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.
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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I really feel like at the end of the day, money talks. Govt. is absolutely the biggest source to stopping it quicker but as you said and I agree turtles pace. I don’t want to be someone who shoves my beliefs down others throats. But the less spent on these companies the better. I typically don’t say anything to my mom who buys whatever she’s not a bad person (no one who buys from the non Cf brands are bad people) just lack of knowledge or thoughts behind it. I like it? Done. I recommend CF brands typically and ik she will like and if she does she just keeps buying the same thing lol so it’s a small victory for me!
I have just read this article and I don’t really believe blaming the government for animal testing is the answer. Consumers/voters are who fingers should be pointed at so look in the mirror people and say, “Shame on me.”
Shame on us for sitting back and waiting for the government to do something. Shame on us for not insisting that the companies make a moral decision by NOT BUYING their products and instead choose items from a company that is cruelty-free. Shame on us for not telling companies that we WANT Cruelty-Free on their products right under our noses so we can smile as we make those purchases.
Our DOLLAR is our vote.
Take responsibility for our own actions.
We have technology at our fingertips in Facebook, Twitter, etc. Use it.
Hi Suzi! In fact, this is the first time I visited your blog. I got to know your blog through the recent NARS issue. I want to find out more about other products that test on animals and came across your blog. I’m happy to learn a lot more from your blog regarding animal cruelty and choosing products wisely. I’m still at the very beginning stage of trying to make a difference with being aware of beauty products and to support cruelty-free brand. The more i find out about brands that support animal testing, the more sad I became. I come to realize that about 80% of the brands I’m using are all tested on animals. Made me cry yesterday.
As human, it’s easier to put the blame on someone else. But first, I do blame it on the government. I do blame it on the companies that started it all as well. Of course, their love for money is the drive to success. Well, I’m only a small spec of dust in this world but I’m sure if I try spread the words of awareness, it might help a little here and there in the future. I’m thankful and grateful to have come across your blog. Keep up the good work in changing minds as well as to love animals.
Yes, I’m interested in this topic. I would like information on how to combat these issues. I’m not sure what steps need to be taken to change China’s policy. I know that I’ve signed petitions regarding other governments and change as come about (i.e. the ivory trade). Where can i find petitions about this? Are there other ways to help?
Also, how can we change the minds of customers. I know people who are “animal lovers”, yet refuse to give up their favorite makeup products (which are not cruelty free). Any ideas? Thanks for all your work!
Who to blame-I think you can add into the list the actors and celebrities that get paid thousands/millions to promote the brands on television advertising commercials,that tests their brands/products on animals.(L’Oreal springs to mind)Consumers are led so much now by what their role model buys/wears uses, that they are been drawn in, without having the facts about testing on animals for themselves. Celebrities/actors/reality tv stars could say no to the big brand giants , they could even blog about it,and say only when the brands go cruelty free, will i advertise their products,(still for the big fat paycheque) but these actors etc, are so self obsessed with fame and money,that overrides any moral judgement and could have a massive effect of animal cruelty awareness for the young consumers, who are the future, and could make huge changes. I will also not have the cop out,that these actors/celebs do not know what and what isnt tested on animals, that is what they have assistants/pr/managers for!, maybe they all should be sent some links on companies that test, just in case, they choose to start to have a moral compass and backbone!
Yes, I agree with you 100%!
It seems like the consumers have the biggest power in this. They control the businesses. I have become more aware as a consumer in buying cruelty free brands which has helped me. So far Kat Von D has been my favorite.
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.
Realistically, there’s no way China is going to do anything to stop animal testing lol
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 ….
great start to your blog thanks. I have shared on FB. x
I will definitely interested in reading more about this topic.
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 and High School and College sell to the families of each class .Make the Animal Cruelty Officers and pay 50 % of each product ,25 % goes for a class outing or tee shirts Cruelty Free ,
Pay the person handling the ordering and products 25 % of the school.
Business is the weapon and Flooding the market as a store has overhead.
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).
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 to culture human cells to test instead.
I bet if you showed more people videos of how chickens,cows,pigs , etc are really raised and how thier Olay of Olay is REALlY developed, and made people see how eady alternatives are, more consumers would drive the market to make better ,choices and ethical decisions when it comes to sales.
And i blame people for avoiding the issue or just being lazy. I cannot even go buy an impulse mascara at walgreens anymore because I cannot rationalize prioritizing my immediate need over supporting a company that tests on animals. For example, i loved a mascara marketed towards Star wars fans ,and considered buying it until I saw the company that made it tests on animals. It is hard to feel beautiful when you are wearing something that was apolied to bunny eyeballs or scraped off raw beagle skin. . People need to stop thinking about their immediate needs and start considering the consequence of where the money goes to.
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 saw the light!
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 to research the truth and then buy accordingly. Put your money to work buying from cruelty free companies. Suzi’s list is a great resource and Petite Vour is to. If you can sign up for the monthly boxes, it’s a great way to try and sample cruelty free products. (They have great products.) If enough of us do this, the L’Oreals and Covergirls of the world will loose money and THAT is the one thing that will make them change. Protesting when the opportunity exists is good because that brings the issue to the media. It would be great if we could have a “Ban Animal Testing Day” where people marched in cities and towns across the US. That type of media attention is something these cosmetic companies don’t want.
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!
Thank you so much, Nicole!
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.
Totally agree! If anyone is looking for youtube “beauty gurus” who are/went cruelty-free, there’s Carli Bybel, Stephanie Lang, Jessica Haze, and Kristen Leanne just to name a few.
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 had some help and guidance. I would like to know if there is anything that we, the grassroots citizens can do – right now – currently – to take action. I know that every single opinion makes a difference.
The problem is that many CF political action organizations have non-current, outdated information left over on their websites…so it’s about impossible to know what’s going on right now and how we can really be effective – right now.
Suzy…as if you need another thing to do…I would like to see a CFK page for a “Call To Action”, with DATED updates and dated website links to time-sensitive information, that includes CURRENT political actions we can take, so that we will know we’re not attempting to push China on a dead issue, or asking our Representatives to vote on a bill that died in committee in 2015.
I have to add that HSI is constantly working with governments (including China) to push for animal testing bans or at the very least progress, and they’re responsible for a lot of the progress we’ve seen.
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 is my belief that most people think of mice when animal testing is mentioned. If more people were aware that animal testing is conducted on rabbits, dogs, cats, monkeys, etc., many of which are just like our pets at home, I believe more people would shop cruelty-free. One problem with encouraging people to shop cruelty-free is the product cost. I am blessed to able to purchase only cruelty-free products despite their often higher cost. But for the majority of consumers, I believe product cost will override their consideration of the company’s animal testing policy. This will change with time, as more companies vow to not test on animals. But the reality is that it is difficult for small companies to compete with the giants. I wish that I individually could do more to ban animal testing. I am doing everything I can to enlighten people of this inhumane, barbaric, cruel practice. And, I make a monthly donation to Beagle Freedom Project. I am very glad you started this blog and I hope you are able to continue it. I will most definitely share. 🙂
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 like this. This is another reason why it starts with consumers.
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…
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 from educating myself and doing research. Just like the Food Babe started a revolution on the the food industry, I the think you can do the same when it comes to cruelty free cosmetics.
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 animals in my opinion. This is cruel and I don’t understand why this is still happening.
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 blameless (that’s a matter of opinion). However, ignorance is not bliss. I venture to say most people don’t care about whether a company tests on animals, or people turn a blind eye to it. People, regardless of their ethical stance on animal testing, are partly at fault for the continuation of this testing because they are funding it! Whether they know or not, it is ultimately the consumers who keep the companies running.
Governments could probably have the most impact. If it was illegal to test on animals and if punishments for doing so were harsh, companies would need to reconsider the methods of testing their products. Then this whole point would be moot. I don’t see that happening in the United States any time soon with Trump in office. Warfare on animals and the environment is clearly his agenda.
I wish I could say that I purchase only from companies that do not test on animals, but sometimes I can not afford to buy the products. I have cut out a lot of products that do test on animals, as well as products that contain harsh or toxic chemicals. I think that each person has the power to make an impact. I do the best I can to only purchase cruelty free, nontoxic products. I am also a vegetarian, but not completely vegan, although I would like to be. It has been hard for me to cut out cheese and fish. Each person has their own journey, and being aware is definitely a start. Deciding to reduce our consumption of animal products and our “footprint” on the environment in ways we can each day, definitely has an impact, probably more of one than writing to government officials and telling them our wishes.
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.
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?
Thank you Monica! 🙂 I think you’re asking an important question and maybe someone who’s familiar with Chinese culture could bring an answer.
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.
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.
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 know which brands are the worst offenders and speak up about them.
True! Do you have any tips to spread the word in a diplomatic manner? What approach do you find to be the most successful?
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 posting products that do not test and making it clear, then hoping someone will think twice before giving their money to these companies. If you can look for the box tops logos its made just as easy to look for the cruelty free logos.
It would be amazing if they educated everyone about issues like animal testing in schools, at least in my opinion.
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 companies, they should not be selling products that need animal testing. Animals do not wear make-up, they do not use cleaning products, and they do not wear another animals body parts for selfish purposes. These companies can sell wonderful products, that are cruelty free, but they do not care. If they cared, the evidence would show clearly. Quite a few are starting to sell cruelty free products, but it is not for the love of animals. Instead, it is only for profit.
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 couldn’t happen x
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 right direction?
Hi Marjory, thank you for your support! Signing petitions is important, and so is emailing your local government reps to let them know that we don’t support animal testing and are asking for a ban. I’ll provide a template in an upcoming post and do my best to share it.
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 love to hear suggestions on positive ways to broach the subject.
Thanks Helen! Approaching these topics with those who might not be on board isn’t easy by any means because they might feel attacked. What I think works best is to lead by example and have people come to you out of curiosity, and not the other way around. It’s a topic for another post!
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!
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 abuse, cosmetic testing, etc…but it’s an unfortunate fact of life at this time, people are aware of it and they choose to ignore it. I totally agree that the Government, as a higher power, has to make the necessary changes to ensure that this stops; and that it starts on the consumer level demanding the change first.
Thanks again, and i am looking forward to more articles.
Hi Christina, thank you for sharing your opinion! It’s true that some consumers are aware of animal testing yet turn a blind eye. I’m glad you enjoyed the article!
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 public so they will put pressure on their government rep’s?
Exactly, this would be the way to do it. I don’t know how it can be done on a bigger scale, but I’m certainly going to push this approach more on the blog.
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 this day and age they can do so on line and from my research, that eliminates the government required testing. Please honestly – correct me if I’m wrong on that. So if a company chooses their bottom line and deliberately misleads the public with sales/marketing speak (coming from that background) I think the company is to blame. Particularly when they USED to not test! Estée Lauder/Clinique didn’t test for years and I confidently used their products! I was even more angry at them when I found out that had changed than at the companies that never stopped – as stupid as that is – because it felt like a betrayal of trust. But I digress. In addition to the companies that make that choice I think the public really needs to step up. With a little more effort and research (get the PETA app for goodness sake! It isn’t hard!) they would know not to go to Walgreens for example, because they have virtually eliminated all cruelty free beauty lines! So – I vote with my $$$ and don’t shop there for anything. So consumers ARE at fault by not making the effort.
So to close my long rant, I agree with you wholeheartedly but I’m not willing to excuse the companies and consumers from the blame.
Thank you Karen for explaining your point of view! So sorry you were duped by Estée Lauder in that way. It’s true though, brands like Clinique could be solely selling to China online and bypass any animal testing laws. They only choose to be there locally to maximize sales.
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 their products and why. She told me in her training they were assured that products sold in the U.S. were not tested on animals, but that isn’t sufficient for me, since even a penny spent on their products here means one cent could have been used to test on animals for another market. I sent an email to Mary Kay, Avon and Estee Lauder/Clinique expressing my disappointment in their revised policy and only one responded (Avon) with a form email, but at least my issue was addressed. Due to that even if they all stop testing tomorrow, the only one I would consider going back to is Avon. The rest showed lack of concern for the customer’s concerns. That and the fact that none of them gave notice that they would now be testing on animals, at least in some markets, showed me that they don’t care about the customer and the customer’s ethics, but only the bottom line. My small withdrawal from their clientele will be unnoticed, but I will feel better. As someone said earlier, we have to pick our battles and cosmetics and household cleaners are mine, since I think asking any living creature to suffer for my vanity is obscene and the height of immorality. There are plenty of cosmetic companies out there I can buy from and I have learned that I am capable of making a lot of the items I require for my home and skin care, for myself, saving money, the environment and my conscience. I like the feeling of independence I get and find that the products I make for myself work, as well as the overpriced products I used to buy from the grocery store, work just fine. Thank. you for your post.
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.
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.
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 really make sense.
Governments do have the biggest power but something has to force them to change or do something, and they don’t really like that. Realistically, customers have to be the ones to force change and tell retailers and governments that they’re not happy with it.
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.
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 the atrocities that occurred under their command. Since criminals should be prosecuted, having laws in place to combat animal testing and other forms of cruelty can only help.
Companies who finance animal testing in any way are definitely guilty of animal testing in my book as well. The problem is they won’t stop unless it makes financial sense for them.
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 problem lies here is that we are not educated in this area. Publicly (from where I live in London) I have never really encountered anything/anyone or anywhere that has promoted cruelty free or even tried to inform you of cruelty free product.
I have been working with dogs for the past year, since the business sell such natural and organic products, it forced me to research the products I sell. It also forced me to look at the products I give to my cats.
Now I give them natural, organic food that contains between 80-100% meat, I have looked at the companies to ensure they are cruelty free.
For the past 4 months I have drastically changed the products I use (cosmetics, hair shampoo etc.) with the help of cruelty free kitty I came across a google search.
Basically I have had to take it upon myself to look into these things.
Working in this environment has also forced to look into it, since I work with animals and something clicked about animal cruelty and how we are contributing to it without even realising everyday. (I even have researched and contacted companies about ink for my artwork I use!!)
In terms of the government, I couldn’t agree more, they are slow and they don;t like to part with the money that they either save form testing on animals or receive.
Yes I think its great that the EU have banned testing on animals, (wouldn’t surprise me if it was still happening somewhere) but we still import and sell animal tested products which is just as bad.
Unfortunately I think this is an issue that will never be solved or stopped but we can try and reduce it!
Thank you for the great article! Raises many questions and issues.
Thanks Olivia! Personally I’m actually very optimistic that animal testing will be banned not too long from now. Maybe not in the very near future, but in 10-15 years. A Chinese ban would have a huge impact and I’m very hopeful.
Oh gosh yes! I completely agree with that!!
Definitely China would have a HUGE impact on that area! It will be an exciting thing to witness.
I think the fact that Taiwan who have recently banned the consumption of dog and cat meat, and Hong Kong where it is very much illegal, has paved way for china to follow suit in both animal testing and consumption.
Just allows for more positive reinforcement about this topic and for others to realise its slowly but surely becoming unacceptable.
This is a really well written article! Please keep these coming (:
Thank you Kirsten, glad you liked it!
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.
Exactly, Dawn. It’s sad that many of these big companies succeed at making millions of people believe they don’t test on animals when it’s far from the truth.
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.
Also, the really important thing to do is education. I, as diplomatically as possible (though hard sometimes to not be in a rage about the topic,) attempt to educate anyone who will take a moment, about the sad and unnecessary treatment of animals for testing human- used products.
Thank you Alexis! Education truly is important, and also undoing the misinformation spread by those giants.
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.
It’s awesome that you went cruelty-free and quit smoking as well! To answer your question, I don’t think there’s anything a single individual can do but the power’s in the numbers and we all have to keep buying cruelty-free, signing and starting petitions, and emailing brands and local reps. I think that last part is very important and I’ll have to share some templates we can all use.
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?
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?
But there are many people who give up most of those things, or choose animal-free and cruelty-free versions. That’s what the vegan movement is all about. We can’t all be responsible for what happened in the past, but we can choose not to be a part of what we don’t agree with today.
Hey suzi, I would love to see a list of vegan products. I live in India and animal testing has been banned here so I can still find cruelty free products but never vegan products. I was just going through the body shop shower gels and a realized almost all of them have beeswax. This is just an example, however, many times companies aren’t 100% clear on ingredients and honey, beeswax, lanolin are frequently found in the products of companies which state “No animal ingredients” on their products.
As a vegan and a cruelty free consumer, I have HUGE problems finding vegan products. And since I live in India, most of the CF brands like tarte, too faced, elf etc are VERY expensive here. And India being a country where milk and dairy products are HIGHLY consumed, it’s very difficult to find something that is completely cruelty free that is neither tested on animals nor containing any animal ingredient whatsoever. I spend so much time researching and your website has proved to be really helpful but finding vegan products is getting so difficult.
Do you think you can make a list of affordable vegan products? Thank you for taking the time to read this.
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!
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
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.
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!
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 me that a cruelty-free stance needs to become more deeply embedded into an international understanding of ethical and moral living.
Very good point, Kirsten! Thank you for sharing.
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.
I don’t have the original source, but it’s a number I found on the Huffington post. Of course, it’s also an estimate.
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 don’t think many realise that cruelty free products can be the same if not cheaper than traditional products. Using a platform like change.org to lobby governments and companies could significantly influence the industry and hopefully move us toward a more effective way of testing.
Thank you Joanne, so glad to hear you’re switching to cruelty-free products! You’re right to bring up prices. Drugstores are generally 95% non-cruelty-free and all the affordable personal care we find there is tested on animals. It’s a shame that basic necessities like shower gel and deodorant are much more expensive for the cruelty-free version.
When it comes to cost I think that if you shop around you may end up with just about the same price. Walmart.ca sells a few cruelty free like Jason, Tom’s of Maine. It doesn’t hurt to comment to the company about selling more if they want to keep your business.
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 work you do, I rely on your blog to make good decisions. xxx
Thanks for your kind words and support, Kaylyn!
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 said, we live in the real world and the majority of the public don’t think this way and will never change. A more practical, if less logical, solution may well be changes in legislation. We have the ability to influence this by campaigning or writing to our local government representative. As a suggestion, perhaps this website could produce a template for this? Or for writing to cosmetic companies to explain why we are boycotting their products? This would definitely be useful.
Hi Jennifer! Great idea. I was just responding to another comment and told them I’m going to provide a template both for brands and for government reps. I’ll publish this in a new post.
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.
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 a second of their time to animal’s rights.
There are hundreds of CF companies that I am thrilled with, but most notably Kat Von D and Tarte. These companies know they could lose profits from going vegan/CF but they do not care. That’s super punk to me.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts! You’re right, the US is unfortunately so not on board with an animal testing ban. This is unfortunate because it would have a big impact. The way I see it, if both the US and China ban animal testing for cosmetics, we’re 90% there.