Toni Brockhoven and Cheryllyn Dudley
Written by National Chairperson Toni Brockhoven
Beauty Without Cruelty, the oldest animal rights organisation in the country, started in South Africa in 1975, and it was fairly simple. Fur, ivory and cosmetic testing was the focus. Forty-four years later, they continue to create awareness and work to end these industries, along with vivisection, trophy hunting, lion farming, animal circuses, animal farming, foie gras, fireworks and much more. School and group education and outreach remain vital, and they’ve presented at Miss Earth annually for some time, along with presentations to other organisations and groups.
They’ve recently successfully persuaded local companies to stop the sale of furniture-saving “cat boots” in South Africa. These are reminiscent of medieval thumb screws, the use of which meant that cats couldn’t even stand, let alone walk, groom or escape danger.
A BWC initiative has seen proceedings instituted to have cosmetic testing banned in South Africa. This is essential so that overseas labs don’t come to SA to set up shop as an increasing number of countries shut down cosmetics testing on animals. Of course, with all the loopholes that will be there, BWC’s assurance to the public that the brands listed have proven their claims will remain essential. There are now over 120 brands listed, and they’re receiving more and more queries as consumers are demanding proof of claims made. There’s more to claims of no animal testing than meets the eye, and companies are required to submit detailed information they’d never offer the public.
The BWC humane guide criteria were set in 1992, long before the internationally accepted “gold standard” was developed, and as time has passed these have morphed into, as far as they know, the most stringent worldwide. Applicant companies may not finance animal-based research, use others’ animal-based data, or use the “required by law” loophole, and every ingredient must be accounted for. The fixed cut-off date ensures no new animal testing is performed on ingredients or final product, which now also needs to be strictly plant-based if a company wishes to be listed. BWC will audit and confirm no animal testing compliance for any applicant company, but only those which now also fulfil the plant-based ingredients requirements will be listed. There is still no cost to company or consumer, ever, for this service.
After several years of waiting, the Beauty Without Cruelty trademarked logo is due to be registered, which will make it easier to tackle those companies attempting to use the logo without having provided proof of their no animal testing claims; a clear indication of the value of Beauty Without Cruelty accreditation for grooming and personal care for men, women and babies, cosmetics and household cleaners.
BWC is also working to halt the trade in lion parts and hunting, proposed elephant riding in the Western Cape, putting an end to fireworks after a decade of work to this end, and they’re hoping that the Performing Animals Protection Act pending public participation will finally result in the end of the use of (wild) animals in the circus. BWC has been actively working towards animal-free circuses since 2009.
BWC was successful in that their suggestions proposed to Bayworld, in Port Elizabeth, regarding an animal-free aquarium have, in theory, been accepted. After public consultation, plans are afoot for a holographic, interactive dome where one can experience dolphins – and much more – without the need to have captive Cetaceans. Bayworld will be a mostly technology-driven, interactive space, which will be educational and entertaining whilst offering conservation tools. At a fraction of the cost, all this would still create jobs, encourage tourism and have plenty left over for vital community development.
Over the years, BWC has initiated several projects that have now been taken up as issues by others and continued, and they’re proud to have helped other groups and organisations find their way. Of course, without public support none of this would be possible, so they remain indebted to the public at large, whose generosity allows them to continue fighting for the benefit of the abused, misused and exploited furred, scaled and feathered beings with whom we share our country.
One way to support Beauty Without Cruelty is through BWC merchandise, available at online store Unicorn Café, www.unicorncafe.co.za, which has a strict environmental ethic. Or donate easily through Snapscan, for safe transactions.
Visit www.humaneguide.co.za for a detailed guide to over 120 proven animal testing-free brands.