Tag Archives: ethical consumption

Animal Testing

Cover Girl, one of the biggest cosmetic lines, has stopped all animal testing of their products. This is such good news. There are still some caveats to think about, but hurray!

One caveat is “except where required by law” – which means China. But if they are putting pressure on China to change their policy – well, they’re a really big company capable of a lot of pressure.

Second caveat is the parent company Coty has not ceased animal testing in its other lines. But they say they are working toward it. That’s hopeful. So buy Cover Girl again? Maybe. If it shows them that their decision is one their potential customers want them to make. Then wait and see if they follow through with their other brands. If not, it’s time to stop buying and start writing letters.

fb-7-nov-18-coty animal testing statement
Click/tap to read Coty’s statement on animal testing

Below is a post I wrote for my St. Thomas Dog Blog in 2010. I have removed most discussion of specific cosmetic companies, including Cover Girl, because it is now outdated. For all brands, it’s best to google for information on current practice and changes in ownership.

Animal Testing (Oct. 14, 2010)

It’s very hard to buy products that are not tested on animals or made by companies that test on animals in at least some of their product lines.  In this, I am not talking about government-mandated animal testing on pharmaceuticals and medical products. I’m talking about cosmetics, hair products and household cleaning products.

I knew that L’Oreal still used animal testing for their cosmetics and hair products.  That made the news when L’Oreal bought The Body Shop, a company that prided itself on natural and cruelty-free products.  So even though the Body Shop did not test on animals, its new parent company did. So it too went on the animal testing boycott list.

I looked online then to try to find products that were not tested on animals.  The majority I found were brand names I’d never heard of or seemed to be available only in the US or online.  But I want to just go into a drugstore and buy what I want. Not so easy.  Physicians Formula is reliable for not testing on animals, but isn’t available in all stores.

But what about toothpaste, cleaning products or anything outside cosmetics and hair stuff? The biggies – that test on animals and make almost everything you have in your cupboards – are Proctor & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson.  P&G alone, just in cosmetics and skin care, owns Cover Girl, Max Factor (both bought by Coty) and Olay.  Crest and Colgate toothpastes are made by P&G and J&J.

Parent and source companies

The issue isn’t as simple does a company do it or not.  Some don’t do animal testing on some of their lines but do on others.  For example, P&G owns Clairol which makes Herbal Essences hair care products.  That line is not tested on animals, but others sold under the Clairol name are, as are products made and sold by the parent company P&G.  So while bunnies’ eyes are not burned out if you buy Herbal Essences, they’re being used to test other Clairol and P&G products.  And P&G isn’t losing your money due to their continued use of unnecessary animal testing. (P&G sold Clairol to Coty in 2015)

Also, some companies do not themselves use animals for testing their products, but they rely on research from companies that do.  So while their hands are technically clean, they are still supporting the use of animal testing.  At this point, product scientific research and formulation is pretty well-established.  All the animals that needed to be blinded or have their hair fall out have given their lives for our safe beautification.  Technology exists which can safely test products for human use without asking for animal sacrifice.

Who doesn’t do animal testing?

You can find a pretty comprehensive list of companies and brand that don’t use animal testing and those that do at caringconsumer.com.  It’s part of the PETA site and has well-organized lists of companies and product names.  I printed out the ones I needed and will be doing more animal-friendly shopping.

Also see my Make-up Trade Oct. 30/13 and Santa Bunny Dec. 6/12.

The black and white photo of the rabbit comes from P & G Kills, which provides good background on the company’s history of animal testing (available through Scribd).

The second photo used to be on the Wikipedia article on Animal Testing in the toxicity testing section. That has long relied on the Draize eye test.  In a nutshell, it means putting a substance in an animal’s eyes and waiting to see what happens.

Happy Meals

Grayneck with sister hens in garden summer 2016In Memoriam: In honour of our Phoenix hen Grayneck. On Dec. 23, 2016, Grayneck died of natural causes, aged 4 1/2 years. She is survived by her four sisters.

The girls are the first hens I have had since the ones I write about here. This was first posted on my St. Thomas Dog Blog on June 13, 2010.

Hens and Roosters

I used to keep chickens. Mainly bantams who produce lovely little eggs. They also are very broody, meaning they will easily sit on eggs in order to hatch them. When you have chicks, it’s 50/50 whether Favourite of all roosters Baby Rooster D Stewart photosyou get hens or roosters. Any chicken coop can only handle so many roosters, I found. They get along with each other if they’ve been raised together, so fighting isn’t the problem. Hens and roosters both sort out their place in their pecking order.

Aside from fertilizing eggs and guarding the hens, the roosters don’t do anything productive and they eat just as much as do the hens who lay eggs for their keep. Roosters crow at all hours of the day and most of the night, and they don’t leave the hens alone. They all want to be the “egg-daddy” it seems. So every so often, some roosters have to go.*

One way they can be useful is in the stewpot. I never did the killing. I was the hanging judge: I decided who was going to die.  My then-partner did the actual dispatching, while I went in the house and washed dishes and cried. My tears didn’t make the chosen rooster any happier about his fate but, up to that moment his life had been very good. They had a nice spacious coop, an outdoor run and often they had days out loose in the yard, eating berries and pecking for bugs.

“Ugly Duckling” Chicks

Bantam/Leghorn cross with chicks photo Dorothy AngerWe also raised turkeys, putting fertilized eggs under broody bantams. The hens looked after their “ugly duckling” chicks as well as if they’d been regular bantam chicks. And the great big chicks followed their mothers and slept under their mothers’ wings even when they no longer really fit.

With the turkeys, in the fall we’d feed them lots of berries and nice vegetable scraps. The birds loved them, and it actually made the meat taste sweeter when we ate them at Thanksgiving or Christmas. So we all got a treat.

I think it’s important that the animals I eat have had good lives. I look after my pets’ health and make sure they have fun and exercise and good food because I know it’s important to their well-being. So why should it be any different for farm animals that lay down their lives in order to provide me with a meal? And, beyond the ethical issues of humane treatment of living creatures, you know there are no chemicals, hormone additives or dubious food going into naturally-raised animals. Also the end product simply tastes better.

One of my egg customers, when I had my chickens, paid me double my asking price. He said my little, fresh bantam eggs were so flavourful that he wanted to give me what he’d pay for large supermarket eggs.

Elgin County Farms

We’re lucky in Elgin County to still have a lot of small farms that grow vegetables and rear animals in the traditional way. And, as interest in organic and local foods increases, the number of those farms is also growing.

At the St. Thomas Library, I picked up two pamphlets. One is “Fresh from the Farms in Elgin County”, published by the Elgin Business Resource Centre, and the other is “Local Organic! Farms” by London Area Organic Growers. Both pamphlets list producers and sellers of vegetables and berries, meat, wine and honey in Elgin and London areas. They have the addresses, phone numbers, seasonal hours and what they sell as well as maps showing where each is located. The London one also includes area restaurants that use organic foods. When I started trying to find local sources for good (in all senses of the word) meats, I made up my own list of “happy” animal farms and organic vegetable growers. But these brochures have a lot of places I didn’t know about. Good resources to have!

me with Baby Rooster D Stewart photos* My husband said, after reading this description of roosters, that I’d just summed up at least half  of the North American male culture.

Babyrooster and Babyhen, pictured here, were my first chicks and my pets. Despite his very small size, Babyrooster was vigilant in looking after his hens. After a good long life, he died defending the hens against an attack by dogs.