Recently, I've become more conscious of buying household and personal products that are certified "cruelty-free" or that state "not tested on animals". The cruelty-free certification is something that a brand can obtain by working with the animal rights organization PETA but my understanding is that it is similar to a product claiming "not tested on animals".
Animal welfare is very important to me and to our family. It's a big part of why we chose to eat a vegetarian diet and try to limit our consumption of animal products (we do eat eggs, yogurt and cheese). Ideally I'd like to be vegan but right now I'm OK with our diet, which is frequently vegan.
Choosing products that aren't tested on animals feels like a natural and important extension of our vegetarian diet so its something I'm trying to prioritize. We try to be conscious of how our food choices impact animals and the environment and certainly the non-edible products we buy are also impacting animals and the environment. It takes a little more effort to seek out products not tested on animals but so far not too much more effort. There are so many great brands out there that are being conscious of animal welfare and good stewards of the environment!
For example, all of the products I've purchased at Trader Joe's including shampoo and conditioner, face lotion, hand lotion and laundry detergent are not tested on animals and my favorite Mrs. Meyers brand does not test on animals. We also love Tom's of Maine toothpaste (my favorite flavor is wicked fresh), which is "cruelty-free". I'm also giving the vegan and cruelty-free monthly subscription box of beauty products Petit Vour a whirl and just received my first box. I'll post a review after a few months!
The other thing I love about seeking out products not testing on animals is that they also tend to include more natural ingredients and I don't worry about what scary chemicals are in them. (But I will admit that I still have not found a natural deodorant that really works for me.)
I'm also finding that this goal is making me a more thoughtful consumer and maybe consume a tiny bit less overall. When I stop in at the pharmacy I'm less likely to buy an impulse cosmetic or beauty item because I know that so few of them proclaim to be "not tested on animals". Instead, I'm keeping a mental list of the things I'd like to get, like new makeup or hair products, and I'll make a trip to a natural food store or specific makeup store where the selection will be larger.
There are still products that we buy that aren't certified not tested on animals. For example, when I get a pedicure I'm certain the products used at the nail salon are not cruelty-free. And we do own leather products, like shoes and purses. So I'm not claiming to be a shining star of ethics and there are many other important issues, such as fair labor related to clothing and manufacturing the products I buy, that I haven't prioritized.
Sometimes when I think about animal welfare or environmental issues, things that I care deeply about but that seem insurmountable, it's easy to become overwhelmed and to just want to throw my hands up and reach for what's easy. But I think that each choice and purchase, while individually teeny in the grand scheme of things, can add up to something bigger. And if the majority of my purchases support the ethical treatment of animals then I think that does make a difference. I'm a big believer in the power of "voting with your dollars."
If you have any favorite "cruelty-free" or "not tested on animals" products or brands I'd love to know!
Psssst...We've had to push back airing our Girl Next Door Book Club episode until this weekend. I know you're excited to join in and we can't wait to share it with you. The wait will be worth it!! In the mean time, make sure you're caught up on all our previous episodes of The Girl Next Door Podcast. Thanks so much for listening!