I selected this post to be featured on Vegan Blogs. Please visit the site and vote for my blog!
Today on my Facebook feed, I was sent a link to one of my favorite videos that had made its way to a site called GodVine, which devotes itself to videos with a Christian theme. The video that shows the rescue of several beagles in Spain that were being used for animal testing. As I've mentioned before, I'm not of any particular religious denomination, though I lean towards Unitarianism and its non-dogmatic belief in the good in all people and in doing good in the world. It's a kind of religious free-for-all that my atheist Gramma was gung-ho about. (She on more than one occasion proudly pronounced that there was no God and that when you "dropped dead" that was it. Yet she loved hymns. Gotta love that.)
Anywho, I'm already zooming way off topic.
So I don't scout out Godvine, but occasionally a link will bring me there to some uplifting video. So I was not surprised that this video found its way to the site. Here is is below. (Very sweet -- not graphic at all.)
What really struck me though were the comments below the video. (I will say in GodVine's defense that their comments section is the only one I've come across where people had only positive things to say. It amazes me at times how vicious people can get on comment sections, saying things I would hope a person would never say to another face-to-face.) But what I found fascinating and troubling were the prayers to Jesus to stop such cruelty or the demands to arrest the people who had tested on the animals. Many people even seemed to think animal testing did not happen in our country.
But I did not see one comment that indicated that a person had reconsidered his or her using products that tested on animals.
That nobody saw the link between what we choose to spend our money on and what happens to these animals in laboratories was very troubling. It's great that people wanted to pray to God, if that's something that helps them in their spiritual growth. But what about making different (and super simple!) choices to effect change? And then spreading the word about companies that don't test to send the monetary message: We only spend our money on products that don't hurt anybody!
Would making changes be inconvenient? They might temporarily be a little work, finding products to replace our long-used favorites. It might possibly be more expensive. But to me it's worth it. (And I'll get more into how to do that further down.)
If experimentation on rabbits, mice, pigs, and monkeys doesn't bother you, experimentation on cats and dogs might. Stray/lost animals that are brought to shelters can be bought for animal experimentation: it's called "pound seizure." (Click here to see if pound seizure is legal in your state. You might be surprised.) In other words, your shampoo, soap, nailpolish, dishwashing liquid, or hair gel may be tested on people's lost pets, who want nothing more than to go home.
I'd love to think that prayer, wishes, or bemoaning the cruelty of animal testers will stop this, but I don't believe it will. We have to actually change things in our own lives to stop it. I think we sell ourselves short on what a difference one person can make.
Here's a great short video on making a difference by Colleen Patrick Goudreau.
I always loved the Dr. Seuss's book The Lorax. You may already be familiar with this wonderful story, which is narrated by the "Once-ler" who tells the tale of how greed and thoughtlessness destroyed a fictional land but leaves the reader with a seed and the powerful word "unless." The best quote, that I'm sure many will recognize, tells us,
"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
nothing is going to get better.
The Lorax: I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees. I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues. And I'm asking you sir, at the top of my lungs - that thing! That horrible thing that I see! What's that thing you've made out of my truffula tree?
The Once-ler: Look, Lorax, calm down. There's no cause for alarm. I chopped just one tree, I'm doing no harm. This thing is most useful! This thing is a "thneed." A theed, a fine something-that-all-people-need! It's a shirt. It's a sock. It's a glove! It's a hat! But it has other uses, yes, far beyond that. You can use it for carpets, for pillows, for sheets, for curtains! Or covers for bicycle seats!
The Lorax: Sir, you're crazy. You're crazy with greed. There's no one on earth who will buy that fool thneed!
[ a man drives by, buys the thneed and pays the Once-ler]
The Once-ler: The birth of an industry, you poor, stupid guy! You're telling me what the public will buy?
Hmm... Sound familiar?
Of course, by the end of the book, the Once-ler comes to deeply regret his decisions and implores a young boy to spread the news of what once was. (Much in the way Richard Harris's King Arthur told the tale of Camelot to a young boy at the end of the movie.... Oh heck. I can't resist. Here's the ending of Camelot.)
Much to my delight, I saw that The Lorax is going to be a movie this spring! (Starring Danny DeVito, Taylor Swift, Ed Helms, Betty White, and Zac Efron.) Here is the trailer:
So where does this leave us?
Don't be a person who wishes for change or just shakes their head sadly. Be someone who does something. Something simple! Just pick one product to replace (in a babysteps kind of way). Once you've found one, try another. It might make a great New Year's Resolution: replacing one product per week/month!
Here is a great link to PETA where you can get a Cruelty-Free Shopping Guide. As well, there is a search engine, where you can search for cruelty-free products. There's even a Be Nice to Bunnies Phone App that allows you to quickly find out if a product tests on animals or not.
Many of these products can be found at Whole Foods or online at Vegan Essentials. Whole Foods is phenomenal at taking returns if the product you buy isn't the right fit. I've returned many products there and they never question it. If you don't have a receipt, they will give you store credit.
So make a change for the Lorax. And the beagles. Because unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.
P.S. What are you favorite animal-friendly products?
PPS. A great place to adopt pets that were used in laboratory research is the Kindness Ranch.