Defending the Kingdom | Issue 22

Defending the Kingdom | Issue 22

Navigating the aisles

There is no doubt that being a conscious consumer is a tough task these days. Animal testing is a problem that often slips our mind when reaching for items on the shelf. We “like” and “share” posts on Facebook showing cute bunnies and beagles, disgusted that harm is inflicted upon them, yet each morning we absent-mindedly reach for our faithful bottle of Herbal Essences and disregard our former disdain for the practices that brought the bottle to our bathrooms. However, most people don’t buy these products because of a lack of moral compass, but rather a lack of education. It’s not our fault. Companies aren’t required to inform consumers about the torturous trials that helped them create their products, so the average shopper has no idea.

So, how do we know if our purchases are ethical? An innocent Google search is not enough; it only adds to the dilemma, producing a labyrinth of conflicting information. Companies evade the spotlight with statements such as “The Group no longer tests on animals, anywhere in the world, and does not delegate this task to others” (from the L’Oréal website). That sounds great, doesn’t it? However, there is an inevitable catch. Further reading uncovers that “an exception could be made if regulatory authorities required it for safety or regulatory purposes,” which basically renders the previous statement moot. It is required by law that companies who wish to sell cosmetics in certain countries must first test them on animals, meaning that any company who places their products on these markets is involved in animal testing.

Fortunately, there are companies who advertise that they do not test on animals, and there is the Leaping Bunny Programme that endorses companies that do not animal test on any phase of the product. Products that are endorsed by the programme display a logo depicting a leaping bunny and also are listed on their shopping page ( There is even an app, called Cruelty-Free, available on both Android and iPhone that provides a full and comprehensive list of all cruelty-free cosmetic companies that are endorsed by the Leaping Bunny Programme.

Furthermore, both the Green and Labour parties have adopted policy that will formally prohibit the sale of cosmetics that have been tested on animals as well as prohibiting the import of such products. Internet MANA opposes animal testing but have not yet completed their policy on the issue. It is important that we, as conscious young New Zealanders, decide to take appropriate action for the safety and welfare of animals. A party vote for one of these parties could result in the termination of animal testing in this country and would set a perfect example for global change. It is up to us to make a demonstrable effort to prioritise the safety and wellbeing of animals over beauty.
This article first appeared in Issue 22, 2014.
Posted 11:52pm Sunday 7th September 2014 by Sarah McGaughran.