A few years ago, I was working with a group of ladies and two of them were having a conversation about make up while we were having a tea break. I wasn’t a part of the conversation but I was sitting next to them so was taking in what they were saying.
The ladies were discussing what the best mascara on the market is, and I was perturbed because some of the brands they were declaring as amazing actually test their products on animals.
I flashed back to my Grade Four self when I discovered an article on vivisection while researching a school project. The dictionary definition of vivisection is “the act or practice of performing experiments on living animals, involving cutting into or dissecting the body”. The article I discovered had a picture of a dog with its head clamped in a metal frame forcing it to keep its mouth open so it could be force fed whatever the scientists were testing. The statistics on how many dogs break their neck trying to avoid being put in the clamp was horrifying.
To say I was hysterical to discover that this happened in our world is an understatement!! I cried and cried for hours and simply couldn’t believe that this was being done to innocent animals! It was soon after that incident that I was banned from seeing any newspaper articles, movies or shows that showed any form of animal cruelty because my parents struggled to manage my epic distress each time I witnessed animal cruelty.
So back to the conversation in the tea room… I felt compelled to share with these ladies that several of their favourite brands actually test their products on animals and sell them in countries where animal testing is compulsory.
In my naivety, I assumed they would be grateful for this knowledge, and as a result, make a better and more ethical buying decision and not support, through their purchases, animal cruelty; winning!!
I was quickly shut down and told they “did not want to know about that horrible sort of stuff!”. They asked me why I felt the need to share this sort of information, particularly if they loved these brands! I was told it is “just better if we don’t know, why ruin it?”
Well, hello Wilful Ignorance.
Wilful Ignorance is what the marketing world relies on. It is the VERY conscious turning away from images, thoughts and information that makes us feel less happy about purchasing a particular product, whether that be mascara or chicken breasts.
Without Wilful Ignorance, many of the animal products in our kitchens would never have made it there. The marketing geniuses paint heart-warming pictures of beautiful farms and happy animals and our part in it all is to believe what they say and not ask questions. Factory farming would never happen if each consumer who purchased these products had to spend a day in the life of the animals they consume. If you want to buy chicken that is $5 a kilo, trust me, it has had a pretty shitty life!! There would have been no green grass, no dust bathing and definitely no natural sunlight to warm its feathers.
Last week in Dubai, my beautiful friend showed me this clip and I feel compelled to share it. I believe that as consumers, we are so incredibly powerful. The market place responds to what we want, and if we CONSCIOUSLY choose cruelty free products then more will be supplied to us.
You are more powerful than you think.