Truly Cruelty Free is a term I've been seeing everywhere (it seems) recently. 

Cruelty Free is a term that is generally associated with cosmetics and skincare, and refers to no animal testing having been undertaken in the manufacture of that product (either in the final product, or it's ingredients). Usually a product is certified with an official certifying organisation, such as PETA, Leaping Bunny or Choose Cruelty Free (similar to organic certification), in order back-up this claim. 

Truly Cruelty Free on the other hand, is a term (generally) used by vegans, referring to the fact that they believe no product is actually cruelty free unless it is vegan (contains no animal products whatsoever). And that has me thinking. Veganism has become a popular lifestyle choice in recent years (but the beginnings of it date back as far as the mid 1940's), with a lot of brands and companies catering to the niche across a wide variety of products - from cosmetics and skincare, to fashion and food. Veganism is the practise of excluding all animal products from ones' life (not limited to diet - includes products such as leather and beeswax), and the exploitation of animals in any form. 

This world is made up of diverse people, lifestyles and beliefs. It is what makes it such a fascinating place, and it would be pretty damn beige without it. There is so much diversity, that you are never going to agree with everyone, and that's ok. One of my most favourite quotes, of whom I don't know the author is  - 

You can be the ripest, sweetest, juiciest peach in the world, there is always still going to be someone who doesn't like peaches.

However, I don't think it's ok to attack other people based on your personal beliefs and lifestyle choices. 

I saw a well-known green beauty brand share a casual photo on Instagram of a BBQ over the July 4th weekend, wishing everyone a happy, safe weekend. I was actually quite surprised by the number of comments attacking the brand over this photo, all along the lines of - I thought you were a cruelty free brand, How can you promote the consumption of meat UNFOLLOW,  How is this cruelty free?! etc

The post was very quickly taken down. 

This is not the first (or last) incident I've seen involving the cruelty free/not cruelty free discussion - and it's getting a bit ridiculous. 

When did a brand or company choosing not to test on animals translate to "...oh, and we don't eat meat, either...."? 

I could have understood the outrage were this a vegan brand, or a brand that prominently promoted veganism. But it's not. Many of their products contain beeswax, and some contain Carmine (a colourant derived from beetles). 

To some the consumption of meat is  considered cruel. To others, it is not so.
I won't argue against the fact that most farming practises are cruel - factory farming is nothing less than cruel and disgusting. But that isn't your only option. I'm lucky enough to live in an area where organic, pasture-raised and fed pork, and pasture-raised (truly) free-range eggs are available, and there are many, many other places where free-range or pasture-raised meat of any variety is available. And as far as eco-friendly arguments go - leather, in my opinion, is a more sustainable option that the PVC-based faux leather, but both still require toxic chemicals to produce, and create a vast amount of toxic waste. Leather produced traditionally doesn't involve nor cause toxic waste, but faux-leathers release toxic chemicals - phthalates, BPA and dioxanes into the environment as they break down, making their way into every part of the food chain. 

So, let's get this straight - 

Choosing not to test on animals does not by default mean a brand is vegan/free from animal products. 

There is absolutely no need for cosmetics to be tested on animals. Where animal testing does occur, it is done in the name of "safety". Aside from the absolute cruelty of that process, why in the world are companies using ingredients that have to be tested on non-human subjects for safety anyway? I mean, seriously?

And apart from all that, there are studies proving how useless animal testing actually is  (for cosmetics or drugs) in relation to how they perform/react on human subjects. Have a read of this article if you want more on that subject.

Everything I use, talk about and promote is Cruelty Free
It is not however, vegan (although I do mention if the product/brand is vegan or certified vegan) - because I'm not vegan, and I never will be. I respect that some people have chosen a certain lifestyle (removing all animal products), just as I have chosen a particular lifestyle (avoiding toxic synthetic chemicals). 

Veganism often talks about respect for the planet, animals, themselves. Please remember to respect everyone else, and their personal choices in the process, and do a quick check of your facts before attacking someone over their lunch choices.

Kelsey xx
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