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The hardest part about choosing to live cruelty free, and vegan, is navigating around the legalities related to animal testing. In Australia, there are no laws regarding labelling your product in relation to animal testing, it basically comes down to how clever your marketing strategy is.

A company is able to write “not tested on animals” on their products if the finished product is not tested on animals. There are no restrictions regarding specific ingredients. A company is able to test a products individual ingredient, or get a third party to manufacture/provide/test a products individual ingredient on animals. St Ives is able to print ‘not tested on animals’ on their skincare products because the finished product is not tested on animals. Some of the ingredients they use in manufacturing their skincare lines have been produced by a third party and this ingredient has been tested on animals. There is no law stopping them saying ‘not tested on animals.’

This is why it is so important to do your own research and not blindingly trust something just because it is written on the label.

A company is able to write ‘not tested on animals’ on their products if both the finished product and its individual ingredients have not been tested on animals. Kheil’s, Pureology and The Body Shop can maintain their stance on no animal testing, however the parent company that owns them, L’Oreal, does test other company’s products and ingredients on animals.

Sure, your individual bottle of Stella McCartney perfume wasn’t tested on animals. But the money you used to buy it, the investment you made as a consumer, is ultimately benefiting L’Oreal. They are getting the rewards from your purchase.

Is it enough to use products that are cruelty-free but owned by the very corporations who keep animal testing in practice?

New laws have recently passed in China stating that all cosmetics being sold in the country MUST be tested on animals. Brands such as Estee Lauder (Clinique, Aveda, Origins, Bobbi Brown), Revlon, Avon and Benefit are selling their products in China. These products must be tested on animals, even if they are not legally required to test their products on animals in any other global market. PETA and other cruelty-free organisations have now removed these brands from their accredited list of cruelty-free cosmetics.

Are you able to still support these brands knowing that they are supplying the animal testing industry to boost their profits? Even if YOUR specific tube of MAC’s Lady Danger lipstick hasn’t harmed anyone?

Did you know that in Australia, it is ILLEGAL to test a company’s product on animals? Did you know that a company is still legally allowed to employ a third party overseas to still test their product on animals?

Remember that the cosmetics and beauty industry is just that- an industry. A billion-dollar industry. Animal testing is itself an industry. Breeders, transportation companies, laboratories, professional equipment, animal handlers and research staff… The animal testing industry generates millions of dollars of revenue. These industries are powerful. But there are alternatives and they have proven to be successful. And these alternatives do not cause harm to innocent animals who do not deserve to suffer for the sake of our vanity.

It is so important to do your research and make your own informed decisions. Of course, as the internet is unregulated, you need to be able to weigh up what your read and form your own opinions. A good starting point are official resources such as PETA and Leaping Bunny. Read your favourite cruelty-free blogs. Email your favourite companies and ask. Don’t be afraid to question their response.

For me, personally, enough is enough. I will no longer be supporting a company who is owned by a parent company that still tests on animals. I will no longer be supporting a company that sells their cosmetics in China. I choose to put my consumer dollars towards a company that believes animals do not deserve to suffer in order to keep our skin smooth, our lips tinted and our lashes long.

I am choosing specific products from these cruelty-free products that do not contain ANY ingredients that have been derived from animal products. I can no longer be satisfied knowing my lip balm hasn’t been tested on animals and my money hasn’t profited a corporation that supports testing on animals. I need to be sure that my lipbalm hasn’t hurt ANY animal, not even the sheep that the lanolin has been extracted from. Because in a billion dollar industry, procuring an ingredient from an animal to be produced en mass is generally dealt with in terms of efficiency and lowering overheads NOT enforcing kindness to all living creatures. This is why I am now vegan.