Whether you're a seasoned vegan, or just aspiring to live a kinder life, you might have noticed that the term “cruelty-free” gets thrown around a lot. Companies sometimes print the phrase on their product packaging, and beauty bloggers mention it often. But what does “cruelty-free” really mean?
There is currently no legal definition for the term “cruelty-free”, so it can mean different things to different people. We use “cruelty-free” to say that a brand is not testing on animals, does not use any ingredients that have been tested on animals, and is not testing on animals when required by law.
While a number of countries have implemented bans on the testing of certain types of consumer goods on animals, such as the cosmetics-testing bans in the European Union, India, Israel, New Zealand, Norway, and elsewhere, more than 100 million animals suffer and die in the U.S. every year in cruel chemical, drug, food, and cosmetics tests as well as in medical training exercises and curiosity-driven medical experiments at universities.
Before you buy cosmetics, personal care products, or other household products, be sure to make sure they are both vegan and cruelty-free. Unfortunately, the two are not always synonymous, as silly as that may be!
Choosing to shop cruelty-free is a great way to take a stand against experimentation on animals, and with LUSH at Roosevelt Field and Smith Haven malls, Paul Mitchell at Supercuts, and stores like Rite Aid and CVS offering their own lines of cruelty-free generics, finding cruelty-free products has never been easier.
To make things simpler, you can download Beagle Freedom Project's Cruelty-Cutter app on your smartphone, and with one scan of a barcode, you'll instantly be able to tell if a company tests on animals.
If your favorite product turns out to be a cruel one, have no fear; Just replace it with one from this cruelty-free list by Logical Harmony, (This great website even tells you which lines are 100% vegan.) or stay in your pajamas and shop online at veganessentials.com or veganstore.com
Pepper, the baby of our family, was rescued from a laboratory in partnership with the Beagle Freedom Project in 2014.
Used for product testing, Pepper had been abused and confused when John brought him home for the first time. He didn't know how to play and he didn't even know how to eat properly!
But in the years that followed, Pepper blossomed. Despite being tortured and abused by humans the first two years of his life, Pepper simply wanted to make up for all the things he couldn’t do in the lab. He loved to eat, cuddle, have his belly-rubbed, spend time with his new girlfriend Bernie, bask in the sun, and most all, run—something he never could do in a cramped, metal cage.
2016 was a big year for Pepper. He was featured in the 2016 RescueMenUSA calendar, promoting adoption of animals from New York City shelters and advocating against animal experimentation, and he became an ambassador for LION in the passage of New York State’s Beagle Freedom Bill, which requires university laboratories give nonprofit rescue organizations the opportunity to adopt and rehabilitate dogs and cats before the laboratories can discard of them.
However, it was also a grave year. Pepper's insatiable appetite waned to almost nothing and he stopped running for the first time since he left the lab. He visited three veterinarians and they all said he was likely suffering from gastrointestinal cancer as a result of his experimentation. As he worsened, and one of his hind legs became lame, they became all the surer. By October, Pepper had passed. He was only 4 and a half.
While Pepper was lucky enough to know freedom—even if just two short years of it—millions of mice, rats, rabbits, primates, cats, dogs, and other animals are not so lucky.
In remembrance of Pepper, LION urges people everywhere to only buy cruelty-free products, donate only to charities that don’t experiment on animals (be sure to ask before donating!), and demand humane alternatives to animal dissection. Whether betrayed by disreputable animal shelters or bred with the sole purpose of being forced into painful experiments, every animal being tortured in pointless laboratory experiments is just as capable of feeling and just as deserving of a fulfilling life and loving home as Pepper and the feline companions who purr on our laps.