Living a cruelty-free life

I want my life to be cruelty-free. This is something that has been important to me for a while and I’d love to share my passion for the issue with you today. I’m actually rather embarrassed to admit that for all the years of my life leading up to this decision I hadn’t really ever considered it. I hadn’t given animal testing any thought and I actually feel a bit silly that I was being sucked in by advertising and spending my hard-earned money on the ‘latest miracle product’, completely ignorant as to how it was manufactured or tested. I’m not saying that I didn’t care about animals for all my teenage years; I just wasn’t aware of the behind-the-scenes goings-on of the cosmetic, toiletries, food and cleaning product industries. And now I want to make sure that I never make any mistakes with my buying choices again. We have the power to vote with our feet and choose which brands to buy from and which to boycott. Okay, I’m not starting a rally here, but it IS important to me to know what I’m buying and how it has been produced.leaping bunny international logo BUAV approved cruelty free cosmetics make up skincare household products beauty-2

Here’s the logo to look out for on product packaging – The Leaping Bunny

I can tell you what kick started my passion about this subject; my cat Cookie. I’ve been a cat mummy for nearly 8 years now after adopting Cookie and Muffin from the Animal Rescue centre in Lancaster. And I’ve been an animal-lover and pet owner all my life; taking care of rabbits, mice, cats, a dog (and even someone else’s pony!) as I was growing up. I definitely feel an affinity to animals and, let’s face it, sometimes prefer them to humans. Yet the issue of animal testing hadn’t popped into my head at all until this year, when Cookie fell ill.leaping bunny international logo BUAV approved cruelty free cosmetics make up skincare household products beauty-7

The Leaping Bunny logo confirms the product has been certified ‘cruelty free’ under the international Humane Cosmetics or Humane Household Products Standards

In the space of one week my adorable little ball of fluff went from being a happy, healthy and calm animal and became a mangey, weak, skittish, unhappy little soul. My cat was wasting away before my eyes and it broke my heart. Although it wasn’t the cause of the illness, she was suffering from feline idiopathic cystitis so was constantly visiting the litter tray, getting mess all over her and couldn’t rest – within minutes she was up and trying to wee again. Although it was distressing to see at the time, I’m really grateful that this happened because we rushed her to the vets (as the similar illness feline lower urinary tract disease can be very dangerous) and the vet gave her a thorough examination. The result was a heart murmur, caused by hyperthyroidism. She actually was on the way out and we wouldn’t have known about it at all if we hadn’t taken her to the vets. Luckily, there was something we could do to help her, and after changing her diet to iodine free food and lots of medication to treat the symptoms she has started to improve – she’s put on weight, her thyroid levels are going down and she’s getting her fluffiness back. It means that she’ll soon be able to have the operation to remove the thyroid and will be able to live a long and happy life like any other cat.leaping bunny international logo BUAV approved cruelty free cosmetics make up skincare household products beauty-6

What does “Fighting Animal Testing” mean? Dig deeper if you’re unsure – I did and LUSH ARE fighting animal testing. The brand is entirely vegetarian and won’t associate with ANY organisation that tests on animals.

Anyway, the reason I’ve told you all about Cookie’s illness is because that was the turning point for me. I couldn’t bear to see my pet suffering and I realised that I care just as much about any animal suffering. Why put any animal through an ordeal if it can be avoided? I could help Cookie (and the team at Companion Care were amazing) but who helps all the other animals?  Although animal testing is now illegal in Europe, 80% of the rest of the world has no restrictions on it – including the USA and Asia. Sad, isn’t it? I know I can’t physically help all the animals myself but I knew what I COULD do, and that’s make a change in my own habits and hopefully help others to live a cruelty-free life too.leaping bunny international logo BUAV approved cruelty free cosmetics make up skincare household products beauty-4

“Made in the UK” is an additional indicator of a cruelty-free product, as animal testing is banned in the EU

Surely going cruelty-free means splashing the cash on more spendy brands, doesn’t it? Well, the short answer is no. That’s not the case. In many instances, the big name brands are the ones who do still test on animals or whose suppliers test on animals at some point along the chain. It was upsetting to me when I found out that some of my favourite beauty brands are not cruelty-free and I’d been blindly using them for years. I couldn’t believe it even more so when I considered that these were not the budget-end drugstore brands, these were ‘luxury’ ranges that I was paying over-the-odds for. I would have thought that higher price points would lead to more ethical production methods. How wrong I was. leaping bunny international logo BUAV approved cruelty free cosmetics make up skincare household products beauty-5

“Against animal testing” may not mean Leaping Bunny approved so do your research before buying – I checked out Palmers and they ARE cruelty-free

My new hobby is researching the issue. Okay, I don’t want to browse upsetting photos of animals online, but I DO want to be informed about which brands have metaphorical halos above their logos and which I wish to steer clear of. Now I finally have an excuse for all the hours I spend browsing the high street pharmacies or in the toiletries aisles in the supermarket, picking up products and checking the labels. I’m doing it in the name of research. The delight when I find a product with a happy bunny logo on the back is immeasurable! Plus, I love to have a good tut at those that aren’t cruelty-free before placing them back on the shelf.leaping bunny international logo BUAV approved cruelty free cosmetics make up skincare household products beauty

All of Superdrug’s own brand products are BUAV approved – Read about it here

I’m pleased to report that, while some products might cost me a little more for a cruelty-free version, some of the animal-friends brands are actually lower in price than my previous go-to brands. Take Superdrug’s own brand cosmetics and toiletries for example. The range is entirely vegan and I can get the same micellar water that I like to cleanse with for less than the cost of my previous brand. I’m exploring all the cosmetic options in the range and it’s exciting for me to take a look around Superdrug and find something new to try out that I can be 100% sure is cruelty-free, and at a great price.leaping bunny international logo BUAV approved cruelty free cosmetics make up skincare household products beauty-8

“Suitable for vegetarian and vegans” shows that no animal-derived ingredients have been used in the product

Over the coming weeks I’ll be sharing my new purchases as I gradually make the change to cruelty-free. As a thrifty blogger, I really can’t advocate throwing away full bottles of your existing products and I don’t believe we should feel guilty for continuing to use them. They were bought during a different time in my life so I’m going to be using up my products and when it comes the time to replace them, I’ll be making a conscious decision to switch to the cruelty-free version. I’m also going to be tackling household cleaning products, food and anything else that I think would be possible to buy cruelty-free.leaping bunny international logo BUAV approved cruelty free cosmetics make up skincare household products beauty-3

I hope you’ll come with me on the journey and perhaps make some changes to your own shopping habits too. I’m not here to make shopping or living more difficult for you, no do I intend to show lots of sad photos of animals in labs, or share in-depth details on the animal testing process. All this information is out there on the internet if you want to find it (a good place to start is PETA or UK foundation Naturewatch) but it’s not my place to thrust it into your face. My plan is to give everyone extra choice when shopping by making some easy swaps, money-saving switches and by coming up with some alternative ideas. Let me know if you too spot any great cruelty-free cosmetic dupes or have any recipes for making your own natural beauty products – I’d love to share them on the blog so please leave me a comment below. And if you’re still reading this after 1400+ words – thank you for caring 🙂

6 Responses

  1. Hi Cassie, I don’t have a blog. Glad that my tips help though :~)
    Will send you more as I think of them if you like.
    I have Chinchillas who are very affected by chemicals and it’s made
    me much more aware of my other pets too.

  2. Aw Lucy, that’s such a lovely story about Sennon, what an adorable little fella. My cats always come over to me if I’m at all emotional. Muffin has in fact just climbed on my lap now – she must have sensed that I was reading your lovely story!
    The homemade cleaning products ideas are great – I never really thought about how artificial scents and products could affect my pets. My husband does already use lemons for cleaning everything – he’s a good egg and is really thrifty. The carpet baking soda idea is genius! Do yo have a blog Lucy? I’d love to read more of your ideas! 🙂

  3. What a great way to use your blog space Cassie.
    I remember being one evening when I was 14 years old (59 now) a rare treat to the cinema. On leaving there was a table with a picture of a fluffy 3 day old seal pup and a petition asking the Canadian Government to stop using seal fur.
    I signed it and at that point made a decision to become aware of animal cruelty across the board and I only buy animal safe products.
    Because like you I have cats this has also made me rethink what products I do use. Aerosol polishes may not be tested on animals but do my pets need to breathe them in? NO. Same with air fresheners.
    I use baking soda on carpets brush in and vacuum out. White vinegar cleans a host of things, lemon or grapefruit cut in half and sprinkled with salt for sinks, kitchen surfaces,taps and more.
    To clean a microwave a jug of water with the juice of 1/2 lemon + the squeezed 1/2 cut in quarters pop on for 1-2 mins and wipe over with a damp cloth.
    Before throwing away salt the lemon and rub over your stainless steel then rinse.
    Dip your microwave rinsing cloth in the jug and wipe down surfaces for a lovely fresh smell.
    As well as animal tested products I avoid any product that has sweeteners that begin with “A” or “K” there has been a lot of argument both for and against this sweetener but I and people in the support groups have first hand awareness that it exacerbates symptoms of Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, both of which I suffer from. I also tell friends & family about this stuff because we don’t know what it can do and as it can cause issues I for one won’t give it to children I’m in contact with.
    I’m glad Cookie is on the mend, I will keep her in my thoughts.
    I had a scare with my all white male cat Sennen a few weeks back. He was going to the litter tray but not using it. He didn’t seem sick but after the 4th time I noticed this I panicked and off to the vet.
    Nothing showed up on the tests, vet asked me if there was any thing stressing me. Surprised I admitted that yes I was recovering from a kidney infection and a bereavement.
    Then he asked where the litter tray is, in a lobby just of the bathroom.
    Turned out that Sennon wasn’t using his tray he was keeping me company when I went to the loo, because that was the only place I was letting myself cry. Once I cried in the living room he sat beside me and stopped going to the tray.
    Our pets are pretty wonderful. Lucy

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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in Lifestyle Promotion Studies and is trained in Personal Money Management. She loves to ‘get the look for less’ so regularly shares thrifty-living advice, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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