You may not know it but there’s constantly new and emerging ways we can help advocate and demand change for our furry family members. Making the choice to go cruelty free in your household is one of the best ways to help stop the unnecessary and inhumane procedures that happens during animal testing.
What is cruelty free?
Cruelty free is a term used to differentiate items that have not been tested on animals in the making of the product from those that have.
Note: This should not be used in conjunction with vegan (if you are vegan, you’ll need to check for both cruelty-free AND vegan on your labels).
Why is cruelty free important?
- It’s estimated that 115 million animals are used in animal testing. (1)
- Animal testing is completely unnecessary – and oftentimes unreliable.
- Alternatives to animal testing include: cell cultures and human tissues, computer models, and volunteer human testing.
- Animals susceptibility is much different than humans: 95% of trials fail in the human stage despite excellent results in the animal testing phase. (2)
What happens during animal testing?
Since my main focus is rabbits, I’m going to only focus on what happens when rabbits are tested on for products.
- Rabbits are typically placed in boxes and restrained so they can no longer move.
- If they are doing an eye test, typically the rabbits eyelid is held open clips. The rabbit will then experience the drops for as long as the testing is done (weeks, months, etc) and its eyes will be observed for things like hemorrhaging, ulceration, and blindness, oozing, plus many others.
- Products are rubbed across the rabbits shaved skin to see if the skin becomes irritated, breaks open & bleeds, or causes poisoning.
- Due to their high rate of production, rabbits are commonly used in tests that determine the potential effects on a pregnant human to the fetus.
Check out this article which dives into mind of one man that used to test on animals:
Can products listed as cruelty-free be trusted?
The unfortunate answer is NO. Companies, in an effort to brand themselves as cruelty free, have taken to using this term on products that may not actually be cruelty free.
How do they get away with this?
Cruelty free is not a label that is mandated or determined by any specific organization or agency. Instead, it’s a term that is used freely and has no standards that must be met before being placed on the product.
What kinds of questions must you ask before determining a product is cruelty free?
- Where are the raw ingredients sourced from? Do these sources test on animals?
- Does the company outsource their testing to another company?
- Is the brand a company that has a parent company that tests on animals?
Many brands will attempt to use these three issues to get around “cruelty free” and will incorrectly label their products as such.
So how can you be sure a product is cruelty free?
There a few websites I rely on when it comes to telling me which products are cruelty free and which ones I can trust.
Ethical Elephant: this page is perfect for explaining the ins & outs of determining if a brand or company means what they say when it comes to being cruelty free. She also has some amazing guides for each category you could ever need!
Leaping Bunny: this is one of my #1 trusted websites when it comes to not having to do the work to figure out if a company is cruelty free in all aspects of the word.
You definitely don’t have to be perfect – but becoming cruelty free and refusing to support the blatant abuse of our domesticated buns will go a long way in helping to protect these furry little babies we call our family members.
1. “Cruelty Free International.” Facts And Figures on Animal Testing. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Nov. 2016.
2.”Cruelty Free International.” Arguments Against Animal Testing. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Nov. 2016.
Photography from Jennifer M.