Tuesday, May 31, 2005

"A choice between kindness and cruelty"

From this profile of Ingrid Newkirk, founder of PETA:

"The people who get really, really angry, Newkirk responds, are those "who have businesses that test [cosmetics and medical procedures] on animals, that kill animals for food, depend on caging animals for the fur trade. Those people are very anxious to demonize me so that will scare people away from listening to the message," which is that you do have a choice between kindness and cruelty."
That's the theme of her chatty, emotional new book, "Making Kind Choices." There's more sorrow than anger in its 472 pages, which show how the world around us - of food, fashion, cosmetics - is filled with unbearable pain for animals that cannot speak, except through their torment and misery. The book brims with ideas about how to make consumer choices that are friendly to animals and the environment.

12 Comments:

Blogger uma said...

I really think if more people knew about it, they wouldn't, for example, want to use shampoos that have been tested on baby rabbits' eyes. Body Shop cosmetics are one practical alternative. They're produced without testing on animals.

8:13 PM  
Blogger Qais said...

Though I detest this so-called animal rights campaign especially "be vegetarian lecture", I will avoid using such products. I am sure this book will help your cause.

7:03 AM  
Blogger Hurree said...

Gais, I can understand your discomfort: no one wants to be preached to or lectured. But I like PETA because they do provide information that the mainstream media won't carry for various reasons.

I think what Newkirk is saying is that it's important to realise you do have a choice as a consumer: you can end up inadvertently supporting cruelty, or you can choose to buy products made by organisations that have a conscience. It seems to me that this applies across the board to a variety of animal rights and human rights issues.

It's a very small shift to make, but it can make you feel slightly less complicit in the whole chain of cruelty business. Body Shop does a great job; in India there's also Biotique (moderately expensive) and newer brands like Forest Essentials (quite expensive) and Blossom Kochar's aromatherapy range (moderately priced) of cosmetics--none of them test on animals, and it's just as easy to buy them as to buy something that says "dermatologically tested", which to me is a euphemism for "we burned the skin off some poor lab animal so that we could say you're safe".

Thanks for saying you'll avoid using these products. I believe there are many ways in which people can make a difference: you could be an activist, you could work full-time in the animal welfare sector, or you could choose to change a little portion of your life and take it from there. It's the old saw, innit? If everybody made one small change in their lives, it would add up to a pretty big difference overall.

1:47 PM  
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