How to start a Compassionate Dialogue about Animal Testing

Starting a conversation about animal testing can be challenging. You may feel nervous or avoid raising the topic altogether in fear of triggering another person’s defensiveness, anger, shame, guilt or potentially creating division between you. It is completely okay to feel this way. Any time you challenge the status quo - what ever the issue, you will at first experience internal resistance (fear) and then external resistance (reaction) once you express your view.

We are here to help you prepare for starting a transformative dialogue with friends, family and the general public. We've compiled a few tips on how we speak to others about animal testing here at CCF to help you begin. We'll guide you and help you deal with any adverse reactions with clear compassionate communication.

"Change happens by listening and then starting a dialogue with the people who are doing something you don't believe is right." - Jane Goodall

1. Do your own independent research to understand the reality of the situation so you can have a constructive dialogue backed up by facts, not just feelings or passion. Here are some starters on the facts of animal testing:

-In Australia, the latest published statistics state that 20 million animals were used in research and teaching (2017 - Humane Research Australia) -95% of drugs tested ‘successfully’ on animals fail when they are translated to humans (Humane Research Australia)

-More than 500,000 animals suffer and die for cosmetics testing every single year. (Humane Society International)

-Just one ingredient in a product can result in the deaths of at least 1.400 animals. (Cruelty Free International)

2. Set a time aside to speak about the topic with a loved one. It can feel a little awkward at first if you’re not used to creating space but this is a great way to ensure you hold yourself and others accountable. Ask in person if you can or send a text message to create the space. Eg. Hey, I know you know I care about animals and there’s something important to me about animal testing that I'd like to talk to you about. Are you open to having a conversation tonight/over dinner/with a cuppa?

3. Share your thoughts kindly on social media. Share CCF posts or posts from other animal welfare organisations educating consumers about animal testing. You could add your own thoughts on the issue, and share with your friends what they can do to stop animal testing if they are interested. You could begin by saying, 'Did you know that your products may be tested on animals? Check the CCF List to ensure your cosmetics, personal care, and cleaning products are free of animal testing...'

3. Hold the conversation with gentleness, love and compassion. At the end of the day, the cruelty free movement is built on a foundation of kindness and we will not create the kind world we envisage for all beings if we are acting cruelly condemning and cruel towards humans.

4. Be vulnerable. If it really is hard for you to find the courage to speak up let them know that this is something you’re finding difficult to express. By speaking up about an important issue, it empowers others around you to create change for the better and allows them to speak up for what's important to them, and creates a safe space to do so.

5. Practice non-judgement and avoid shaming or guilting someone. Remember that everyone is on their own journey and it is likely that you too were unaware of animal testing and used products that were tested on animals at one point in time. You can ask questions, such as 'Did you know this happened? How do you feel about this? Would you like to know how to help?' However, if the other person doesn't hold your the same view upon the issue and doesn't want to learn more, try to practise non attachment in these situations and remember that it is okay if others disagree with you or don't want to go cruelty free straight away.

6. Listen. Approach the conversation with openness to learn from each other, the aim is not just to get your point across but to create a common understanding.

Please reach out to us via if you have any questions, or if you are still struggling with this type of conversation. We're here to help you, and all our animal friends!

Thank you for speaking up for the voiceless.

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Choose Cruelty Free acknowledge that we meet and operate on the land of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation, and that sovereignty of the land of the Kulin Nation was never ceded. We pay our respects to their ancestors and elders - past, present, and emerging.