Today people are more aware of the products they consume and the ingredients these products use. And rightfully so. As consumers, we have a right to know how a product we use in daily life is made and whether or not it is healthy. It is also our duty to check if these products are sustainable, toxin-free, and cruelty-free.
Most products and daily-use items like soap are tested on animals first before being made available in stores. It may sound straightforward and sometimes even good that we are buying products that are tested to be safe. But what about the animals?
Through this blog, we will explore what animal testing is, what it means for a product to be cruelty-free, and if there is any need for testing on animals; which surprise, there is not.
First, Vegan vs Cruelty-Free:
If something is labelled as vegan and it actually is, it means that it doesn’t contain any animal ingredients. The ingredients used in the product are free from animal fur, skin, bones, or meat and contain no egg or milk products. For eg; skin cleansers usually contain ‘stearic acid’ which is derived from the fatty acids of animals and plants. Soaps contain ‘sodium tallowate’ which is a combination of lye and animal fat.
Cruelty-free products do not get tested on animals, ever. They have not been fed to, applied on, or inhaled by any animal to check their safety on humans. These products are tested in an alternative way; like on dissected human tissue or tissue cultures, or they contain naturally safe ingredients that don’t need testing at all.
What is animal testing?
An animal test is a scientific experiment or test of a product done on animals to check their safety for humans. These experiments cause the test subject animals pain, distress, and lasting harm. In other words, these experiments are cruel.
The animals in product-testing laboratories are harmed and usually killed at the end of the experiment, as most animals do at the end of Botox and other chemical tests. These laboratories are sterile, indoor environments where the animals are caged and completely denied any control over their own lives. That is no life at all.
For example: In soap production, beekeepers take away the bees’ honey. The bees then have to work harder to replace that honey. This over-works the bees and leads them vulnerable to diseases and shortens their lives.
The test subjects are vertebrates (mammals, fish, amphibians, and birds) and some invertebrates like octopuses. The animals used in these experiments are usually industrially bred for this purpose in laboratories or breeding facilities. You may be surprised, but it really is a multi-million dollar company with very few laws and regulations against the experiments.
Any product up for testing is applied directly on an animal’s skin for days in a row. Then they are killed and dissected to study if any of their organs were damaged. Laboratories also feed chemical ingredients to these animals and spray them directly onto their eyes and respiratory tracts. This puts the animals in extreme discomfort and pain. Truly gruesome.
Is animal testing required?
Absolutely not. There are many alternatives to testing products on animals. Researchers have come up with these incredible ways to eliminate any need for animal testing:
- Cell Cultures: these are human or animal cell clusters grown inside a lab for product testing.
- Human Tissue: tissue from a healthy or diseased human organ donated after surgery or death can also be used to test products.
- Computer Models: technology has advanced such that virtual experiments can be conducted on human skin and organs virtually.
Why you should use cruelty-free soaps
- Cruelty-free soaps are healthier
When products are not tested on animals for safety, they don’t contain toxic ingredients like parabens and sulfates. They are also most likely fragrance-free, which is another huge plus point. These will cause less breakout, irritation, and allergies.
Sometimes they are made from natural products that you can easily recognize, which makes them generally healthier. Also, companies that avoid hurting animals have no motive to scam and hurt people. So, these products are clean.
- They are affordable
Generally, cruelty-free soaps and other products are much more affordable than their tested counterparts. You are saving money, animals, and cruelty-free business all with one swift purchase.
Even if some cruelty-free products are expensive, it is a price to pay for the discomfort that we have caused animals in other ways.
- It is a kind deed
With a little research, you can learn how brutal animal testing is. The animals that would otherwise have a happy home or a free life in the wild are trapped, tested on, and deliberately killed. When you buy cruelty-free soaps and other products, you are standing your ground against such animal cruelty. And when enough people use cruelty-free products, there will be lesser businesses testing on animals.
- Mindful Purchases
Because there are not many vegan or cruelty-free options for products in the market, your choices will narrow down. You will not get to hoard products just because they are on sale or cheaper. You will be making mindful decisions and only buying products you need and do not want.
- There is no reason for animal testing
As we mentioned before, there is no need for testing on animals in this day and age. We can test on organs donated by people and even conduct experiments directly, or even better yet, use natural ingredients that require no testing. Such a bizarre concept. There are also more than 7,000 cosmetic ingredients found to be safe and need no testing. What kind of soap could not be created from this vast library of ingredients? Even a small purchase of cruelty-free soaps holds companies and laboratories accountable for their actions, so why not?
- You can support local and cruelty-free brands
Going against a trend is not easy. Likewise, it is not easy for companies to go cruelty-free. They require certifications and background checks and only then can claim themselves so.
Also, local businesses don’t have the resources to use expensive ingredients and test on animals. They use natural ingredients and usually make products by hand. So, by buying cruelty-free soaps, you are giving someone employment and the motivation to continue on the cruelty-free path.
Now, you know what it means when a product is tested on animals and why it is wrong. There is absolutely no reason for animal testing when we have better alternatives. As consumers, we also have few excuses for buying products tested on animals when there are many, many cruelty-free products.
Cruelty-free soaps are healthier, sustainable, natural, and more importantly, haven’t caused anyone pain and discomfort. Good for the environment, good for the animals, and good for you.