Violence in Your Cupboard


I recently walked into Hannah’s kitchen and found her wiping the counters with Clorox wipes.  “Hannah, those things stink, why are you using them?” 


“Don’t you know?” she said, “There are germs everywhere. I never use cloth anymore.”  I asked her where she had learned about these killer germs.  Apparently the commercial for the Clorox wipes showed her that there were unseen germs everywhere. She told me, “If you would get a television, you would know all about it.” 


You might laugh at Hannah, but what is in your own bathroom and kitchen cabinets that is not only unnecessary, but harmful to your own health, other species and the environment? 


Natural food stores have gone from having a few choices in their health and beauty and household product sections to having aisles of cruelty-free and organic products to choose from. 


Why Cruelty-Free?


Every year, millions of rats, mice, guinea pigs, rabbits, cats, dogs and other animals are forced to swallow or inhale massive quantities of substances ranging from perfume to drain cleaner or endure the pain of a chemical eating away at their sensitive eyes and skin. The results of animal tests vary greatly, even within species and are unreliable when applied to humans.


No law requires that cosmetics and household products be tested on animals, but any product that makes “germ killing” or “antibacterial” claims on their label is regulated as pesticides by the EPA.  These must by law, undergo dozens of separate animal tests before they can be marketed. The FDA has similar testing requirements for drugs as well as chemicals that are used as additives or preservatives in processed foods.


Many companies continue testing products on other species as legal security in the event of a lawsuit.  Over 50% of over the counter medicines are recalled yearly due to symptoms not revealed by non-human animal tests.  (A rabbit has no way to tell the researchers that they are experiencing dizziness, headaches, numbness of limbs, loss of memory, etc.)


Hundreds of companies have stopped all animal testing and begun taking advantage of more accurate non-violent test methods currently available, which range from cell and tissue cultures to computerized “structure-activity relationship” models. 


Caring consumers who boycott animal-tested products play a vital role in pushing companies and government agencies to adopt more relevant and humane non-animal test methods. Spurred by public outrage, the European Union has voted to outlaw cosmetics testing on animals as well as the sale of animal-tested cosmetics by 2013.


A growing number of companies are choosing to use more natural, less harmful ingredients in their products.


There is one reason to not support cruelty-free products: You don’t need many of them!  Even cruelty-free products use resources for both the product packaging.  Try making your own homemade household products from simple healthy ingredients you can often find in bulk.



-Since many companies claim to be cruelty-free, but actually test through contracts with separate labs, it is best to use one of the widely available no-cost cruelty-free guides: