“An it harm none, do what ye will”
Pagans reading the subheading above will recognise it as part of the Wiccan Rede and although I do not consider myself Wiccan my spiritual path began in Paganism and I have carried these words with me ever since.
In holding these seven words close to my heart I find I have to make choices in my life to ensure I cause as little harm to myself and others as possible. Linked closely to this is my deep desire to live as cruelty free a life as possible.
“Cruelty free” is something I am deeply, deeply passionate about. Living a cruelty free life means that the products we buy have not harmed animals in any way. Now, I realise this is impossible; everything we do harms animals in some way even if it is the insects that are killed when the farmer harvests the veggies we eat, but it is possible to do a lot less harm if we are careful how we shop. Aside from buying free range eggs and meat and organic foods as much as possible, being careful in what cosmetics and cleaning products we buy is vitally important.
Why do we need to do this? It’s odd but some people still ask this question. There is an underlying ignorance about what goes on in the cosmetic industry, I’m not here to tell you the gory details, Google will inform you. Let’s just say if you saw what happened to animals like your pet cat, rabbit, guinea pig or even dog just so that you and your home can look and smell good you would be horrified.
Horror aside, it is important to understand that something that is considered safe for animals may be toxic for humans. Look at what goats can eat, would you feel safe eating that?
There is also a lot of ignorance about which products are actually cruelty free. Many products say “not tested on animals” but in reality they are not cruelty free. As a bench mark, if you went to Tescos and looked down the cosmetics and cleaning isles I will tell you, there is possibly one or two items in all that is available that is truly cruelty free. Some may say they are, but in reality they simply pay another company to do the dirty work for them or they test the ingredients and not the completed product.
It all sounds quite complicated; how do we ensure that the products we buy are not causing harm? The simplest way is to look for the Cruelty Free International logo (below) on your products. For years this was difficult, you had to buy on-line from small businesses but larger companies are realising that there is a market for these products and now more and more are getting on board.
It is now very very easy to keep yourself and your home clean with products that carry this logo. Superdrug, M&S, The Co-Op, Sainsbury’s, Method, Ecover and Astonish are all companies that produce a range of products that either carry the leaping bunny logo or are PETA approved. Look at the list, you can see how easy it is to cover all your cosmetic and cleaning needs in just a few shops or brands, all of which can be found on the high street. If you can’t find what you want this list is the go to guide on what is safe to use in a cruelty free lifestyle.
So now that you see how simple it is I challenge you; what can you change today to ensure you do not cause harm to animals? What excuse do you have for not making this simple change?
And the next step for those that are already living this lifestyle? There is still so much work to be done to create a cruelty free lifestyle. The Dr Hadwen Trust are doing amazing things in animal free medical research. If you are one of those that needs to use pharmaceuticals but feel bad every day you take your meds think about supporting them and help work towards a world where even our medicines aren’t tested on animals.