The products you choose to spend your money on can make a big difference for animals around the world.
By Gabby Cushman
As we wrap up last month’s theme on animal protection, a great way to continue your advocacy in your daily life is switching over to using cruelty-free products in the home. The cruelty-free movement aims to stop animal testing and improve the lives of lab animals around the world. If this is new to you, here is a guide to implementing cruelty-free products into your home.
What Does Cruelty-Free Mean and Why is Animal Testing Bad?
Products made without animal testing involved are “cruelty-free.” Often, cruelty-free products are also vegan or made with natural products that are better for you. Buying cruelty-free is a form of boycotting businesses that use animal testing since the best way to get big companies to listen is to speak with your money. But what’s so bad about animal testing in the first place? Testers usually keep the animals they test on in small cages and inhumane conditions. They are tortured and often left maimed and ultimately killed due to the tests done on them. And it’s not like animal testing is the only option for these companies- there are many alternatives (such as using cultured cell tissues or computer models) that provide more conclusive results on what ingredients are safe for human use. The only reason companies choose animal testing is because it’s the most affordable option for them.
When you imagine lab animals used for testing, you probably think of rats and rabbits. However, many companies also use cats and dogs in the experiments. We need to protect all animals from the cruelty they’re put through during product testing, but it can feel even worse to think of our household pets suffering that way.
So What Kind of Products Have Cruelty-Free Options?
The biggest industry you’ll see talked about when discussing cruelty-free shopping is the beauty industry. Makeup, skincare, and haircare products have many cruelty-free options. However, these are by no means the only kinds of products you can swap out for cruelty-free alternatives. Bath products, hygiene essentials like deodorant and toothpaste, and household cleaning products are all unfortunately tested on animals as well. Luckily, it’s easy to spot cruelty-free options while you’re out shopping. Look for the Leaping Bunny logo or PETA’s Choose Cruelty-Free rabbit on the back of the product, usually under the ingredients section. These are the only official logos that indicate if a product is cruelty-free, so be wary of other bunny logos you see. If you’re curious about a product’s legitimacy, check out Leaping Bunny’s list of certified cruelty-free brands here: https://www.leapingbunny.org/shopping-guide.
Start Incorporating Cruelty-Free Products Into Your Household Gradually
There is no need to throw out all of your current products now and go on a cruelty-free shopping spree; that would be worse for the environment because it would be wasteful. Instead, use up the rest of your products and replace them with a cruelty-free alternative. Don’t feel guilty about continuing to use the products tested on animals. The point of going cruelty-free is to stop giving additional money to companies that test on animals, not to waste the products we already have.
Buying a lot of cruelty-free products at once can also be expensive, and it’s understandable to feel alarmed when looking at the price of some items. Keep in mind that slowly buying cruelty-free options over time will minimize the immediate cost. However, many budget-friendly cruelty-free brands like E.L.F., Milani, and Pacifica are also available.
Get Your Little Ones Involved and Educated
At the end of the day, our mission is to get our children involved in the advocacy alongside us. Don’t be afraid to teach your kids about animal testing and explain to them why you’re choosing to go cruelty-free. When they’re out shopping with you, you can show them the bunny symbols that indicate that a product is cruelty-free, so they learn how to identify ethically made items. You can also give your little ones the option to pick out their own cruelty-free products. If they need a new haircare product, take this as an opportunity to pick out a cruelty-free alternative together and let them get involved in advocacy, too. That way, everyone in the family is doing their part to make a difference in animals’ lives.
Switching over to a cruelty-free lifestyle can be overwhelming, so remember to make it a gradual change over time. All of your products will be cruelty-free before you know it, and some may even be vegan/all-natural. Regardless of how you choose to do it, going cruelty-free is a great way to practice animal advocacy in the home.
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