A Few Small Changes…

A few months ago myself and Ben had a discussion about animal testing. Being animal lovers, we obviously disagreed with such cruelty and we decided to research the every day products we were using. Ben began by finding a list of companies that test or commission testing on animals which – to our disgust – we purchased from about 80% of them. We felt we could no longer give these companies our money and so we pledged to boycott them. I went to the BUAV website and came across a video about animal testing. It was obviously meant to shock – which it did. I felt I could no longer use these products, let alone buy them. One afternoon, I decided to empty the drawers in my bathroom of every single product I didn’t use / need. (ALL of which were from companies that test on animals). This resulted in a full carrier bag of cosmetics (probably worth quite a lot of money!) being given to relatives. I explained why I was doing this, but unfortunately some people didn’t seem to take me seriously – but there we are. Ben did the same, and we also emptied our kitchen cupboard of any unnecessary or unused cleaning products. These also went to relatives and colleagues. I know it seems a bit odd to give people products you don’t agree with using, but if thrown away they would have then been unnecessarily produced, which is just a waste. So after having a big clear-out, my kitchen and my conscience was feeling a little clearer.
We wanted to start afresh, so I downloaded and printed off BUAV’s Little Book of Cruelty Free. It contained a list of BUAV approved companies that sold cosmetics and household products. (It now lives on a cupboard in my kitchen, so I can always find a company if I need to).We started with the Co-op. After working for them for four and a half years, I’d come to the conclusion they were a crap company, but turns out it was just the people who ran it…! They have a fixed cut-off date of 1985, which means any ingredient or product they use or produce has not been tested on animals since that date. All their own brand household / cosmetic products carry the BUAV logo (the leaping bunny logo). We visited our local Co-op and were so pleased with the products they stocked. A good range of household and cosmetic products were on offer, and we started to feel that we weren’t going to fail in our mission. Another company we had researched into was Method. Although the products we have bought do not carry the leaping bunny logo, they are listed as an approved company. We had previously purchased their French Lavender surface spray and liked it very much. Other sprays are harsh on my hands when cleaning, but this has a pleasant smell and isn’t full of nasties. I later looked on their website and discovered they have an array of products. We then bought their laundry detergent which is 8X concentrated – using less packaging and water (makes sense!), and we have replaced most of our household products for method ones. My main issue in the kitchen was losing Cillit Bang (made by Reckitt Benckiser) – being in a hard water area, my sinks and taps get very lime-scaled. Not the end of the world, I know. So I’ll live without it until I can find an alternative.
So onto the cosmetics side of things. I had previously been a devoted fan of Boots no7 range, and was sorely disappointed when Ben told me they were not an approved company. I left these products until last to replace, as I am very particular about my make-up! I looked to Lush for shower gels and shampoo, buying their gorgeous Flying Fox shower gel and a solid shampoo bar. I was hesitant about the effectiveness of a shampoo bar, but to my surprise it was excellent. Whist on Lush’s website I came across their ‘revolutionary’ Dirty Toothy Tabs – a small tablet (smaller than a paracetamol) which you chew. You then wet your toothbrush and scrub your teeth. They foam up really well considering their size, but on the downside, don’t taste very minty. Though I have persevered with them, and have gotten used to their flavour (or lack of). As Lush say, toothpaste is just a habit. Ben has been using a bar of their soap which I’d had hanging around for a while, and he said he’s found it OK, although he prefers a shower gel. There’s no doubt about it though, Lush’s products are wonderful and they do the job.
Wanting to find Ben a shower gel, I went into Marks & Spencer. There, I was flabbergasted at the amount of toiletries and cosmetics they sell – I had never noticed before! They all carry the leaping bunny logo, so I was in my element. I decided to take the plunge and replace all of my make-up. And buy a shower gel…!
So right now, we are about 95% there. We have a few more things we need to find alternatives to; one important one being our cats’ food. This is a whole different kettle of fish, I can tell you. I’m struggling very much to find a cheap(ish) ethical / cruelty free pet food. We currently feed them on Go-Cat which is owned by Purina. A very unethical company from what I’ve read. Unless your cat or dog would like to go veggie or vegan, there’s not a lot of options out there for cruelty free because of the meat trade. But we will persevere!
I’ve written this to show that just by putting a little bit of thought into what you buy, you can make a difference. I had never ever thought that Unilever, the company that owns Hellman’s mayonnaise and Comfort fabric conditioner, would commission testing on animals. They are a huge parent company and own many many household names. By buying their products, you’re saying that it’s OK for them to carry on. Every time L’oreal bring out a new product with a new “anti-ageing” chemical in it, think to yourself – how did they test that chemical? On an animal, that’s how. And the sad thing is, you can be easily fooled into thinking some companies are safe. Although The Body Shop is approved by BUAV, it’s parent company, L’Oreal, isn’t. So I won’t give them any of my money, because I’m sure somewhere along the line, it will end up in L’Oreal’s pocket.
So, just take a moment when you next go shopping and think about what you pick up. It could be a food product or it could be a cosmetic product. But it may have been directly or indirectly tested on an animal. Changing the products you use isn’t that hard or expensive if you do a bit of research, and you can go to bed with a slightly clearer conscience!
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  1. August 12th, 2015

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