I'm not sure where to start, except to say that I still believe that the world should be filled with people who respect all life, including animals. When I first came out with my cruelty-free statement, I had a wonderful response from my viewers. I didn't know the positive impact my choice would have on so many people.
I didn't realize the negative impact, either.
I want this post to be as clear as possible: I am in no way condoning animal testing--- and never will. However I've come to believe that cruelty-free seems to be a gray area... not quite the black and white issue I believed it was when I exposed myself to the awareness of animal testing in cosmetics.
I've avoided this post for a while, since I had to make my choice clear to myself before I could become clear about it with you, my subscribers. I also was concerned that I would have a negative backlash since I understand that I have the potential to lose followers based on this post... but if what I say makes you no longer support me or like me etc. then I fully respect that. In today's world we each have our free will and choice to decide to agree or disagree. I didn't announced my cruelty-free choice as a way to become more popular. It's obviously not the popular choice of the masses...yet.
I've received literally hundreds of emails about this subject. I've responded to about 200-300 messages individually on this subject and what my opinion is, or my decision would be for a particular brand. I've tried to deal with the droves of people finger-pointing at my usage of brands that I consider safe but they disagree with my choice for whatever reason. I've decided to stop responding to those emails and simply make a public statement so those that are concerned have a clear view on my take on cruelty-free. I will no longer be answering individual emails about this subject. I am not a political person and no longer want to have to defend myself for my choices or be responsible for educating people about animal testing.
I will say this: I am not the authority on everything cruelty-free. I've never pretended that I am.
I will still continue to use cruelty-free brands and brands I feel are adverse to animal testing. Like I have said from the beginning-- you can chose to support brands that oppose animal testing but everyone has to individually decide what is acceptable for them and what is not.
As an example:
"Does Benefit Cosmetics test on animals?There is no way I can know the inner workings of any company. As this example above, I side with finding Benefit acceptable as a brand I would purchase from. However, there are a multitude of people who would not be satisfied by this. In fact based on many comments in forums and blog posts/videos a lot of people consider Benefit not cruelty-free.
Benefit does not test our cosmetic products on animals. When selecting the ingredients to be used in our cosmetic products, Benefit requires raw material suppliers to provide safety information based on scientifically accepted alternative testing methods that meet international safety standards and regulations. Benefit products must meet both consumers' needs and consumer safety, while respecting animal life. Benefit continues to strongly support & favor alternative testing and is committed to following all animal testing laws and regulations in order to ensure our products' safety for the end consumer." (excerpt from Benefit website)
Right now, there doesn't seem to be a consistent agreement on what cruelty-free is. Below is a handful of different objective and subjective definitions from various sources on "cruelty-free":
"Cruelty-free: A term used to refer to products and practices that eliminate intentional cruelty and harm. For example, personal care products that contain no animal ingredients and that are not tested on animals may bear a "cruelty-free" label or emblem, such as the Leaping Bunny logo." (excerpt from Animal Liberation Front)
"Cruelty-free — adj (of a cosmetic or other product) developed without being tested on animals" (World Dictionary online Collins Dictionary source)
"...Companies listed either signed PETA’s statement of assurance or provided a statement verifying that they do not conduct or commission any animal tests on ingredients, formulations, or finished products and that they pledge not to do so in the future..." (excerpt from PETA's wesbite)Currently there is no legal authority or organization that actually can verify a product as cruelty-free. PETA and Leaping Bunny (as examples) have no legal means to verify a product/brand as cruelty-free and can only rely on statements made by the companies themselves. I don't discount their information in fact I support their cause (obviously), I'm only pointing out that when it comes down to it... unless you are an investigator and are undercover at the top echelons of a cosmetics company... you're not going to 100% know. Many companies list "unless required by law" because they have Chinese suppliers for an ingredient, or many ingredients and it is a legal practice in China to test on animals to certify an ingredient is safe. You may think that's unacceptable you may not.
You have to make your own educated and discretionary decisions when deciding what you will and won't purchase. It's up to you.
L'Oreal recently made a statement about finding alternatives for cosmetic testing:
"L’Oreal ups the animal testing alternative ante with EPA investment The US Environmental Protection Agency received $1.2 million in private sector research funding from global cosmetic company L’Oreal in a bid to determine if EPA’s chemical toxicity forecaster (ToxCast) can be used in systemic toxicity tests and replace current methods that involve animals"I am not jumping off my chair to now to buy up a bunch of L'Oreal products. It's a step in the right direction but I'm not 100% comfortable with L'Oreal yet. I do think that this is a movement that is picking up speed more and more every year and I hope in my lifetime I see cosmetic animal-testing banned and considered a criminal act. I am of the mindset that it will run it's course and that rather than bashing brands that aren't cruelty-free, to support and promote brands that are. The non-followers will eventually follow suit to what the public is supporting and asking for. That's just the way I think. You may see that as too passive-- and I'll assume that those that do are at the front of the line picketing and dedicating their time to change legislation... not sitting behind their computers telling me that my choices are wrong.
I may have less stringent views on cruelty-free than others but it doesn't mean that I'm a bad person, or less conscious than someone who doesn't care at all about brands being cruelty-free or not. I try to avoid passing judgement on other people about subjects or practices that I'm not willing to follow or spearhead myself.... I hope that the people criticizing my decisions follow the same golden-rule.
I understand that for some people it is now important to know what my stance is in order to still subscribe to my channel or blog. Maybe I asked for that the moment I mentioned cruelty-free, though my intentions for Youtubing or blogging still continue with my original aim--- sharing my ever-expanding knowledge of makeup application tips and techniques. That is still what I enjoy most. My goal was never to offend or divide loyalties of my supporters. I still consider my stance on cosmetic purchases the same as I always did. I will use brands that I feel are animal-conscious.
Here are my basic guidelines:
- If a company is sending me a product to review or try based on sponsorship they must be cruelty-free.
- If a cruelty-free cosmetics company has a parent company that has been known to test on animals I may still purchase from the child company. Example: L'Oreal vs.The Body Shop.
- Cosmetic brands that are clearly still in the practice of testing on animals in North America or Europe will not be purchase by me or promoted in my videos or on my website. I do not typically buy brands from the Middle East or Asia (language barriers and uber expensive shipping). If I were to purchase any brands from any other place in the world, such as Australia I would hold the same standards as buying in North America.
- Any cosmetics brand that sells to China that is cruelty-free otherwise may still be purchased by me, however minimal. I only say this based on China's current laws on animal testing, which I hope will change in the near future. As an example MAC cosmetics. I may change my view on this topic with more research but I currently do not have the means to replace all of my cosmetics who may fall under a company who has now decided to sell within China, and unfortunately that does directly affect my ability to work as a professional.
- I will support and gladly promote brands that feature bunny logos.
I know this is long but I really wanted to put it on the table for those who have been asking. I have only ever set to be 100% honest with you guys. I am human and I do my best to live my life with good intentions. I care greatly about my subscribers and wouldn't pretend to believe or do something I don't, so I ask you please respect what I have to say with the same openness I have offered.
If you have any questions please leave them in the comments section and I will reply the best I can.