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For years Merino sheep in Australia have undergone the horrific act of “mulesing” - a procedure whereby the skin around the tail of a sheep is removed without anaesthesia. This is done to reduce “flystrike” whereby flies feed on the sheeps’ tissue in this area. After a long time working to put a stop to this, recently some positive steps have been taken as PETA pressed this home, and Swedish current affairs program Kalla Fakta (Cold Facts) exposed this practice and sought to stop Swedish clothing companies from buying wool from such animals. High street chain H&M is one such store that has boycotted Australian wool.

The program will now be aired in other European countries and the subject has even reached the European Commission where it will be discussed. Sweden’s Minister of Agriculture wants to impose a European-wide ban on importing of Australian wool. 19 clothing companies in Sweden now also support this boycott.

Being vegetarian, I wouldn’t dream of eating meat, and don’t wear leather, but we need to think further about the consumer choices we make, and the facts behind them. A lamb which is mulesed undergoes pain with no painkillers, and no anaesthetic to pay for our cheaper clothes. This is unacceptable and should and must be stopped. Australian wool is not “green consumption”. This practice has been phased out in New Zealand, so the fact is that there is a solution. It may cost more, but what price can be placed on pain to an animal which doesn’t deserve it, or the richest countries in the world saving a few dollars on another sweater? 

Cosmetic companies still test on animals - something I cannot believe still happens today. Animals feel pain just as much as we do, and without choice are caged and tested on resulting in some horrendous results. How can we let this happen? How can we stop it?

Firstly, make sure that you are buying a product which clearly states “not tested on animals”. Soap, for example, can be tested on rabbits. Now this doesn’t sound too bad, until we understand what happens. Rabbits don’t have tear ducts. The soap gets into their eyes and there are no tears to wash it away. We all know the burning sensation of getting soap into our eyes. On rabbits the soap will eat away at the eyeball, and rabbits can struggle so much against this that they break their necks and kill themselves.

The European Union is planning to phase out animal testing by 2009. L’Oreal had pushed to have this ruling quashed. This is the world’s largest cosmetics company. Just because some companies don’t test on animals, it doesn’t mean that their products aren’t tested. Synthetic ingredients can be used, as well as human volunteers in clinical trials. The Body Shop are pioneer of this, having epoused their philosophy on not testing on animals years before it became a debated topic. Strangely The Body Shop chain was acquired by L’Oreal. This means that profits from the sale of The Body Shop products will go to parent company L’Oreal… very strange.

We all have the power to make the change. If we refused to become consumers of the companies who do test on animals they would be forced to sit up and make the change. Clairol, Johnson and Johnson, Cover Girl and Unilever Rexona (as mentioned in a previous entry) all continue to test on animals. Let’s support those who don’t!

Clarins, Dermalogica, Decleor, M.A.C, and Jurlique don’t test on animals, and are among the leading cosmetics brands in the world. This should say that animal testing is NOT necessary.

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