For most of my life, I never cared much about beauty and beauty products. I didn’t really like people looking at me, anyway. Even as a child, I could see deep into someone’s psyche via his or her eyes, and glances in my direction often made me uncomfortable.
It was not until my mid-30s that I decided to become “the voice of the animals” in front of a camera. I was advised by someone I highly respect that “people, especially men, will not listen to what you have to say about animals unless you are nice to look at.” I have wondered at times if a higher power graced Wayne Pacelle, CEO of The Humane Society of The United States, with a handsome appearance just for this reason. It was not long after that that on important workdays, I started to pay a little more attention to my nails, my hair, and my clothing.
I am not a vegan. I will admit that I own and wear some leather accessories, eat some dairy products (always from a humane source), and feed my animals raw meat (free range and hormone free). But the thought of testing on animals makes me cringe with internal pain. When I look at an animal or an animal’s photo, and I can see their eyes, all their emotional and physical pain runs through my body, heart, and mind. That is the way my “gift” works. Everything they feel I feel. It is what makes me be able to be so accurate. Pictures of animals that are in laboratories or have once lived in laboratories leave an uncomfortable imprint on my psyche and body for days. I cannot even create words that would give those animals’ suffering justice.
A couple of weeks ago, I was in New York City preparing for my first appearance on a national talk show. I had a seen a Chanel lipstick color that I loved, so I wanted to go and purchase it. I quickly Googled, “Does Chanel test on animals?” and read on Chanel’s website that it does not test on animals. I was good to go. I bought the lipstick.
As the day went on I had a very unsettling feeling about my purchase. For some reason it just didn’t feel right. So I went onto the computer to research. Chanel itself does not test on animals – but Chanel uses ingredients to create its products that have been tested on animals by other companies. So, to my dismay, Chanel is not a humane company! You could let yourself imagine lipstick smeared on bunnies’ lips to see if they get a little rash, or mascara put on rabbits’ long eye lashes to see how long it lasts as the bunnies hop around in large cages with hay and vegetables – but that is not what goes on.
Do we animal lovers choose to remain ignorant and unconscious so that we can enjoy our beauty? We are in a time of awakening consciousness. We have to ask, “What is actually happening to these animals?” These rabbits, rats, and mice (on some websites it looked like cats, dogs, and monkeys are used as well) are suffering immensely as “scientists” force-feed or inject chemicals and poisons into their small bodies. These scientists also drip the chemicals into their small, frightened, aware eyes [in the Draize Test, for example] and rub these chemicals into the animals’ raw skin. They scream and struggle so much that their necks sometimes break from the device that holds them still.
These companies either don’t believe animals suffer or they don’t care. Chanel, Avon, Mary Kay, and Estee Lauder along with many other companies apparently lack compassion, and believe that it is OK to cause suffering. What do we do as consumers?
You must ask yourself: Is your attachment to your beauty products more important then the suffering of these animals? Do you choose to remain unconscious? Are you willing to research to find a company that will help you be beautiful while being kind to animals? I know what it is like to be attached to my products, and to have a hidden desire to close my eyes so that I can enjoy them. But I find that people, myself included, are beginning to wake up and become more compassionate and conscious consumers. It is a personal choice.
I am curious. What do you think I should do with my Chanel lipstick? Should I keep it because it is already paid for? Should I give it away? Throw it away? Send it back with a letter? Return it used? Feel free to email me, at email@example.com, to let me know your thoughts.
For a complete list of cruelty free companies, click here.