Anti Animal Testing by James McCourt.
On Thursday 15th November Lush held their inaugural Lush Prize at a warehouse venue in the heart of Shoreditch, and I was there. During the afternoon Mothers Meeting invited us to a tea party for kids, complete with luscious cakes by Lily Vanilli for the mummies and plates of healthy snack food for the kiddies.
The older ones were invited to make brilliant animal masks with Margot Bowman in celebration of the Lush #animalperson campaign, whilst our wee ones babbled at each other and noshed on each other’s heads.
Then it was home to put Snarfle to bed before heading out once more for the prize giving dinner, a delicious vegan affair catered for by Tom’s Feast, and made entirely out of food that would otherwise go to waste.
By a stroke of luck I happened to sit next to the gorgeous Rowena Bird, co-founder of Lush, who we interviewed many a moon ago for the print version of Amelia’s Magazine. We talked about her new make up range for Lush, Emotional Brilliance, which is based on colour psychology: spin the wheel and find out what colours jump out at you. I also met an inspiring lady with an intriguing project, Lucy Gilliam and the New Dawn Traders. Her mission? To get tall ships back on the seas to transport large cargos in carbon free style. What an amazing idea and one I’d never thought about – apparently the technology is there and now it’s all about the will (as ever with these things). Also at my table was the film maker responsible for the viral ad campaign designed to promote the Lush Prize, Josef Valentino. Watch it here.
The space was conceived as a high tech homage to forward thinking science by Something & Son and Inition, and each table featured an iPad with which to view specially designed cards placed on our plates – through these we experienced augmented reality, as the chaotic graphic patterns took shape to make hearts, feet and lungs. Using fingers we were able to dismantle these, as if performing our very own human vivisections.
The Lush Prize is a dauntingly ambitious project designed to highlight the ongoing use of animals in cosmetics testing, with a total prize fund of £250,000. It aims to promote and support all the exciting new developments which will hopefully rid our world of this outdated mode of experimentation. As Lush says ‘In a parallel universe not very far away, some of the world’s leading scientists and engineers are working towards a future where computers and molecular biology have replaced animals in laboratory tests.‘ We reported on the new REACH act (which makes extensive animal testing mandatory by law) way back in 2009 but sadly this is a battle which still needs to be fought: thank god Lush have stepped back in to bring the spotlight back on animal testing.
Animals Against Testing by Annie Rickard Straus.
Perhaps even more worrying are the Chinese regulations which require researchers to retest every single product that arrives from the West. I was really disgusted to learn that several well known brands have removed their Against Animal Testing logos since entering the Chinese market. All for the sake of profit. Naturally Lush is boycotting China at present.
“Ask experimenters why they experiment on animals, and the answer is: ‘because they are like us.’ Ask experimenters why it is morally okay to experiment on animals, and the answer is: ‘because the animals are not like us.’ Animal experimentation rests on a logical contradiction.” Charles R. Nagel.
But back to the Lush Prize – the winners had travelled from all over the world to receive one half of a boxing bronze hare (created by ceramist Nichola Theakston) and a large amount of cash, designed to aid them in their work putting an end to unnecessary animal testing. Prizes were awarded for Science, Training, Lobbying, Public Awareness and to post doctoral students. The recipients included Hiromi Kamekura from the Japan Anti-Vivisecton Association, which has been doggedly raising awareness of animal testing by cosmetics giant Shiseido. Winners also came from India, Italy, the USA, Canada and Russia, for this is a truly global fight. It’s brilliant that Mark and Mo Constantine of Lush are so passionate about the things they care about, regularly stumping up cash to help others create the better world they strive and wish for. If only wish more companies were as bold and principled in their decisions.
For a far more detailed analysis of the science behind the awards visit Lucy’s in depth blog here. A full list of the prize winners can be found here. It’s well worth revisiting our analysis of REACH too. I’m not a great one for endorsing petitions as I am not convinced they work, but there are quite a few out there against animal testing: you could lend your signature to this one. And finally, check out the Fighting Animal Testing website.
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