Hello all! Today I am SO excited to bring you this guest post, written by one of my oldest and bestest friends. Due to the nature of her research as an animal rights advocate, she needs to keep her identity offline, and shall henceforth be known as Our Lady Of Bad Assery, aka “O.L.O.B.A.” I have known O.L.O.B.A. for many, many years, since we first bonded waaaay back in the day as a couple of weirdo bohemian creative types who somehow landed in science programs. We came up through community college together, and then University, and on and on. And I can honestly say without hesitation that she is one of the smartest, most amazing women that I have ever known.
SO HERE’S THE THING. I know that guest posts are much less likely to be read, but please just give this one a shot, okay? O.L.O.B.A. is a lady worth listening to, and her story is compelling, and most of all, the information she’s sharing here is valuable. And so, so important.
Okay, so if you *still* want to skip this post, *please* at least read the last few paragraphs about the Cruelty Cutter App, why it’s amazing, and why it would be an awesome addition to your life. And especially the bit about the super empowering “Bite Back” feature that allows every user to become an instant activist!
Also, sharing is caring! If you want to support The Beagle Freedom Project and the Cruelty Cutter App, please share this post on Facebook, Twitter and all your other social media platforms. Let’s get the word out!
Alright, without further ado, may I introduce Our Lady Of Bad Assery:
Hi! I’m writing this piece right now because I believe in something big, and it’s something that requires active participation by people who care. Bonzai and its readers are a community of people who not only care about doing the right thing, but about learning and growing together; it’s really the perfect forum, so thanks for reading and sharing!
I’ve been a committed ethical vegetarian and animal lover since I was 6 years old. Like many of you, I’ve gone through countless transitions and growth spurts (pains) regarding how I want to move through this life and how I can better serve this planet. I’ve worked as an artist to connect with people and share the human experience; I got my PhD in chemistry because I wanted to better understand the way the world works and solve problems that affect us all; and now I work as a researcher for an animal rights advocate group, the Beagle Freedom Project (BFP), because I believe that even the mute deserve a voice.
I always knew that many companies still test on animals, but I really had no idea how extensively . . . I currently spend about 20 hours/week digging, verifying, emailing, leaving voice messages, and having awkward conversations on the phone with corporate reps trying to decode their intentionally ambiguous policies and trying to determine if they test their products on animals.
And here’s the thing: They KNOW that they’re in the wrong. They know that the world perspective is changing and that they’re behind the curve. Israel, India, and the entire European Union have all outright banned cosmetic testing on animals; and the U.S. does NOT require animal testing outside the purview of the FDA. These companies use scare tactics to justify baseless actions; they want us to believe that they’re protecting our children with No More Tears. And many of our favorite seemingly “cruelty-free” companies have now opened markets in countries like China that still mandate animal testing on all imported cosmetics. To further complicate matters, we all know about the “big, bad umbrella corporations”, but HOLY GUACAMOLE… I’ve been seriously shocked to learn how almost everything is owned by such a very few companies. It’s beyond frustrating to discover that some sweet little cruelty-free company with ethics I share is in fact owned by the same parent company that needlessly restrains a shaved rabbit and rubs shampoo in its eyes until they’re satisfied that the same ingredients we’ve tested and used for the past 60 years results in the appropriate amount of bleeding to deem it “safe” for me and my precious hair.
But I digress… This is about my work developing a smart phone App called “Cruelty-Cutter” that provides you with a simple way to tell if a product was tested on animals. This is about you and your voice. This is about an easy way you can further live a Socially Conscious, Totally Fabulous life!!
The Beagle Freedom Project (BFP) is a small nonprofit organization based in Los Angeles that advocates for, rescues, and rehabilitates laboratory animals. There are currently ~65,000 dogs sitting in cages across America for use in testing cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and household products; over 95% of them are beagles, chosen for their loving and docile nature. These animals have been bred solely for this purpose and in many cases, their genes are actually trademarked! Many have never seen the light of day and will simply be discarded when the research is concluded. These animals can’t speak for themselves in more ways than you realize: 80% of our rescues literally have no voice as their vocal chords have been cut to prevent barking and howling in the labs.
Our name suggests we only give beagles a second chance at life after lab, but we actually rescue and advocate for ALL laboratory animals (cats, rabbits, mice, rats, pigs, goats… you name it, we save it!) If you’re feeling depressed reading about these tragedies, check out the heartwarming stories of our recent rescues, and watch this incredible video of our dogs being given names instead of numbers, seeing sunlight, feeling grass on their paws, and running with joy for the first time in their lives! Get Inspired!
We work directly with private and academic labs encouraging them to release their test subjects to us for fostering after “retirement,” instead of the industry standard of euthanasia. It is central to our mission to work within the law to provide alternative homes for these unseen victims of consumerism, and as such, we have written bills to actually change laws at the state level.
Collaborating with lawyers, lobbyists, and congress, we had our first major legislative victory in Minnesota earlier this year with our Beagle Freedom Bill:
“The law is simple – all tax-payer funded labs must offer their dogs and cats up for adoption through animal rescue organizations instead of just summarily killing (as is the standard operating procedure)” – Shannon Keith, President of BFP.
Our California Beagle Freedom Bill will be back on the table in 2015, so stay tuned and get involved!!!
This is truly a TEAM EFFORT.
Ending this level of arcane, cruel, and often ineffectual testing requires a larger voice than just a few animal rights groups. It requires the hard work of conscious consumers. And, unfortunately, it requires a corporate translator: Money! Big corporations that continue to put their bottom line above the safety and health of other living beings don’t speak our language, but they sure do understand the words of our wallets. With this in mind, BFP has developed a groundbreaking App for your smart phone: Cruelty-Cutter. It allows you to scan the barcode of any beauty, personal care, or household product and instantly find out if that company engages in animal testing. You no longer have to try to remember the current status of your favorite toothpaste, you no longer have to lug a veritable phone book of company info with you … You can simply scan and shop! And what’s more, you can “Bite Back”: the Cruelty Cutter App provides you with easy access to company email and social media where you can send a message stating that you will not financially support businesses that engage in such pointless suffering. This is consumer activism at its best!
Okay… Please, PLEASE download the Cruelty-Cutter App for your phone, spread the word, and make ethics an easy part of your routine!
O.L.O.B.A. has a Ph.D. in chemistry but much prefers teaching art, drinking wine, and sitting on porches with friends. She is a passionate animal rights advocate and part-time crazy cat lady. She looks forward to the day when animals no longer suffer for consumer convenience.