The two words have become recurring in recent times without their actual meaning known. Many cosmetics and other household products have labelled themselves as vegan and some others say they are cruelty-free. What do they actually indicate?
Well, vegan is a term used to refer to products or consumables that do not have animals or animal products in them. The vegan diet is a well-known diet that people from all over the world support due to various ethical reasons and the health benefits it gives the human body. It is an extension of the vegetarianism where people don’t consume animals with the addition of dairy and eggs because they are received by tormenting animals for mass production. This became popular in recent times after people started realizing the amount of torture an animal undergoes to fulfil our requirements, that eventually changed from need to greed.
Animal lovers started extending their concern further by making sure that this applies to the commodities that they use on a daily basis, which includes, cosmetics, personal care, and cleaning agents. They make sure, all the ingredients that go into the making of the products are vegan.
Then came another group of people who were against the testing of products on animals because they were physically abused and killed on the process of delivering satisfying products to the customers. One major area where this practice is commonly followed is the cosmetic industry, where a product is tested on the animals in every stage of manufacture.
Testing the products on animals is done in various methods. The animals are made to inhale or eat the raw ingredients and chemicals initially and they wait for the reactions to occur. Then after the process of manufacturing begins, they are applied on the bare skin (the hairs are shaved off) of animals such as rats, mice and rabbits. They are kept under observation and monitored from time to time to see if the product has caused some changes or allergic reactions to their skin. Then after the period of observation, the poor little creatures are cut open to test the condition of the internal organs.
Very often the animals are tested for a longer duration of time, with carcinogenic ingredients that are a part of the product just to ensure that the combination does not cause any harmful effect on human skin. These animals are put to suffering for years together. In some other cases, pregnant animals are also put to test and then cut open to examine the foetus inside.
And just like the support veganism gained, people were against cruelty and animal testing as well. This paved way for a few recognised certifications given by organisations across the globe which includes leaping bunny, beauty without bunnies and PETA. Despite being unethical there are some countries like China that has made animal testing mandatory for any product to be sold in their market. And there are some brands that claim to be cruelty-free unless asked by the country. But still, personally, I feel it’s all the same because where ever in the world you test it, it’s an animal dying by the end of the day for our benefit and for big brands to make money. And since China is a huge market, many sought to such activities.
Then next we have this category of cosmetics which most beauty bloggers and organisations are promoting. It is the vegan and cruelty-free kind. This has neither been tested on animals not includes animal and animal products. And many consumers have started purchasing cosmetics with a cruelty-free and vegan mark on the labels, which I feel is a good sign. So next time, when you are out shopping make sure to look out for a bunny with a pink heart on in that says V.