abstract idea, is made up of people. These people, at some level, decide how the company will run. Mary Kay, for instance, doesn’t test on animals in the United States or any other countries where it markets its products, except for China. Someone made the decision to sell there. The consumer definitely takes some of the blame, too. As you mentioned, people who might not be aware of which brands test on animals may or may not be… Read more »
Victoria M Stilgenbauer
Guest
Victoria M Stilgenbauer
Thank you again for these topics. I continue to educate myself and do my part and also post your articles on facebook to my friends and family. I am definitely an advocate for animals and against animal cruelty. I continue to sign petitions, donate when I can to PETA and the local Humane Society here in Tampa, Florida. I also write to my senators but I have lost faith in our politicians to do anything worthwhile other than take care of themselves and their special interests. If large cosmetic companies are using natural ingredients that shouldn’t have to test on… Read more »
Gita
Guest
Thank you Suzi for bringing awareness to this issue. I believe this is a top down approach ad if companies weren’t so greedy for money we’d all hAve better options. It still amazes me how so many countries have banned animal testing, but we in the US are oblivious to the harm it causes. At the same time we love our pets like children. It just doesnt make sense. I also believe education for many consumers that buy cosmetics is a huge factor. Now that I have the knowledge, I don’t buy anything that’s not cruelty free. Again, it came… Read more »
Roberta Limoli-Barufaldi
Guest
Roberta Limoli-Barufaldi

I just want to say that these blogs that you do are very helpful to me and to everyone else that wants animal testing to stop and stop now…

Amber
Guest
I love the idea of this series, so please keep it going. I think that while business are to blame and governments could potentially make the biggest difference if say they banned animal testing, it starts with consumers refusing to buy from companies who test on animals. When the businesses start losing enough money, they will have to change because it’s all a simple game of supply and demand. Without consumers they are nothing. Also, of course in America, it’s all about money. Big business. Capitalism. Because every dollar counts, they’ll never reveal the truth and put regulations on something… Read more »
LeAnne
Guest
I agree with you 100%. The most significant way to stop animal testing is legislation to ban it. I have already written to my Senators and Representatives. I am doing as much I can personally to change the shopping habits of my friends, family and acquaintances. But few of them feel as passionately about this issue as I do. Another problem is lack of information about the cruel treatment of the animals. The companies do a very good job of hiding this information. I think it would also help if people knew exactly which animals are used for testing. It… Read more »
Dixine
Guest
I was trying to find any info regarding the Humane Cosmetics Act H.R.2858…looks like that was the last failed attempt to get our government to ban cosmetics animal testing in the US. I see that some progress was made about China: http://www.peta.org/blog/china-approve-first-non-animal-cosmetics-test/ . I don’t see anything current being done by Congress, the Humane Society, or PETA. That doesn’t mean it isn’t out there…it just means I can’t find it. I am probably a dufus that needs help in the resource department. But there are probably lots of people like me who would be willing to take action if we… Read more »
Kayla Mae
Guest

One group that I feel could make a huge impact is beauty vloggers. They are not to blame (no more than any other consumer anyway), but so many of them have a HUGE audience. When they use products that are tested on animals, it inspires their viewers to use these products. There are very few of them who make a point to use only cruelty free products. They could help immensely if they were better informed on animal testing. Most people just don’t bother to look into it, not realizing what a serious issue it is.

Nicole
Guest

Hi Suzi! I’ve only recently discovered your blog, and I find it so helpful and informative. Your articles are always so well-researched, and I would definitely be interested in reading more from you on topics like this!

Debra
Guest
I also really appreciate this discussion. I would like to hold the federal government responsible, but I am seeing such discouraging information about protection of endangered species being possibly thrown out, I have absolutely no faith that the Feds will do anything to help animal testing. I do think companies should be held accountable. But they don’t care because they are still making big bucks!! Now that leaves us consumers! I think we must educate ourselves and others. Many people think these top department store brands are cruelty free because company reps tell them this. We have to take time… Read more »
Erin Ahern
Guest
Selfishness, lack of education, avoidance ,and doing what is easiest because that is the way it has always been, are main reasons for animal testing and cruelty practices to continue. The USA and Japan are countries who wash their eggs because we raise our chickens in such squalid conditions, we have to,but the average person does not realize we do not HAVE to if we treated our production animals better, We test on animals because we think we are more important than animals as a life form,but we do not NEED to test on anials because science is advanced enough… Read more »
Zola
Guest
Bravo! You said it perfectly! Our minds are very powerful and in the past, I am not sure if I was being selfish or lazy but I would totally block out all I knew about animal cruelty. I would eat animal products and not check products to make sure I was buying cruelty free. Thankfully something woke me up and I did my research and now cannot forget what I have read and seen. Now I cannot understand how people can “ignore” the facts but I did for whatever reason when I was younger…I am just so happy that I… Read more »
Maureen
Guest

I believe that celebrities who endorse and model for companies such as Cover Girl are also somewhat responsible. People like Ellen DeGeneres who is or was a model and spokesperson for Cover Girl carry a great deal of influence with consumers and possibly with companies. Ellen maintains that she is an animal advocate. I wrote her a letter concerning her affiliation with Cover Girl. She has never responded not even to acknowledge that she received it (or someone on her staff received it).

LEE
Guest
Getting mad at the companies is a great start because it motivates you. My specialty is beating my enemy with strategy like the did in the Vietnam war.If your enemy is coming from the north you have two choices. Get mad and burn out fighting head to head with less resources and soldiers or ___CUT OFF THEIR SUPPLY___.! NOW,…. the best way to cut off the supply over the next 10 years is by getting cruelty free products into homes and neighbors and relatives like TUPPER WEAR in the 1970’s. FLOOD the market having public school students 2 per class… Read more »
Dawn Nelson
Guest

I will definitely interested in reading more about this topic.

jaz
Guest

great start to your blog thanks. I have shared on FB. x

Bellah
Guest

Hi Suzi,well done. I personaly think,consumers can change everything. But as I see around myself, they just don’t want to know. I live by example and I talk to friends but I didn’t turn a single one to shop cruelty free. What is wrong with people? They have so much power to stop it and make a change. We can’t wait for Goverment to change,because there’s no time to wait. We need to grow in numbers and talk, talk, talk ….

Noel
Guest

Realistically, there’s no way China is going to do anything to stop animal testing lol

marinemom1020
Guest

I believe that the companies who continue the cruelty of animal testing are abhorrent; however if consumers would cease the purchase of such products, these companies would either be put out of business or change their ways. Some people prefer their status brands to a conscience! Vote with your wallet and keep your money out of the WRONG pockets.

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