Conscious, Compassionate Consumption

Post by Allie Sheetz for the Love for Love series.

image courtesy of Stéphanie Ruchaud on Pintrest.com

I was raised by a woman whom I considered to be the hippiest, dippiest, loon of a mother, who was, on all counts, without a doubt, of course, embarrassing. And, of course, she never missed a chance to peacock her eccentricities in public.

Case in point: any and all trips to the drug store, Target, back to school shopping (!!), were made with (and only with) a very special little card in hand. No, I’m not talking about an AmEx card, or a Target card, although that was probably there too. I’m talking about a laminated list of all the companies who do animal testing (FRONT AND BACK!). And you bet your bippy all purchases were checked to said list.

Trips to Target would consist of me sneaking off to gather my bounty, meeting at the checkout and surreptitiously sliding my bottle of Pink Grapefruit Volumizing Shine Herbal Essences shampoo into the shopping cart right at the last minute… only for it to be intercepted in broad view of the sales clerk (totally embarrassing). “What is this doing here? No. Absolutely not. It’s animal testing! Put it back.” Done and done.


But it smelled so juicy sweet, and look how silky and bouncy her hair looks! It’s my only hope of taming this chia pet sprouting from my head. What’s one bottle gonna hurt?

To poor, awkward, pubescent me, the only thing I knew about the laws of Supply and Demand were that, by law (as mandated by the parentals), if I demanded anything, I sure as hell would be supplied with a grounding sentence. Of course I squeemed at the thought of bunnies having shampoo injected in their eyes to see how painful it might be for humans, but what difference is it going to make if I buy this ONE bottle? The damage has already been done, it’s on the market.

But of course – of course – it matters. It all matters. And it wasn’t until years later, when (ironically), I had the freedom to drive and buy whatever products I wanted with my own dollar that I realized just how much it all mattered. Buying that one tube of toothpaste, or that ballpoint pen, or those disinfecting wipes, it all says to those companies “Yes! More of this please!” and more animals end up paying the ultimate price. But if I – even little, tiny, insignificant me, in a world of 7 billion – choose the alternative, the cruelty-free product, that sends a message too.

Now, I’m not here to harangue you with gruesome PETA videos – anyone with a live Facebook feed has undoubtedly caught glimpses of those. Plus, I refuse to watch them myself, so why would I ask you to? No, no. None of that here. But I do think it’s important we realize the repercussions of our choices as consumers. It’s a cliché because it’s true: Every Dollar Counts!

I’m not sure when the switch flipped for me exactly, but nowadays all my shopping is done with that tiny check being made before anything else. And that little laminated list? It was etched in my memory years ago.

But for those of you just starting on this journey, this transition to more conscious consumerhood, there’s all kinds of help out there. For starters, here is a complete list of all companies who DO still test. But if that seems overwhelming for you, check out the flipside of companies who DO NOT.

I’m not asking you to print out either list, laminate it and carry it with you everywhere you go (but kudos if you do!!). And of course all of this takes some training and rewiring. Flip the package over, scan the back for the tiny scrawled print “DOES NOT TEST ON ANIMALS”…. but sometimes that’s not enough. You see, a lot of companies will cheat and say that they didn’t test the product on animals, but their parent company may have. So you have to look for the “owned by _______” as well – maybe THEY do animal testing. It might sound complicated, but they’ve made it easy to remember who does and who doesn’t because pretty much all the big guys DO. Proctor & Gamble? Johnson & Johnson? Pfizer? All currently do testing. Now, this obviously narrows your choices a bit, but thankfully, more and more companies are opting to be cruelty-free and usually display it with some kind of logo. Here are two common ones to look out for:

       

To me, animal testing is animal testing, whether it’s on a rat, a bunny or a beagle (bred and used specifically because of their friendly and forgiving demeanor), but more and more truths are being revealed about the horrors of testing all the time. On the bright side, as these atrocities are coming to light, so are organizations devoted to stopping them (see The Beagle Freedom Project). And you can help too! Every day and with every dollar. Vote with your dollar. Vote for the voiceless.

 

Allie is the heart & creator behind Allie’s Grandola, specializing in the fine art of oats & nuts. She sells her handmade, gluten-free and vegan granola at www.aintlifegrand.squarespace.com.
In her free time, she blogs over at her tumblr, Detached and Connected, where she shares her journey of dreaming big and letting go… along with a tasty recipe or two. Her deep love and compassion for animals are evident in her cruelty-free recipes and vegan lifestyle.

 

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