One of the core values behind Honey & Pine Co is the belief that we are all responsible for the ways in which we use and abuse all created and living things. While we don’t believe the living cruelty-free means you have to live a fully vegan lifestyle we do believe that we all have an inherent responsibility to treat animals humanely and be aware of the impact our choices as a consumer have on various industries such as household goods and beauty products. If you want to begin taking steps toward living a cruelty-free lifestyle but you aren’t ready to commit to being fully vegan, this is the guide for you.
Every day we we make choices that determine who we are and what our impact on the world is going to be. Those choices often appear as tiny moments that feel inconsequential such as turning off the water tap while you’re brushing your teeth or flipping off the light switch when you leave a room. Those choices are the consequence of habit and therefore difficult to change. Other choices, such as which household cleaner or skin toner to purchase are conscious choices which makes them much easier to change. If you’re looking to start a cruelty-free lifestyle it’s often easiest to start with where you’re spending your hard-earned dollars.
What does cruelty-free mean?
The cruelty-free label was popularized in the 1970s thanks to the “Fashion with Compassion” campaign. When used for products, the term cruelty-free is an all-encompassing label that means the company does not harm or kill animals during the creation, production, or testing processes. However, over time the cruelty-free label has moved well beyond animal rights and now includes protection of the environment and ecosystem as well.
Why is living cruelty-free an important choice?
Unlike other living things, humans are capable of rational thinking. This comes with a responsibility to consider how we are impacting the natural world and all of the other living things that are a part of it. It is our responsibility to ensure that natural resources are not depleted, animal life is not extinct, and ecosystems are preserved. Every day, animals and our ecosystem are being harmed due to animal testing, the clothing industry, and factory farming.
How to start living cruelty-free
When you’re ready to start taking steps toward living cruelty-free you can start with 4 simple changes:
1. Watch what you eat
It’s not necessary to be vegan or even vegetarian in order to adopt a cruelty-free lifestyle. While many people who choose to live cruelty-free do eventually find themselves going vegan or eating vegetarian it’s not a requirement. Even if you do continue to eat meat and animal products, you can take action against animal cruelty every time you shop and restock. You can make a big difference with little changes such as:
- Only buying free-range eggs
- Opt for nut or oat milk
- Buy organic
- Shop your local’s farmers market
- Add Meatless Monday to your meal planning
When you’re buying caged eggs (most eggs found in grocery stores) you’re buying eggs from hens that were forced to spend their short lives trapped inside cages so small they can’t even stretch their wings. While free-range hens are not always treated perfectly either, they are a much better option than caged eggs.
If you’re looking for the best eggs, you should be shopping at your local farmer’s market. Not only will you get higher quality eggs at a better price but you’ll be able to support your local economy and discuss in person how the hens are treated.
Switching to nut, rice, or oat milk is another easy change you can make that has a big impact on the animal industry. Cows only produce milk when they are lactating after birthing a calf so to ensure there’s enough milk to meet supply demand, dairy cows are impregnated each year then their newborn calves are taken away so their milk can be harvested to restock grocery stores.
As I’ve said, it’s not necessary to go vegan or vegetarian to be cruelty-free but even reducing your meat intake by a little bit can have a big impact. You can start by adding a Meatless Monday to your meal rotation and trying quinoa bowls with vegetables, pasta, or other meat-free dishes. You can also start even smaller by simply reducing your serving size. Try making your meat a side dish rather than the star of your meal. After a while you’ll see huge changes in your meat consumption.
2. Check beauty labels
There are a lot of cruelty-free beauty brands on the market so before you buy another tube of mascara or bottle of shampoo, check to see if it the company tests its products on animals.
Animal testing for beauty products exists because governments need to determine if a product is safe for public health before it goes on the market and is available for sale. In our modern age there are over 7,000 ingredients that have already been proven to be safe, meaning no more necessary testing. There have also been incredible advancements in technology which allow us to replicate human organs on microchips, use in-vitro testing, or use computer models. There is no justifiable reason for animal testing.
3. Clean without cruelty
Household products can be toxic to animals and can have devastating environmental impacts due to toxic runoff, pollution, illegal dumping, and the use of harsh chemicals. When you’re looking for the best mold killers, dish soaps, disinfectants, and other household items check into the brand for their environmental protection or eco-protection policies. Shop the brands that commit to keeping animals and the environment safe.
4. Shop ethically
You don’t have to limit yourself to wearing clothing made exclusively from organic materials to be an ethical shopper but you do need to do a bit of research so you can get familiar with a few favorite brands and their practices. For example, H&M isn’t a fully vegan company but it has taken steps toward protecting the welfare of animals by declining wool sourced from farms and feathers plucked from live and force-fed birds.
Shopping ethically also means looking for cruelty-free fabrics such as cotton or alternative materials such as faux fur and vegan leather. You should also try to avoid purchasing any clothing made from animal coverings such as wool, angora, rabbit hair, cashmere, and mohair.