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March 05, 2020
Many people associate cruelty-free with the animal rights movement, but there is much more to the concept than avoiding cosmetics tested on animals. Cruelty-free extends to avoiding the exploitation of animals, humans, and the environment.
Our complex reasoning abilities as humans have allowed us to make decisions about how we live and behave towards everyone and everything around us. By endeavouring to follow a cruelty-free lifestyle, we are making the effort to live as compassionately as possible and there are plenty of ways in which we can make ethical decisions to prevent exploitation of those more vulnerable than us.
I’m sure we’ve all seen that YouTube video of the sea turtle with a plastic straw up its nose. Incorporating cruelty-free habits, such as reducing our plastic consumption, can have a big impact on our surroundings. A cruelty-free lifestyle shouldn’t harm others and could also be referred to as living more ethically and sustainably.
Living cruelty-free is not something we can perfect. To simply exist is to consume resources that could be available to others, so by feeding, watering and sheltering ourselves, we leave a footprint. That’s why we’re not passing judgements based on how anyone chooses to live their life, but rather drawing attention to ways we can reduce our footprint.
Changing our habits can be a daunting task, especially as it takes time and effort to break old habits with new more conscious action and turn them into good habits. As long as we endeavour to increase our awareness and continue to learn how to adapt our behaviour to reflect what we believe in, we’re on the right path!
There are many ways in which you can live a more cruelty-free lifestyle, but these don’t have to be huge behavioural changes that drastically alter the way you live your life. Small changes to your habits can have a large impact! From reading vegan news sites and vegan blogs to eating a few vegan meals each week. We’ve gone ahead and listed a few ways in which you can make a difference to the lives of others:
How often do we think about where our cosmetics actually come from and how they were made? One way in which we can live a more ethical lifestyle is to switch to sustainable brands that use plant-based or cruelty-free ingredients and do not conduct animal testing.
What do we mean by cruelty-free ingredients? Well, it’s not just animal testing that causes suffering. There are other ways in which cosmetics can cause harm to animals and the environment.
To demonstrate, let’s talk about the conventional bee industry. Cosmetics are often labelled as cruelty-free because they do not conduct animal testing. However, they can contain ingredients such as honey and beeswax, which cause suffering in numerous ways.
For example, the big industrial companies will use petroleum-based honeycomb for their bees to build their hive on, causing toxins to leak into the beeswax. Additionally, after the bee’s honey is harvested, it is replaced by sugar water, which doesn’t contain the same micronutrients required by the colony to remain healthy and fight disease. What’s more, many conventional beekeepers will take too much honey and beeswax, weakening the bee colonies.
At SunButter, we use candelilla wax instead of beeswax so that vegans can enjoy our plant-based sunscreen. Whilst we still use beeswax in our surf zincs, they are handmade on a small-scale using locally-sourced beeswax from backyard beekeepers. That way, we ensure that the wax is cruelty-free, sustainable and natural.
The evidence for a vegan diet having a positive impact on animals and the environment is overwhelming. However, if you’re not able to cut all animal products out of your diet, then even moving towards a more plant-based, vegan diet could have a positive impact.
According to Nature, choosing a flexitarian diet could help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 52% by 2050! It could also help to encourage more sustainable and cruelty-free farming practices, as there will be less need for intensive agriculture.
Did you know that you can now wear cruelty-free and vegan fabrics made out of pineapples, mushrooms, cork, hemp, bamboo, and many other plants? With so many fantastic options, the need to use animal products, such as leather, wool, and goose down is no longer necessary.
Many of these modern and ethical fabrics are made out of sustainable, plant-based ingredients and have the ability to create employment locally. In addition to using plants, there are other companies that make innovative clothing out of waste materials, such as plastic bottles. Ningaloo Swimwear, Selkie Surf Wear, and Raw X Salt Bikinis all make fantastic swimwear using recycled plastic!
Raw X Salt Bikinis
By wearing vegan clothing and avoiding fast fashion, not only are you preventing the unnecessary suffering of animals for their skin and fur, but you are also reducing waste and promoting a more circular economy.
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