Watching suffering is horrible. Especially when the suffering is not neutral. If we watch an animal in pain our humanity forces us to care: do something to help, to lessen the suffering. If that animal is put into a position of pain because of something we did or did not do their suffering is no longer neutral. In some way their suffering becomes our fault.
The performance that took place in our Regent Street, London shop window was intended to shock. Jacqueline Traides is a trained performance artist who has undergone similar performances. She is also a vegan, committed to animal rights, and intent on raising awareness of their suffering at the hands of human callousness or lack of care and thought.
The cosmetics industry has a dark secret. It is a secret that challenges women across the world. It is a secret that challenges any woman who nips into a supermarket or a pharmacy and buys a cosmetic that is not cruelty-free (which is the vast majority of cosmetics available on the high street).
When a young woman chose to undergo animal tests in our flagship shop window she was choosing to challenge women across the world with this fact that has – for too long – been a silent and ‘unfortunate’ side effect of our daily beauty routines.
Beauty is supposed to make us feel confident and special. In its best forms it is about telling the story of who we really are, or who we really want to be. When we are forced to recognise that this aspirational industry depends upon the needless suffering and death of millions of innocent animals – animals that could have been our dog, our children’s guinea pigs, our neighbours’ rabbits – animals that we humanely love – we are shocked and we recoil. We also are challenged to make sure that animals are no longer the hidden victims of our cosmetics industry.
Jacqueline is an extraordinary performer who was safe and supported through the ordeal. Our incredible Lush staff stood outside the shop and ensured that children and their families were warned against the spectacle whilst still being encouraged to sign the Cosmetics Directive 2013 petition. We have not added to the pain endured by millions of animals daily: we have only projected a pain that happens behind closed walls into a public shop window on a very public high street.
We know the images are stark, even brutal, but they are images, they are not the reality of a laboratory animal’s suffering. I believe that much of their strength (especially for women who – in the main – are the consumers of the cosmetics industry) is because we empathise with the vulnerability and oppression – as women. It’s horrible to think that the ‘feel good’ beauty industry contains such dark secrets and such helpless victims and it’s even worse to think who is responsible for that suffering. I want to see so many blogs inviting women to consider on what their beauty depends and how we can make the beauty industry better.
Please sign the petition today: www.fightinganimaltesting.com/sign-the-petition