How to Shop Cruelty-Free

shampooBy Andrew Puccetti

Today, helping animals can literally be as simple as purchasing a certain type of shampoo.

Thousands of animals are killed, poisoned, and blinded for product testing every year. These outdated tests are often for personal care items, cosmetics, and household cleaning products.

Although over 1,000 companies have banned animal testing, some corporations still test their products on animals by forcing substances into animals’ stomachs or dripping chemicals into their eyes. Interestingly, these tests are not required by law, and they often create inaccurate or misleading results.

The usual approach is to apply a substance to their eyes or their skin, or to pump it into their stomach or airways. Most of the commonly used tests are outdated and cruel procedures that are not very good at protecting humans—a product may have had horrible results on an animal, but will sometimes still be marketed to consumers.

Fortunately, tests that torture animals are not necessary in this day and age. Scientists have created product tests that are more accurate than the commonly used blinding and poisoning tests, which were developed in the 1920s. In labs today, scientists are able to mimic human cell cultures, tissue studies, human “skin,” and human “eyes.” Computer virtual organs also serve as good models of human body parts.

Technology like this is constantly being tweaked and improved. Companies creating new products can also use the thousands of ingredients that have already been tested or that have a long history of safe use.

Standing up against animal testing is easy and can start with your daily shopping habits. Consumers’ desire to buy cruelty-free products has been quickly increasing. Although sometimes it can be hard to identify which products are cruelty-free, a good place to start is on the websites of some major animal welfare organizations. Many of them, like PETA or the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics, offer cruelty-free shopping guides.

When at the store, you need to be careful about the label that says “not tested on animals.” Some of these companies may say that they are cruelty-free, but the reality is that only their final product was not tested on animals—the ingredients, however, were. The label can also mean that the company itself did not test on animals, but hired another firm to do this. The best way to find cruelty-free companies is to look in one of the shopping guides linked to above.

Another way to help take a stand against animal testing is to call, write, or email companies and inform them that you will no longer be using their products. You can also contact them and ask them to consider changing their policies and becoming cruelty-free. Remember that every voice helps.

Be a compassionate consumer: shop cruelty-free!

Andrew Puccetti may only be fifteen years old, but he has already shown immense dedication and passion for the well-being of animals. Every other week Andrew will be here talking about the relationship between young people and animal rights–how they can make a difference, how they are already making a difference, and how important it is for kids to continue the fight for our animal companions. Learn about Andrew’s non-profit organization Live Life Humane and check out his blog!


How to Hold a Peaceful Protest

How to Recognize Animal Cruelty

Cruelty-Free Consumerism

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