The real cost of beauty

Animal abuse and exploitation in the world of cosmetics


Image courtesy of PETA via Creative Commons

Mia Maclean, Author

As more and more people share the trend of going vegan, many cosmetic companies are as well. However, some companies continue to exploit animals for their products. Animals like minks, rabbits, mice, and rats are raised in labs and farms solely for the purpose of being tested, skinned, or slaughtered. While the majority of female students at Battlefield High School wear makeup, a lot of them do not know exactly what their favorite brands do to put out the cosmetics they use everyday. 

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the largest animal rights program in the world, constantly pushes to stop the abuse of animals. An article found on exposes companies that pay for animal testing in China. The article lists companies like, “Estee Lauder, Clinique, Nars, Meybelline, Benefit,” and others, while giving a cruelty-free alternative of popular products from these companies. Volunteers from PETA consistently check on brands that are violating animals, but their research can only reach the few students who already understand the importance of animal rights. 

Sophomore Ryan Ferreira is one of the students at Battlefield who uses the brand Benefit, but was not informed of their procedures. “I thought they were cruelty free,” Ferreira said. Ferreira also says she would consider switching to a completely cruelty free brand in the future. 

Eyelash extensions are also a large problem in the animal rights world. Many extensions use mink fur for the wisps of lashes. These minks are bred and raised in fur farms, and a post on Instagram from PETA informs people of the horrors. The video in the post shows the cramped living spaces, and how the minks are skinned for their fur.  

Avery Collyer, also a sophomore, is happy to share that she knew some of what her favorite brand, Tarte, advertises. “I knew they were cruelty free but I didn’t know they were 100% vegan,” Collyer said. Collyer says that knowing they were vegan makes her want to support them even more. 

Collyer also said she has “thought about getting eyelash extensions,” but she doesn’t think she ever will. Collyer is a concerned student and will definitely be looking for certified cosmetics brands. 

Also, in the United States of America, there is no federal law to tell consumers that a brand is cruelty free, which means any brand can say they are cruelty free, even if they are not. Ryan Ferreira, Benefit user was surprised to hear that. She will be visiting PETA’s list of brands that are cruelty free and vegan for her next shopping spree.