Animals are tortured, and slaughtered brutally, for various productions including meat, clothing and accessories. The so-called "by-products" of their slaughter, often worth more than the meat, are used for innumerable cosmetic and household products. Animals are also tortured ruthlessly, and finally killed, for experiments and research. Animals do not volunteer for such agony, torture or death. Few people are aware of such cruelties.
Not all products are made by torturing and killing animals. From Day One, BWC put in continuous efforts to contact such companies whose products are not made by killing or torturing animals.
BWC’s Veg Shopper’s Guide consisted of products — cosmetics, toilet preparations and even packaged foods — which were believed, in good faith, to be free of animal ingredients and animal testing. We had hoped the guide would make it easy for our members and consumers to adopt a vegetarian life style.
However, BWC is sorry to say we had no option but to withdraw the Veg Shopper's Guide. We do not wish to endorse products that we are no longer sure of being vegetarian, leave alone vegan.
Moreover, there was no point in BWC approaching food manufacturers to fill questionnaires
because the Government of India had made it mandatory for all packaged foods to carry the veg/non-veg symbol.
BWC has stopped approaching cosmetic companies because it turned out to be frustrating. The majority did not co-operate in providing the necessary, accurate information regarding ingredients and testing on animals. For example, a couple of VLCC outlets told us over the telephone that their products were tested on animals, whereas they had stated to BWC, in writing, that they did not do so. Despite three e-mails sent, they did not reply in writing.
BWC now leaves it to consumers to decide whether to eat/use products marked with the green symbol (square with dot) which is self-regulatory on the part of the manufacturer.
Those who correspond with manufacturers directly are advised to read between the lines of replies which may be evasive or ambiguous.
Caution needs to be taken with regard to items labelled as follows:
Animal-Friendly: ambiguous wording.
Biodegradable: ambiguous wording.
Care for Nature: ambiguous wording.
Cruelty-Free: may be oblivious to the fact that killing is cruel. (Beware of ‘Cruelty-Free’ pledges.)
Natural: indicates not synthetic or lab-produced, but can be of animal origin.
No Animal Fat: can contain other animal substances.
Organic: can contain plant and animal substances.
Organically Pure/Certified Organic: can contain organic plant and animal substances.
Pure/Genuine: unadulterated ingredients which can be of animal, mineral or plant origin.
Eco-Friendly and Environmentally-Friendly: users of slaughterhouse "by-products" present themselves as such for the waste prevented — for a profit.
Green: can contain plant and animal substances. Could have been manufactured using a process that saves energy and lessens carbon emission.
Herbal: indicates the presence of herbs, but not the absence of animal-origin ingredients.
Recycled/Recyclable: (refers to packaging, not contents) may or may not have been recycled and can contain plant and animal substances.
None of the above specifically addresses the issue of testing on animals.
Against Animal Testing/No Animal Testing: policy statements that do not indicate the product has not been tested on animals.
Dermatologist Tested/Allergy Tested/Clinically Proven: ambiguous wording.
Safe: likely to have been tested on animals.
Marks such as the Agmark and Ecomark, and certifications such as those by ISO, ISI (BIS), AIFOF, and GI have very specialised, esoteric meanings dealing in semantics. Whereas, declarations such as Grade 1, % of TFM, FDA approved, Permitted Colours used, Preservative Free and Premium product, indicate quality. None of them concern themselves with animals or animal ingredients, so could very well have been utilised. No different to the IMA’s (Indian Medical Association) unethical endorsements on soaps and other products like those manufactured by Dabur and Pepsi, exposed by actor Aamir Khan on one of his TV shows in 2012.
Endorsed products may not be veg
BWC can not vouch for products being free of animal ingredients and not having been tested on animals, whether self certified or endorsed as veg or vegan by organisations working for animals in India or abroad.
Moreover, BWC India has no connection whatsoever with the BWC cosmetic company. When the BWC charity in UK closed, the company owned by them was sold. Despite a continuous correspondence spanning a couple of years, BWC India was not at all satisfied that all the ingredients used by BWC Cosmetics were free of animal substances.