I’ve always been an animal lover; always. I even wanted to be a vet for many, many years until I decided that journalism was where my heart lay. Still, animals hold a place in my heart. I have almost always had pets in the house – cats, dogs, hamsters and goldfish – and they’ve become family members, not just tame animals. They jump up on the furniture and it’s ok; I’d rather cuddle with my dog, while watching The Toy Show, than have her sit on the cold floor.
When I was sixteen I tried vegetarianism for ethical reasons. I’m not quite sure how it happened but I began seeing the animals’ faces looking back at me instead of a cut of meat and it became more difficult to eat it so I cut it out. I didn’t miss the meat, but my body did because I wasn’t a fan of vegetables to begin with. I tried to feed myself with no substitutions for quite a while until my father sat me down and said I had to eat something. I’m grateful for that because I’m a much more adventurous and healthy eater now.
Sadly my vegetarianism only lasted 11 months. I visited the US for a month and I found it quite difficult to eat healthily if I wasn’t eating meat and became ill. So I gave in and I haven’t gone back since, which I regret.
I think a lot of it had to do with the external factors and in particular the judgement. At 16 I cared an awful lot more about what other people thought and in one particular situation I refused to dissect a sheep’s heart in science class and even brought a note from home to excuse me from the experiment. But instead of accepting my decision, the teacher tried to convince me to do it by belittling my decision, which was tough to take.
But this brings me to my point: I want to go back to vegetarianism eventually, but I’d rather a whole cruelty-free lifestyle. Trying to change my entire life at once I’d imagine would be super difficult so I’m taking it one step at a time. Step One: my cruelty-free make-up bag!
I thought it would be so much easier than it was. I can’t describe the multiple bouts of inner conflict that have plagued me for the last few days. After many hours of research and reading the Leaping Bunny list, the PETA list and animal-testing policies of cosmetic companies, this is what I kept:
And this is what I ended up throwing out:
And let’s not forget these:
The EU-wide ban on the manufacture or sale of cosmetics or cosmetic ingredients tested on animals has made going cruelty-free easier in a way. Quite possibly none of the products above were in facts tested on animals. But these same companies, such as No7, sell in China, where animal testing is a legal requirement. I don’t want to support a company that tests on animals anywhere in the world, not just in the EU. And for the same reason, all the other brands above had to go too.
The reason this clean-out took a few days is that my conscious had a long fight with the poor student in me. I had spent a lot of moolah on the things I ended up throwing out and it would cost more to replace. I decided at one point to just use up what I had and when buying new cosmetics I would buy cruelty-free. But that didn’t really sit well with me. So on a whim I just bit the bullet and went to The Body Shop and bought all this:
So as you can tell, I only replaced my eye make-up. There’s two reasons for this: it’s the only kind I really wear anyway and it’s all I could afford to replace right now. At the counter I had a little bit of a sad sigh when the cashier told me how much I owed. She giggled a bit and I told her what I was doing. She seemed pleasantly surprised and thanked me for doing it and telling her. I sort of feel like I made her day a tiny bit brighter as well as my own.
The reason for this is probably the active role that The Body Shop takes in animal rights. The Body Shop actually belongs to, or is part of, the L’Oréal brand, who test on animals. However, The Body Shop refuse to do so and when questioned as to their continued participation in the company, they said they are trying to change things from the inside and influence other companies too, and that I greatly respect. They have also been part of, and even lead, international campaigns to stop animal testing so it goes without saying that they were at the top of my list when replacing my make-up.
Now I can put on my face with an extra bright smile in the mornings because I know I am using products that aren’t just natural and good for me, but they are 100% ethical too.
So that was Step One – still in progress to replace all my make-up and keep educating myself – now onto Step Two. I think I’ll tackle my toiletries bag and make it cruelty-free and environmentally friendly. Mission accepted!
*No animals were harmed in the making of this blog post.