Each year, Veganuary becomes more popular, with an increasing number of people embracing a plant-based diet. But did you know that your ethical choices expand beyond simply what you eat?
Whether you’re wanting to better animal protection or are simply looking to set yourself a new challenge (even if it’s not Veganuary), going vegan could have tremendous benefits for animal welfare, the environment and your own health. Here, Michelle Thew, chief executive of Cruelty Free International – yes, the company with the iconic leaping bunny symbol – shares her top reasons why you should consider switching to a cruelty-free lifestyle.
Help to end animal testing
When switching to a vegetarian or vegan diet, you’re automatically helping to reduce animal cruelty through your food choices. You may also begin to consider ways in which you could swap to vegan and cruelty-free beauty products. But did you know that animal testing is carried out on household products and medicines as well?
Over the last 30 years, there have been significant developments in the replacement of tests on animals for regulatory purposes. Non-animal methods have been developed that can now replace wholly, or in part, a number of animal tests across several product sectors, including skin irritation, eye irritation, skin sensitisation and antibody production to name a few.
However, there are still ten animal tests that are frequently carried out in Europe, despite there being safe, non-animal methods that could and should already be used. Ending these ten tests could save the lives of three quarters of a million animals every year in Europe alone!
One of the main reasons that people go vegan is because they care about animal rights, so it makes sense to extend this into purchasing cruelty-free products across the board. Education is key, so take your time to read cosmetic, haircare and household cleaning packages and ingredients to find out more and better understand which brands are doing everything they can to end animal testing.
The easiest way to check is to look a brand’ website or packaging for the approved cruelty-free Leaping Bunny stamp. Remember though that it’s not only cosmetics that may be tested on animals, but personal care and household products as well. Seeking out the cruelty-free trademark is the best assurance that a company has made a genuine commitment to help end animal testing, so you can rest assured that you’re making a more ethical purchase.
Be a conscious consumer
While there’s an increasing spotlight on the cruel and unnecessary testing of animals, the truth is that these are still going on. In 2017, there were almost ten million experiments on animals in laboratories in Europe, including the UK. What’s more, 80% of the world’s countries don’t outlaw the use of animals in cosmetics testing. So we still have a long way to go.
It may sound overwhelming, but don’t panic. Today, there are several tools and resources available to help you make more ethical choices without having to do hours of research.
Cruelty Free International’s Leaping Bunny cruelty-free product search tool helps you easily find cruelty-free products. Simply click on the ‘more information’ tab for each Leaping Bunny approved brand and you can see whether they also offer vegetarian and vegan products – it’s an easy way to be sure that you aren’t contributing to unnecessary animal cruelty.
A great example of this is Co-op. Co-op has long-campaigned against animal testing and was the first major UK supermarket to move its entire own-brand toiletry and household product ranges to our Cruelty Free International Leaping Bunny standards. The supermarket is now adding 18 new lines to its GRO range of meat-free and dairy-free foods.
Raise your voice
Small actions make a big impact, and even as one person, your voice can make a difference in instigating change. If you’re passionate about ending cruel animal testing, you could consider donating or fundraising for organisations such as Cruelty Free International, which suggests more ways in which you can increase your impact on its website. You could also add your name to petitions that call for putting an end to animal testing – many organisations such as PETA and Change.org regularly circulate action alerts.
These seemingly simple actions are a great way to ensure we can live in a cruelty-free future, whether it’s the food we’re eating, the products we use or the clothes we wear.