Last Update: September 28, 2023
Slathering on sunscreen before a day at the beach means you’re protecting your skin from the elements, but there’s more to that squirt of SPF than meets the eye. And the same goes for a swipe of lipstick or a dollop of shampoo because unfortunately, the cosmetics industry has a dark side.
According to Shannon Keith, founder of the Rescue + Freedom Project, “[In the U.S.,] animal testing is not required by law, therefore, companies that test on animals choose to do so. The public is often misled when a company says it doesn’t test on animals yet fine print states ‘unless required by law.’ This happens when companies sell products in countries like China that do require animal testing.”
From skin care to hair care, animal testing is a common practice for many companies, and today we’re helping shed light on this important issue. We’ll also introduce you to a very special organization and a beauty brand that are working to change policies. Read on for some practical ways to stay informed, vote with your dollar, and care for animals at the same time.
The Rescue + Freedom Project (formerly Beagle Freedom Project) has been rescuing animals from laboratory experiments since 2010. Its motto to “rescue, rehabilitate, and repeat” serves four-legged friends across the country, and RFP is always ready to go the distance for any animal.
It all started when Shannon rescued two beagles from an animal testing facility in California. “I heard a lab was closing for the winter holiday and discovered that rather than caring for the dogs over break, the facility’s policy was often just to euthanize them,” she shared. Luckily, the lab let her take the animals, but only if she agreed to pick them up in a matter of hours. “As I drove to the lab, I imagined their moment of freedom—how the dogs would be so happy, running and free. After all, they’ve lived their lives in steel cages without access to the outdoors and have been known only by a federal ID number tattooed in their ears,” she said.
When Shannon arrived, the dogs couldn’t communicate because their vocal chords had been cut, and they were shaking in their cages, salivating uncontrollably, and had vacant looks in their eyes. “When I opened the crates to let them out into the sunshine, they hesitated. It took 20 minutes for them to feel comfortable stepping onto the grass. After this experience, I made it my mission to not only save these dogs, but to change the laws and change the face of animal testing.”
In recent years, Shannon has seen big strides being made, which is good news for animals. RFP recently donated $200,000 to scientists to develop alternative methods for animal testing, an exciting development that has the potential to go mainstream. “The technology and science is available. The issue is simply funding,” she said. “In terms of cosmetics, we’ve seen several countries ban animal testing in cosmetics, and it’s time for the United States to do the same!”
If shopping cruelty-free is a priority, there are lots of ways to put this value into practice. Here are some tips, straight from the experts.
“The easiest thing to do is look at the product,” Shannon said. See if there’s a leaping bunny (the cruelty-free logo) or other symbol that indicates it’s a cruelty-free product, or the language “not tested on animals. Shannon said sometimes a product is cruelty-free but it doesn’t say so on the package. To double check, download the free app Cruelty-Cutter—you scan the barcode of a product and it instantly tells you if the product is cruelty-free or not!
Lots of organizations are focused on creating positive change in the science community and eliminating animal testing for good. Shop cruelty-free products (see above), sign petitions, and brush up on the Beagle Freedom Bill, which details which states have stricter guidelines. If your state isn’t listed, be an advocate for animals and contact your senator to initiate the bill.
Ready to take your support one step further? Open your home to an animal in need and apply to foster or adopt a dog.
When it comes to beauty brands that get an A for animal welfare, Kiss My Face makes the grade. It’s partnered with the Rescue + Freedom Project for the past two years to help educate consumers about this important issue. Chief Marketing Officer Arnisha Hallett-Jones gave us the scoop on all the ways Kiss My Face is standing up for animals!
When the brand launched 36 years ago, it was completely cruelty-free. “In addition to our partnership with RFP, we regularly share stories about beagles that have been rescued from testing facilities on our social channels,” Arnisha shared. This fall, Kiss My Face is planning a cruelty-free campaign for the holiday wrap that goes around its top-selling 86% Pure Olive Bar Soap 3-Pack and Coconut Bar Soap 3-Pack. (Sounds like the perfect stocking stuffer!)
Like Shannon, Arnisha is feeling positive about the changes taking place to keep animals safe. “Five years ago the EU completed the ban on the sale of animal-tested cosmetics. That was a great start!” she said. Back on American Soil this past February, New York State proposed a ban on the import and sale of cosmetics tested on animals, and Hawaii and California added support shortly afterwards. (New York has already outlawed animal testing within state lines.) The good news doesn’t stop there, because advocacy organizations like Cruelty Free International are currently pushing for a global ban on animal testing.
Ready to get shopping? We’ve made it easy to support cruelty-free brands. All you need to do is select the Cruelty Free value from our Shop Values option on the home page—or check them out right here!
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