Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Cruelty-Free Japan Shopping Guide

I have recently found a great Tokyo-based Animal Rights group that focuses on the issue of animal testing. Japan Anti-Vivisection Association (JAVA) has cruelty-free shopping guides available on their website as well as awareness/fund raising type stuff (t-shirts, stickers, bags, etc). Check them out at www.java-animal.org

  • Cruelty-free companies are listed with address, website, a checklist of what products they make (make-up, hair care, cleaning, etc.), and where they are usually available to buy.
  • Companies who actively promote non-animal testing are flagged
  • Companies who use only vegetarian (although not necessarily vegan) ingredients are also flagged.
  • Companies currently observing a moratorium and those who are actively testing are also listed (please write to them!)
  • Also includes a few pages explanation of the issues involved with animal testing and what you can do to stop it.

    The Cosmetic Guides are 400 yen each (plus shipping) and are really well organized and incredibly easy to use. To order your own copy, send your name, address, phone number, and how many copies you’d like to java@blue.ocn.ne.jp. You don’t pay until you receive the guide. They will send you the guide and a furikomi sheet with which to pay (at the post office or bank). My guide took 2 days to get here and cost an extra 200 yen for shipping (to Hokkaido) for a total of 600 yen. They also have lots of other original products like stickers, buttons, t-shirts, and videos. Check them out here.

    Everything is in Japanese (of course) but it’s still really easy to use if you know some katakana (which, as a good vegetarian, you have mastered by now, right?) and even without any Japanese reading ability, web addresses are universal in any language. Or spread the word about animal testing by passing it around to your Japanese co-workers and asking them to help you decipher the precise meaning!

    The usual international companies with no-animal testing policies (The Body Shop, Lush, Avon, etc.) of course hold the same policies in Japan, but there are also a number of Japanese companies whose products are usually cheaper, more readily available, and local(er). I'm currently using, and recommend, Ishizawa Laboratories all-vegetable based Orange shampoo. Available on their website: www.ishizawa-lab.co.jp. (All of their original products are vegetarian and cruelty-free!)