Though there have been some major wins for cruelty-free cosmetics in Australia recently, animal cruelty is still a pressing issue.
There are so many different types of animal cruelty to be aware of, some more obvious than others, like: hunting for sport; vulgar factory farming; abuse and neglect of pets and use of puppy mills; scientific testing on animals for cosmetic and household products; internet ‘crush’ videos, and sadly much more. Since there are so many ways an animal can be vulnerable to violence, how can we be sure we are not playing a part in the cycle of cruelty?
The Problem With Cruelty-Free
People have been talking a lot about ‘cruelty-free’ lately. Often, in an attempt to include not only direct animal suffering but other factors, like environmental damage that has a knock-on effect on animals, too. For example, orangutans in Indonesia suffer when their habitats are destroyed for palm oil. So cruelty-free must be a good thing, right?
The Danger Of Mislabelling
Well, yes it’s important to try to unmask all kinds of cruelty and be aware of our impact, but remember that cruelty-free is not a scientific stamp-of-approval. A shampoo may call itself animal-friendly because the manufacturing process was cruelty-free, but that does not mean the company checked where their ingredients came from. If a loose definition of cruelty-free is supported by us, then companies can use it too.
Check The Logo
There is no guarantee of exactly what kind of cruelty-free you are getting from brands that try to give an impression of being ethical. That is where certifications like The Leaping Bunny and Choose Cruelty-Free (CCF) come in. The Leaping Bunny logo assures you that “no new animal testing [was] used in any phase of product development by the company, its laboratories, or ingredient suppliers”, so you know exactly what you are protecting against by choosing it. PETA also has a cruelty-free certification, which requires the same and a “pledge not to do so in the future”.
Looking out for these labels can help to highlight cruelty that you didn’t even know existed. Like, did you know lots of nail polish contains ingredients like crushed beetles and fish scales? Opting for PETA certified cruelty-free products like Julisa nail-polish means avoiding these common if little-known ingredients.
It’s dangerous to make a swooping statement about something being cruelty-free when there are so many things to consider. Being specific means that companies don’t get to sweep these issues under the carpet either. Also, it means marketplaces like Peachy get to be choosy about exactly what goes into their products. So the fight for a truly cruelty-free future can continue.