Cruelty-free lifestyles are becoming very popular, which is great news. Animals are sentient beings and feel pain and suffering just like we do. However, if you love animals as much as we do, you’ll also want to use products that aren’t tested on them.

It’s pretty common for rabbits to be shaved just to pour chemicals over them and in their eyes. Animals can also be force-fed substances, and what is really horrible; they can be used to see what dose of a chemical causes death. Even if they’re not killed during the experiments, they usually are afterwards.

In this guide we’re going to show you how to choose cruelty-free products.

What are the Alternatives to Animal Testing?

Animal experiments are cruel and the results very rarely apply to humans, we are different species after all. For example, what causes a rash on a rabbit doesn’t necessarily do so on a person. There is no need to test on animals as there are plenty of ways to test products that don’t involve animals.

  • In-vitro testing
  • In-silico testing
  • Human volunteers or microdosing

The first method is in-vitro testing. This uses donated human tissue or cell cultures which mimic the function of human organs. Cleaning products, cosmetics, chemicals and drugs can easily be tested using this method. It is even possible to test on donated human corneas which can be taken from eye banks.

Other methods include in-silico or computer modelling and maths simulation programs. Computer models have been formed which replicate human biology. There have been plenty of studies done and it has been shown that these models can predict how drugs and chemicals react with the human body. They can show if the product causes irritation or is toxic. With the ability to do this there is absolutely no need to test on animals.

Microdosing, which is research with human volunteers, is another alternative. In this, the volunteers are given a very small dose of a drug just one time and then their responses are recorded.

How Can Consumers Work out Which Products are Tested on Animals?

The easiest way to determine if the product has been tested on animals is to read the package to see if it says that animals haven’t been used.  However, just because it says it hasn’t been tested on animals doesn’t mean that it doesn’t contain animal products.

You may think that because a product is called vegan-friendly it hasn’t been tested on animals, but this isn’t always the case so beware. A good idea is to research the product online.

There are also cunning little ways to determine if the product has been tested on animals. If the packaging says something like ‘do not swallow’ or ‘avoid contact with eyes’ as it can be an indication that the product was tested on animals. Again, it’s best to be proactive and do your own research on products that you buy.

In addition there are three main organizations which certify that a product is cruelty-free.

  • PETA
  • CCF (Choose Cruelty-Free)
  • Leaping Bunny

Again, however, just because a product has certification from one of these companies, it only means that the product hasn’t been tested on animals – It could still contain animal matter.  Again it’s best to do your own research online. It does make you think how did we manage before the internet, right?

It is quite rare, but beware of this; Some companies will use one of the ‘cruelty free logos although they haven’t been certified. Look up the company on the organization’s website. In addition, other companies may put a bunny on the product to fool you into thinking that’s it’s cruelty-free when it isn’t.

On the other hand, some companies won’t have the logo, but they have been certified by either the CCF, PETA or Leaping Bunny. As you have to pay to have the logo and not all companies can justify the extra cost. Again, always do your own research.

The Law in Australia

In Australia, the law doesn’t say that testing animals for cosmetics is required, companies just have to show that the product is safe. On the other hand, it doesn’t say that it’s illegal. However, currently there is no testing of animals for cosmetics, but it does happen for other things such as cleaning products.

Thankfully there is a trend globally to stop testing on animals. The European Union, India and Israel are leading the way.

The great news is that there will be Commonwealth legislation on July 1st 2020 which will ban any testing on animals for cosmetics. Unfortunately, it doesn’t go quite far enough as it is only for cosmetics and not cleaning products, medicine, agricultural research or for experiments in school science labs.

The Three Rs

However, it isn’t all bad with non-cosmetic research. The international approach is to follow the 3 Rs.

  • Replacement – finding alternative means of testing without animals
  • Reduction – using fewer animals if possible
  • Refinement –  finding ways to reduce the pain that the animals suffer

The 3 Rs are part of the Australian Code for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes.

You may spend extra time in the supermarket or on the internet checking if a product is cruelty-free, but it’s worth it to know that no animals have suffered to make the product you are going to use. I hope that this guide has given you food for thought and gives you a good idea of how to live a cruelty-free lifestyle.

Margaret River Hemp Co has been a member of CCF – Choose Cruelty-Free, for over 7 years and is 100% vegan. No animal products used!!

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