Life: Being Vegetarian, Life: Cruelty free, Rabbits

Cruelty free – the first steps

Over the last year, making sure our purchases are as cruelty free as possible has become increasingly important to us.

Barbara Rabbit feeling scared - an argument to go cruelty freeIt makes sense, really. We have three rabbits that we love – they’re our family.

But elsewhere in the world, rabbits aren’t curled up on their comfy Ikea beds, dreaming of the bananas they had last night. They’re in small cages, wondering when they’re going to next be pulled out and have some new cosmetics tested on them. It’s purely luck that Ned, Gingee and Barbara were born into a different life.

Animals are so sensitive. Barbara wasn’t treated very well in her first home. She was nervous when she came to live with us. It took her well over six months to feel comfortable and show her true, bossy personality. Look at her there – hiding behind the bin, just because she was afraid.

The cruelty free situation in the UK

Testing cosmetics and toiletries on animals has been banned in the UK for a long time. Since 2013, cosmetics that have been tested on animals may not be sold anywhere in the EU. That’s pretty awesome.

I knew all of that and kind of thought I didn’t have to worry about cruelty free products. But that’s not quite true.

In China, companies must test their cosmetics on animals. That means that if a company sells their products in China, they are paying to hurt animals. And by purchasing products from those companies, that means I’m paying to support this, even if my particular bottle of shampoo hasn’t been squirted into a bunny’s eye.

Some companies may also test cleaning products or other chemicals on animals. There isn’t an outright ban on this in the UK.

My first steps to going cruelty free

It’s tempting to go through all your cosmetics and toiletries and throw out anything that doesn’t have big obvious text saying “Not tested on animals!” But don’t. You’ve already purchased those, your money has already gone to those companies. I felt like finishing the shampoo, but doing it thoughtfully, was more respectful to the animals that had suffered, rather than throwing it out and disregarding what they’d been through.

So I didn’t do anything immediately. It sounds counter-intuitive, doesn’t it?

I did some reading instead. We wanted to plan for the next time we needed toiletries, cosmetics or cleaning products. I needed to do a fair amount of research on this, as I have very sensitive skin. I don’t want to end up with a whole range of wonderfully cruelty free products that end up harming me! The goal is for no one to have to go through discomfort!

A really easy way of seeing if a product is cruelty free is to look for the leaping bunny.

Fortunately, it turned out that a lot of my current products were already cruelty free. Fabulous! Here are some of the brands I was already using:


  • The Body Shop
  • Burt’s Bees (however, there is some controversy over this)
  • Marks & Spencer’s own brands
  • Molton Brown
  • Superdrug’s own brand


  • Barry M
  • The Body Shop
  • China Glaze
  • Ciaté
  • ModelsOwn
  • Stila
  • Too Faced

Household cleaning products

  • Method
  • Sainsbury’s own brand

Note: not all of these products are entirely vegan, but they haven’t been tested on animals at all. Some of these brands are owned by parent companies that test on animals, as well. That’s something I need to look into further.

For now, though, I’m mostly buying new products from Superdrug’s own brand (bath creme, for example), The Body Shop,

I’m working on putting together a more comprehensive list of cruelty free products, including ones I want to try, so watch this space!

Gingee the rabbit in a hat
Gingee says: “You can look fabulous without hurting animals!”

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