Lets’s say you come across a couple protesters in the street. They yell in your face about the horrors scientists perform on animals everyday in order for people to get involved in their movement. They show you graphic images of innocent and abused animals. It strikes something in your heart but you are too afraid to get involved. In-your-face protesting is one way to get people involved but how about people that tend to stay behind the scenes?
The goal of our project was to give people information on how to be cruelty free, and how to be aware of products and companies that support animal testing. Most people know animals are used for medical testing, but the word we wanted to spread is about animal testing on cosmetics and household products. We figured that if people have the information they could at least make a conscious decision on whether to support animal testing. Rather than exposing only companies that do test and showing the tests that they do, we wanted to somewhat advertise the companies that are cruelty free, vegan, and Leaping Bunny certified using family-friendly images. This abled us to reach out to people of various ages and backgrounds.
Social media is one of the best ways to get information out into the greater population so we chose instagram. Instagram is a perfect place to share pictures while still being able to describe the picture or place information to go along with the picture. We started out pretty rocky, but we eventually figured out a good way to gather some attention to our Instagram account @be.cruelty.free: COOKIES. We decided to give out free cookies to people who would follow us. This gave us the opportunity to start a conversation while not being in people’s faces all the time. Just sometimes. And maybe subconsciously, as well.
It may have worked better if we had more cookies or went to the Commons a bit earlier, but some followers is better than no followers. The people we spoke with were genuinely interested in the topic of animals testing so it was nice to know the word got out and people wanted to know about it. They were more interested with having alternative products and companies which is one of the main things we post about.
In order to provide the information we had to know it ourselves. We found that a lot of companies made it difficult to find whether or not their products were tested on animals. Some companies have bunny logos that don’t look like the certified logos but they don’t explicitly say that they don’t test on animals. By law, companies are required to say what is in their product and they aren’t allowed to omit information but they can still be misleading. We used Cruelty Free International and PETA, as our main sources on cruelty free products. Along with these companies, we found the app “GoodGuide,” which allows you to search for products based on ingredients, certification, and what it’s used for. Some of their categories include, pet food, makeup, food, and household products.
We did not realize at first that creating an Instagram for the sake of informing people was in itself a form of activism and that it was so easy. One does not need to be a radical to be an activist. Activism could simply mean changing perspective with a picture.
For more information on animal testing and cruelty-free alternatives visit:
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By: Tuira Van de Graaff & Diva Parekh