Monday, March 20, 2006

My Mascara is Evil

All right, animal lovers and/or pet owners. Here is a little challenge for you.

Go into your bathroom and empty out your medicine cabinet and other various storage spots, under the sink for example. Separate all your lotions, shampoos, cosmetics etc. Into two groups, stuff that is tested on animals and stuff that is not.


Do you feel as shitty as I did?

I sat on my bathroom floor, looking at the whopping three items that I knew were completely cruelty free and I felt like an evil, selfish, petty little creature. Oh, and let's not forget hypocritical. Yeah...really hypocritical. I am the kind of person that rails against back yard breeders,horse racing and premarin farms, yet I have a bathroom cabinet chock full of products developed through the torture of bunny rabbits and puppies. I actually felt queasy. For those of you that have pets, can you, even for a moment, imagine you're beloved pet being tested on by Maybelline or Gillette? The problem, of course, is that you probably can. We don't ever want to think about such disturbing things, so we don't. We don't think about it at all when we're walking the isles of Rite-Aid or Target. I know what I'm usually thinking about. I'm looking at prices and trying to figure out if I can afford John Freida's latest rip-off in the hopes that I will finally have shiny mannequin hair and doesn't puff up in a frizzy cloud ten minutes after I leave the house. I know I'm not thinking of the beagle puppy they used to see just how much red dye it takes to go blind.

What got me thinking about all this was a news story late last week about The Body Shop. I used to shop there for my make-up because I knew they were serious about not using animal tests. It was an easy place to go (there's one in damn near every mall in America) and I could pick up anything the store with a guilt-free conscience. Alas, The Body Shop has just been purchased by L'Oreal, a company that uses quite a lot of animal testing and shows no inclination to stop. While, the Body Shop will most likely continue using cruelty free ingredients in their products, their profits will now become L'Oreal's profits.

Anita Roddick, the founder of the company had this to say in a recent article printed by The Mercury News:

``I don't see it as selling out,'' she said. ``L'Oreal has displayed visionary leadership in wanting to be an authentic advocate and supporter of our values.''

But criticism of the deal came Friday over the linkup between Body Shop, known for products that aren't tested on animals, and L'Oreal, which has yet to ban animal testing.
``It's ironic that a company well-known for its anti-animal testing stance should sell out to one that tests on animals and which has yet to show its commitment to any ethical issues at all,'' said Ruth Rosselson of Ethical Consumer magazine.

And here's the interesting thing...we have the technology to eliminate animal testing. It's even more cost effective. There are many other tests that use computer simulation or human tissue in test tubes that are actually cheaper and more accurate. Once a product or ingredient has passed these sorts of tests, they can do patch testing on voluntary human subjects. This usually involves putting some of the product on a person's skin (usually the upper-back area) covering it with a patch for two days and measuring the results. Companies can also make products with chemicals that we already know are safe. There is so much information available from past experiments, that it is rarely necessary to test the basic ingredients anymore. Cosmetics companies could actually save money on product development this way.

I have decided that I cannot continue to pour my scant amount of disposable income into companies that actively and wantonly torture animals. I'm not able to restrict my diet so I'm going to restrict my deodorant (and shampoo and mascara et al.) There is simply no reason to test beauty products on living creatures. I can see where the medical community can justify this sort of testing (though I'd rather they found alternative means as well) but I can no longer be a part of the beauty industry's policies. I'll sleep better at night.

I have listed a couple of links below if you would like more info. Be careful when browsing. If they say "Warning - Disturbing Images", they mean it. I couldn't look at some of the pages because I know I'll just end up crying into my keyboard. I'm a great big softie when it comes to this kind of stuff. No stomach for it what-so-ever.

I'm going to work hard on changing this part of my life. There is no better way to get a message across in this society than with money. I'm going to spend mine with a bit more wisdom.

At least I now have a perfect excuse to shop at Lush a lot more often.

All about alternatives to animal testing:

Animal friendly products list:

More product info:


...And So Is My Toothpaste
I was browsing through my Yahoo News page when this little tid-bit caught my eye. Looks like Colgate/Palmolive just purchased Tom's of Maine. Tom's was founded in 1970 by a couple of idealistic, hippy-dippy folks (bless them!) who wanted to provide natural, environmentally responsible toothpaste. Hey, everyone has a dream.
They made their toothpaste and lots of other nifty natural hygiene products and people liked it. Other nice hippy-dippy folks bought their toothpaste and they made lots of money. They managed to do all this without testing on animals. No more. They are going to become part of Colgate.

Maybe my high school economics teacher was right. Big business truly is evil incarnate.


Marz said...

I had that same economics teacher, summer school wasn't it? I will always remember that class for exactly her opinion of big business. Wasn’t she also the one who didn't use her TV? She just put it away in a cabinet one night and never plugged it back in.
Uncle John’s BRI has a great article about all the companies you think are pure and wholesome but have since been purchased by huge conglomerates. Remind me and I will get it for you.

meesh said...

Ooo, yes I must get that list from you. I think I'm just going to shop at Lush and Trader Joe's from now on. (sigh)

Yeah, that was our hippy econ teacher in summer school. "If you remember nothing else from my class remember, big business is evil incarnate." And that's about all I remember.