The following blog post is written by Mark Hawthorne regarding how companies use the term “cruelty free” casually. Being cruelty free doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t use animal products, it just means that they don’t test on animals. We always have to be careful and mindful of the words that people use.
Companies often exploit the loopholes for when it is free of something. Like Hawthorne says in his post, just because you’re vegan doesn’t mean you don’t use child labor. Just like if you’re animal cruelty free, it doesn’t mean you don’t use animal products or child labor as well.
Take the chance to give this a read as it is a pretty good blog post regarding being cruelty free.
“Earlier this month, Procter & Gamble Co., the corporate conglomerate responsible for the manufacture of everything from toothpaste to face moisturizer, announced it had joined with the Humane Society International’s (HSI) #BeCrueltyFree campaign, which seeks to ban animal testing for cosmetics in all major global beauty markets by 2023. This is certainly good news, as P&G has been notorious for blinding, burning, maiming, and killing thousands of animals such as rabbits, dogs, hamsters, and guinea pigs every year, all while testing the toxicity of product ingredients.
The media announced the news with headlines such as “P&G joins the campaign against animal testing as Humane Society International’s new partner” (Cosmetics Business), “Procter & Gamble backs the eradication of animal testing” (Yahoo News), and “P&G joins effort to ban animal testing for cosmetics” (Cincinnati Business Courier). So far so good.
Then, a headline on the vegan-friendly site One Green Planet declared, “Procter & Gamble’s brand Herbal Essences is officially cruelty-free!” Actually, no, it’s not. A look at the Herbal Essences website shows their hair care products contain ingredients that definitely come from animals, including protein from silk and honey from bees, as well as some ingredients that sometimes come from animals, such as glycol distearate, stearyl alcohol, and glycerin.
We saw something similar occur last November, after the cosmetics brand CoverGirl (which P&G owned from 1989 to 2016) stopped testing its products on animals. “Cosmetics Giant COVERGIRL Certified As Cruelty-Free And Given Leaping Bunny,” proclaimed Plant Based News. Yet CoverGirl continues to use animal-derived ingredients, including collagen, beeswax, and lanolin.
In addition to those ingredients, a beauty or personal care product could contain, for example, allantoin (cow urine), ambergris (whale vomit), carmine (crushed-up beetles), civet (anal gland of civet cats), fish scales, gelatin (cow or pig bones, tendons, or ligaments), lard (fat from pig abdomens), mink oil, pearl powder (from oysters), placenta (sheep organs), squalene (shark liver oil), or tallow (cow fat) and still earn “cruelty-free” certification from HSI or Cruelty Free International, the latter of which issues its Leaping Bunny symbol to companies that do not test on animals.
And hence the problem. When we in the animal rights/vegan movement use a term like “cruelty-free” to describe a product, others reasonably expect it to mean it is free from any cruelty—including animal ingredients.
Or human exploitation. For years, Food Empowerment Project (F.E.P.) has been raising awareness about the use of the worst forms of child labor, including slavery, in the chocolate industry, and calling companies—especially “vegan” companies—to task for sourcing their cacao from areas where slavery is known to be used. As F.E.P.’s founder and executive director lauren Ornelas has said many times, “Just because something is vegan doesn’t mean it’s cruelty-free.”
She extends this principle to exploited farm workers, as well, noting that the people who grow and harvest the fruits and vegetables adored by vegans and omnis alike are among the most abused laborers in the food system, imperiled by extreme weather, agricultural chemicals, and sexual abuse.
Let me be clear. I applaud the efforts of HSI and Cruelty Free International—neither of which implies that their certification means a product is vegan—and other organizations working to eliminate animal testing around the world; vivisection has long been a blight on humanity. But when groups, companies, or individuals use “cruelty-free” to only indicate products not tested on animals, or they ignore the human suffering that goes into “vegan” products, we dilute the meaning of the term and confuse those whose hearts and minds we are trying to win through our advocacy.*
This may sound like a trivial issue, but words matter. And as we try to help people make truly kind choices, we owe it to everyone—the animals, workers, consumers, and ourselves—to be accurate.”
If you are interested in learning more about animal cruelty, Mark Hawthorne has a blog where he talks about many topics regarding cruelty.
One of the largest problems facing assistance animals is the growing prevalence of fraudulent cases. Because the ADA does not specify training standards for service dogs and ESAs, people have been able to falsely certify their pets as an assistance animal. Similarly, to how college students buy fake IDs, pet owners will buy fake certifications that come with harnesses, etc. so that their pets will appear like an assistance animal.
Some of the things that we can do as college students is to educate ourselves on how to distinguish between service animals, ESAs, and pets. By knowing the difference of when we need to allow access and when we have the right to ask the animal to be removed, it can defer people to bring in fake assistance animals.
For example, if you see a “service dog” in a shopping cart, it’s obviously not one. They are trained dogs so they will not do things like that. Their actions should speak louder than words. Real Service Dog manners, behavior, and training cannot be faked.
“Educate the masses, elevate their standard of intelligence, and you will certainly have a successful nation”
Last year at Minds at Work, I presented the topic of “what your pet is in the eyes of the law.”
Well, they’re sadly considered property. Although there is an increase in law that give more protection for cats and dogs, other animals that are considered pets still have a long way to go in the eyes of the law.
This year, Brittany Greenwell and Clara Wilson are once again hosting Minds at Work. I will also be presenting again at the event! Minds at Work is an event where students as well as the different ELSB committees will be presenting topics that allows the students to know more about a topic.
At the end of the event, there will be an informational tabling where you can find out more about how you can help and how you can learn more about the topic.
You should all come out!
It’s Minoru from the Animal Welfare committee.
This November 27th, we are showing a film called Racing Extinction. We will start at 7PM in the Floyd Theatre.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MwxyrLUdcss is the trailer for the documentary.
It’s a great documentary that has a lot of amazing footage of earth and the animal that live on it. It also has a lot of take aways to help our planet.
Do you have any extra of these items? Well, look not further! The shelter that we volunteer with is always looking for these foods.
Please donate them to the ELSB office if you have any extra!
Did you miss our tabling event: Safety Catching?
Here are some tips things to think about if you're planning on using humane mouse traps:
Mice don’t love cheese as much as you think they do, but if you use a strong enough cheese, it may work.
Whale, hello there!
My name is Minoru Chou and I will be this year’s new Director of Animal Welfare alongside Noah Barnes, the Associate Director. We both are very excited to be a part of the board again and hope to do a lot more with the committee than ever before!
Like last year, we will be having weekly meetings but this year, we want to get our committee way more involved. One of our goals is to put a bigger emphasis on non-pet animals and focus a lot more on animals throughout our world.
We hope that you are thinking about great ideas for this school year so that we can create events that engage and educate the UofL community! Don’t worry, everyone is koalafied to be a part of our committee and we hope to see you there!
Let minnow if you have any questions or concerns about our committee, please contact us at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Animal Welfare educates and provides students with opportunities to become active citizens through animal rights' activities and events.