Recently I came across a wonderful lady and her dog Sasha (she actually has 2 dogs but Sasha is the reason for this story) and it demonstrated the perfect reason why I do my level best to buy products that were not tested on animals.
So often we try to push it to the back of our mind and ignore the fact that the product we are buying was perhaps tested on a poor little animal, an animal just like Sasha.
I asked her owner to write a little story for you all in the hope of sharing her story and one very good reason for us to vote with our feet and buy BUAV approved products.
“Alone in a cage. Wire mesh at her feet. A bowl of food and water that nobody cared if she ate or drank out of. She had to relieve herself in that small space too. Drooling out of stress. Shivering constantly in fear. Never felt sunlight on her skin or the cool breeze on her face. Her identity, a number, 8699640, painfully tattooed inside her ear. Bred to be a laboratory beagle.
De-barked to prevent her from making a noise. The only interaction with any other beast (two or four legged) was to receive pain. Needles injecting drugs, needles drawing blood from her veins. Day in and day out for four long years. Never felt the warmth of a human cuddle, not even the comfort of a warm bed to sleep in. Without knowing any life outside of this cage, what did she hope for, what did she dream of? Destined to suffer a lonely existence, destined to die alone.
Until one day, the laboratory decided to release her to an animal welfare organization after the experimentation was done rather than kill her as is the usual practice. A few weeks in quarantine and she was ready to be adopted. I went to the office of the animal welfare organization where she was being kept. Small, tail tucked in between her legs, back hunched over to make herself smaller than she already was, she came towards me, walking in circles. I didn’t reach out to touch her as that would have scared her further. Instead I sat down on the ground, making myself appear smaller. I didn’t even look at her directly, as even that would scare her. She slowly approached me, licked my toes and ran away. She did this a few times, then climbed onto my lap and we both knew that she was finally where she truly belonged. She had taken a huge leap of faith and I was not going to let her down.
She came home the next day and even though her previous identity could never be erased from her ear, she was now going to build her life around a new name – Sasha. The first few weeks were extremely overwhelming for her. Every little sound scared her, including the sound of curtains being drawn. Any sudden movement, like the movement of a hand, even though not intended to harm her, would make her cower close to the ground. But slowly she learnt to trust, she learned to put her faith in humans to take care of her.
She found a best friend in our other dog Calvin. She got used to toys, treats, cuddles, walks and all the other things that dogs should normally take for granted. She still flinches when her paws are touched and tenses when a young man enters her space indoors, but she is a brave brave puppy who is working through her fears everyday.
The very thought of my baby girl suffering in a cage her whole life, made me angry, very angry. I am of the belief that if you are not part of the solution, then you remain a part of the problem. Many life saving pharmaceutical drugs may be hard to avoid because they are tested on animals but what about so many other day to day products that we use that are tested on animals? Shampoo, shower gels, make up, deodorant, household cleaners, artificial sweeteners… do we really need to consume the brands knowing that they have been created by the torture and death of millions of animals?
How many of us are even aware that we begin our day with cruelty with the toothpaste we use? What are the alternatives available? Instead of sustaining the demand for products that are tested on animals based on the glossy advertisements that they show on television, how about creating demand for products that are not tested on animals?
From all these questions, arose my page on Facebook – Speak for Sasha. It is a space to figure out together what cruelty free brands are available in the market. It is a space to be a part of little Sasha’s journey as she finds joy in simple things like a dried leaf. It is a space to collectively give voice to the millions of animals still in tiny metal cages, with chemicals being squirted into their eyes or rubbed into their skin. Every time we pick up a product from a supermarket shelf, we are taking the important decision to keep them there. Now is the time to be aware, to make a change, to bring those animals out of the cages and into a world of sunshine and love.”
“When my human gave me a toy for the first time, I didn’t know what to do with it, there were no toys in the laboratory cage where I used to live. She along with Calvin taught me how to play and now, I can’t have enough of ’em.”
So will you vote with your feet to free animals just like Sasha from a lifetime of pain? Is your lipstick, mascara or dishwasher tablet worth their pain?
My choice is to spend my money elsewhere, with the people who are doing all they can to create their products without the need for mindless torture on little animals, I hope your choice will be similar. It might be a harder road for us in learning which products are cruelty free but there are some wonderful websites out there that can help you such as:
For more information on Sashas story (and more cute photos of her and Calvin) visit her facebook page here.