This is a very controversial topic. And maybe I’m biased because the prevention of cosmetic animal testing is something which is very close to my heart. And it’s one of the few things that I really cannot justify, no matter which way I think about it. I don’t want to tell people what opinions to have and as such this post is merely my thoughts on the campaign and the matter in hand. I must also apologise in advance that I’m not very good at articulating what I’m trying to say so if it gets waffley, I’m very sorry.
First and foremost, here is a little video explaining what happened:
In essence, a young lady volunteered to act out the role of an animal in an animal testing laboratory in the front window of Lush in Regent Street, London.
And here is my personal stance. So you know right off the bat, I am backing this campaign to the hilt. My main argument against cosmetic animal testing is that the animals subjected to the testing live a cold, unhappy, unloved and trapped life. There is absolutely no way in my mind that someone could justify cosmetic animal testing to me. It’s just not necessary – we do not need cosmetics to stay alive. Not to mention the fact that many tests return inaccurate or inconclusive results, and the simple fact that cats, dogs, rabbits, monkeys and other animals are a DIFFERENT SPECIES to humans. Oh and the fact that it is now physically possible to create ‘skin’ to be tested on. Oh and the fact that companies hide away information on ingredients from other companies which leads other companies to repeat tests over and over and over, all unnecessarily. Oh and the fact that companies like Urban Decay, Marks and Spencer, Beauty Without Cruelty, Superdrug, Burts Bees (to mention a few) consistently produce products of fantastic quality while being totally cruelty-free.
Even if you aren’t an animal-person, I really can’t understand why anyone could condone the harm of animals for cosmetic purposes. As somebody correctly pointed out (sorry I can’t remember who or where – I’ve read so much on this the last couple of days!) – if this was a case of animal abuse, where an owner had harmed their animal in any way shape or form, people would swoop upon the owner with hatred and displeasure. So why does the same not apply for these poor animals who are abused day in, day out in laboratories with none of their natural habitat or needs?
Okay so, enough of my stance on cosmetic animal testing – I could go on forever.
This campaign has caused debate among people for several reasons – here are some of the arguments:
- We should have a right to control the things we view (i.e. the campaign was too shocking for some).
- Our children should not have to see this type of campaign as they may find it disturbing.
- The campaign was just a publicity stunt for Lush.
- The campaign utilised the appeal of ‘torture porn’.
- The campaign is degrading to women.
- The campaign is insensitive to rape/abuse victims.
- The campaign is irrelevant because cosmetic animal testing is banned in the EU.
Now my opinion on the arguments against the campaign. I want to first say how sad it makes me that people can’t accept the campaign for what it is – a positive campaign to help out voiceless animals who are being harmed. What is it about we Brits that makes us want to criticise and pick holes in pretty much everything? I agree it’s a good thing and that difference of opinion is such a good thing, but I really think it’s a shame that so many people have taken something so positive and turned it into something hideous and ugly. I also want to say that this is just how I feel, part of me wishes I could influence people as I feel so strongly about this issue but it’s definitely not my intention to do so.
1. We should have a right to control the things we view (i.e. the campaign was too shocking for some).
Okay – humour me. Search for animal testing videos on YouTube, watch them and then tell me that this mock-up, fake representation of cosmetic animal testing was too shocking for the streets of Britain. And then tell me that you’ve never watched a horror or a gory film. How does this compare? Where the lady in question was not actually physically harmed? And as for controlling the things we view – for those of us who don’t walk past Lush in Regent Street every day, it’s quite easy to have missed this campaign altogether. In fact, I think if I wasn’t part of the blogging world, it probably would have passed me right by. So if you click on an article, see it in a newspaper, see it in a blogpost, and don’t like it? You chose to read it. And for those of us who do walk past Lush in Regent Street every day, it’s quite easy to keep walking, isn’t it?
2. Our children should not have to see this type of campaign as they may find it disturbing.
Okay, this one I partly agree with, but again, how many children are likely to be walking past Lush in Regent Street in the middle of the day on a Tuesday? And to those who are, I do agree it could be disturbing to a young child who may not yet have learned the transferring of situations. So yes, it is a sad shame if children did see this, but realistically I think Lush were pretty child-friendly in that it was during school-hours and not on a holiday, nor on a weekend. Give them some credit. Again in terms of seeing things on the internet – maybe you should consider monitoring your children’s internet activities. I do think that children should be made aware of the cruelty that is cosmetic animal testing, but perhaps not in this way.
3. The campaign was just a publicity stunt for Lush.
Well even if it was – it wouldn’t bother me. Lush is cruelty-free so I will always support them and that’s great if they get extra custom. Although, to those of us who’ve never probed deeper, Lush actually have a little habit of campaigning for the greater good. Maybe, just maybe, we could open up our squinty little critical eyes and see the campaign for what it is – it raises awareness, if nothing else.
4. The campaign utilised the appeal of ‘torture porn’.
Oh wow, whoever came up with this one is really looking to pick holes. I would be very interested to know why precisely Lush might use the appeal of torture porn? I can see that some might misconceive the forcep-type restraints placed in the lady’s mouth… but for gawds sake, it was a representation of what happens to animals every day. If you are one of the people arguing this point maybe you should delve into the world of animal testing – this photo of a rat having it’s mouth forced open for testing could be your starting point (not for the squeamish!) and realise that actually, sadly, it was a more accurate representation than you might think.
5. The campaign is degrading to women.
Okay – people are saying that using a woman to represent the animal equates women to animals. And that the fact that the ‘administrator’ was a man adds to this theory. Personally, I’m not going to entertain this idea. I don’t mind people having their opinions about this kind of thing but some seem so fixated on women being seen as the weaker sex – stop whinging about it and prove your worth as a woman. I have never been the victim of sexism so perhaps that makes me biased – I’d prefer to get on with my life and do the things men can do two times better 😉 But seriously, I certainly don’t think that was the object of the campaign, not least because Lush have campaigned over human rights in the past and I really really don’t think that they aimed to degrade women. Besides which, this lady volunteered herself… she could well have been a man (how would this have influenced your argument?), and she wore a nude suit presumably to erase gender from the debate.
6. The campaign is insensitive to rape/abuse victims.
Maybe it is. I really don’t know how to tackle this one, I have strong feelings in both directions, so I just have to hope that nobody was upset by this. My argument in favour of the campaign is that sexuality just didn’t enter into it, I think a lot of the argument is pinned on the fact that the lady’s mouth was forced open, but the administrator did not at any point sexually abuse or dominate her. Of course I understand why victims may be upset by the display, which is why I have conflicting feelings.
7. The campaign is irrelevant because cosmetic animal testing is banned in the EU.
Two words – WAKE UP. I get frustrated at people who aren’t willing to delve deeper and just accept the surface lies. So animal testing doesn’t happen in the EU (already debateable…) – this doesn’t stop companies from using ingredients that have been tested on animals in other countries. This doesn’t stop companies from commissioning other companies to test on their behalf in other countries. We also seem to have forgotten the very huge US – how many of us buy US branded products in our own UK shops? And remember how MAC have very recently changed their animal testing policy (they now test on animals) so that they can sell products in China, where animal testing is a legal requirement? And what about the waterproof makeup products that are required by the FDA to be tested on animals? I will say no more. I think this one speaks for itself.
To conclude… I feel that so many years have passed with very passive activism going on against animal testing. How far has that got us… how many of us continue to buy products without even a thought of whether animals were affected by the making of it? Give me shock treatment every day of my life, it speaks to me and makes me think twice about the things I do and the consequence they have. To my eyes, visualising the reality on a human being is the best way to target those of us who blind ourselves to the facts. Because it tugs on our heartstrings and we can relate to the pain that a human being feels.
Now think of this: these animals feel only pain, cannot understand why this is happening to them, have never done anything to deserve the life they are leading, all they want is love, affection, excitement and comfort. Aren’t these all things we can relate to? When you snuggle up with your most beloved pet, could you ever even fathom the thought of them being trapped with wires attached to them, food and chemicals forced into them, skin abraded and irritated with chemicals, eyes streaming with yet more chemicals?
I read a wonderful post on the matter, one which I wholeheartedly agree with, on Karrisx’s blog: Lush Animal Testing Campaign.
If you still aren’t convinced, I again strongly recommend that you search YouTube for the many videos on animal testing (I absolutely bloody cried my eyes out).
Please please let me know your thoughts on this. I really do also appreciate that everyone has different views and I will never flame someone for having opposing opinions, as I have seen certain other bloggers do via social media.