Today, in the post, I was sent a marketing leaflet by a big brand beauty company, offering me a free beauty bag with goodies if I buy two products or more from them. I love any excuse to buy more makeup and I probably would have been taken in by their marketing scheme if it weren’t for one important detail – they test on animals. Checking which companies do and don’t test on animals is one way I make an effort to live responsibly in this world.
It’s not the only thing I do. I avoid buying cows milk, I refrain from eating meat as much as possible and I aim to buy responsibly farmed fish, to name a few. I’m not writing all this to blow my own trumpet, I’m trying to highlight that just by making little changes to your lifestyle, you can contribute to making the world a better place.
I get so tired of hearing people argue against efforts because one person isn’t going to change anything. Yet, little do they know, there is an ever expanding community of people who are making small adjustments and consequently, things are changing.
Take makeup for example, more and more companies are going cruelty free and refuse to sell in China. When I first started taking note of which brands don’t test on animals, I felt very limited to what I could buy but, with time, my makeup collection is slowly starting to push out the bad and stock up on the good. I still have products which I bought before I started to take notice of the cause and that’s okay – making changes for worthwhile causes doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing thing.
And that’s where I feel people fall short. Particularly those who choose to campaign for Veganism. It’s such a great cause, with benefits both for animal rights and environmental issues, but some involved feel it is appropriate to shame others for their choices and that’s not okay. Likewise, they feel the need to jump straight in at the deep end and push the worst images and videos onto people, causing them to pull away and choose the ignorance-is-bliss attitude instead. It’s not helpful for the cause.
I understand that occasionally the technique works, but I’ve found it is more effective on those who have already found an interest in the cause. If you take a video of a chicken being butchered on a conveyor belt and show it to someone who isn’t remotely interested, you’re just going to annoy them. By going to the extreme, you send people into panic mode and the fight or flight response makes it easier for them to just walk away. Just have a conversation. They’re much more likely to take you seriously.
When I chose to stop eating meat, I didn’t go home to my parents in the holidays and bombard them with shocking images. I cooked for them. I introduced them to new, meat free recipes and during dinner I dropped a few facts into the conversation. Although they still enjoy eating meat, they are more than happy to cut it out whilst I’m visiting which means, even just for a couple of weeks, meat consumption in my household is reduced.
The point of this post is to highlight the importance of any changes you feel you can make which will make a difference, however big or small. No one is perfect and no one should be expected to live life like a saint. I choose cruelty-free makeup brands but I still occasionally buy leather shoes. And that’s okay. It’s all about taking one step at a time.
Char, this is a really good post. I agree with you, whilst I can never see myself personally being vegan or vegetarian, I can see myself buying cruelty free which I try to do as much as possible. I think it is really nice philosophy to celebrate what we are doing well than feeling like a failure because we can’t do it all. I am going to share this post with my sisters because I know they will appreciate it too 🙂
Thanks Lydia! It’s great that you try to buy cruelty free, any purchase which takes away from cruelly produced products is a step in the right direction! Thanks for sharing 🙂
Hi Charlotte – great reading your post. Dad and I have been inspired by your cooking when you stay with us. You have opened up our minds to eating less meat. Trying new recipes meat free and seeing how tasty they are. I have also realised that I can use different ingredients to create a great dish.
Great post Charlotte. I might add that when you were with us and cooking some vegan or vegetarian recipes, they smelled great while you were preparing the dishes and they tasted superb. As you suggest, it is far more powerful to encourage changed lifestyle choices with positive actions rather than to aggressively confront and shame.