Lush’s reminder that inhumane acts don’t just happen to humans

Having been on a rather female-centric inequality roll of blog posts, I stumbled across this display of increasing awareness from 2012 concentrating on equality and fairness to animals. I think with so much wrongdoing and inequality in the world (for people) we often forget about animals. 
You may remember Lush’s public display of the sorts of things that happen to animals in labs. If not, have a look and you might end with a different opinion of cosmetic testing… 

‘CLEAN’ cosmetic brand Lush is known for their ethos of green, fair and ethically correct products, for which they create products from ingredients sourced worldwide. Advocates for cruelty- free cosmetic product creation, they have taken a loud and clear stand in order to get people talking about the welfare (or abuse of) of animals unfairly trapped in the manufacturing and testing labs.

Shocking, emotive and distressing, university student Jacqueline Traide, 24, stepped up to take part in a first of its kind protest against cosmetic testing on animals. Trapped in the window of the Lush flagship store in Regent Street, London, the performance artist was subjected to ten hours of painful, but educating, tests, procedures and examples of what animals experience in such cosmetic testing laboratories.

IMAGE: Mark Large, The Daily Mail

IMAGE: Mark Large, The Daily Mail

IMAGE: Mark Large, The Daily Mail

IMAGE: Mark Large, The Daily Mail

Mouth clamped open and led by a rope collar, Traide’s body was dressed to symbolise a sex-less, and helpless, vulnerable being; neither male or female. What followed was hours of relentless force-feeding, eye irritant tests, injections (of saline solution), hair shaving, all whilst attached to wires symbolising electrodes.

The Lush campaign is aimed at drawing attention to the problem of cosmetic testing on animals, and aim to head up a Humane Society International campaign. Passers-by were reported to be shocked and in awe of what Traide was putting herself through; perhaps disgusted at the level of realism in the recreation.

IMAGE: Mark Large, The Daily Mail

IMAGE: Mark Large, The Daily Mail

Newspapers have commented on the ‘stunt’, although most have responded with positivity and a new found respect and opinions on the lab testing. Some people, however, have responded with comments relating to the objectification of women and that this demonstration reinforces male dominance over female subjects.

IMAGE: Mark Large, The Daily Mail

IMAGE: Mark Large, The Daily Mail

IMAGE: Mark Large, The Daily Mail

IMAGE: Mark Large, The Daily Mail

I must disagree with this, as Lush were reported to have chosen Traide’s costume specifically to detach her from any gender-relating details in an attempt to concentrate on the purpose of the demonstration.
They told The Guardian that although they made a conscious decision to choose a female for this role, this was not related to any gender-shaming sexist reason. In order to communicate the idea of vulnerability and helplessness, they believed a female at the hands of a male in this circumstance would portray the vulnerable side to force and strength than in reverse.

I understand where that idea comes from which is being put forward by critics, but I understand Lush’s decision also.

The Daily Mail spoke to Dr Chris Flower, director general of the Cosmetics, Toiletries and Perfumeries Association (CTPA). He believes that although for a good cause, Lush may have delivered a misleading impression of animal testing, explaining that selling cosmetics tested on animals was banned in Britain in 1998 and throughout Europe in 2004.

He said:

“It is a pity that Lush chose to run this campaign in a country where the testing of cosmetic products on animals is banned and which has the strictest animal welfare provisions regarding the use of animals for scientific purposes anywhere in the EU.
“It is a pity the campaign is directed at an industry that has done more than any other to develop and promote the use of alternatives.”


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