My 2013 New Year's resolution was two-fold: 1) try to avoid buying anything - and NEVER by dog treats - "made in China" and 2) replace my everyday household goods with cruelty-free products. I have the Beagle Freedom Project to thank for raising my awareness about the horrible practice of animal testing that is still running rampant.
Step 1: Research the replacements. The most shocking and somewhat disturbing thing I learned during this phase was that paper towel brands test on animals...why? To make the transition to cruely-free more manageable, I decided to wait until I had to restock my detergents, paper goods, and health and beauty products. These sites were a great help:
Companies/Products to AVOID: http://www.thevegetariansite.com/ethics_test.htm
Step 2: Find a reputable sotre/distributor. Sure, now I have a good idea of what I should stop bringing into my home but where can I find the more responsible brands? I visited: Trader Joes & Whole Foods
Step 3: Compare prices. Let's face it, whether it's organic or gluten-free, "specialty" products often carry a hefty price tag. Before heading over to Trader Joe's for my first trip, I checked out the options at grocery and big box stores where the cruelty-free product selections were slimmer and the prices, not so much. Overall, I found that the average price difference was $1; at times it was much lower and occasionally there was no difference at all!
Step 4: Make the switch. My first cruely-free shoppng experience was rather fruitful - toothpaste, dishwasher detergent, all-purpose cleaner, sunscreen, and (not pictured) toilet paper. Since then, I have replaced my launder detergent and fabric softener, scored some spiffy vegan nail polish, paper towels, and more!
Step 5: Rejoice! Let's take a stand against animal testing and cruelty of all forms. Together, we can and WE WILL make a difference. Don't be shy - tell your friends!