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Can cosmetic surgery be considered cruelty-free?

Would you ever consider cosmetic surgery?

I'm not going to lie and say that I've never considered hovered on it myself. In fact, there's only two reasons why I've never done had some work done: 

1. I'd have to stumble upon a lot of money
2. Could I still call myself cruelty-free if I did?

The second reason is what the topic of today's blog post is. While cosmetic surgery is to a lot of people something to make you look better, plastic surgery is first and foremost a medical procedure. Therefore it has been tested on animals at some point - something I didn't think about until it was pointed out to me. Remember, while cosmetic testing is outlawed in the UK, animal testing is still required by law for medical purposes. So while botox is commonly used to smooth out wrinkles, it was actually tested on animals because it was originally manufactured as a drug to treat a range of medical conditions (such as migraines and cerebral palsy). Then there's the painkillers you'll be on. So if we're using plastic surgery purely for cosmetic reasons can we still consider ourselves cruelty-free, or even vegan? 

As a note, my goal with this blog post is not to defame anyone who has ever considered cosmetic surgery, or even had a procedure done. I'm not attempting to be the cruelty-free or vegan police. Heck, this blog post isn't even going to be informative or argumentative, more something to get the conversation started. 

For a lot of people cosmetic surgery is essential. Breast cancer survivors, burn victims, feminisation surgery for trans women, those who have recovered from an eating disorder and children born with a cleft lip. These are all things that I believe should be available on the NHS. I myself have even had a bit of cosmetic surgery done on the NHS - I had a mole/spot/something on my top right cheek that had to be removed for health reasons. It was a cosmetic surgeon who carried out the procedure to ensure the scarring was minimal (if you look closely you can see the scar, this photo shows it slightly). For the record, I was four and the details are hazy. 

I don't even believe that non-medical plastic surgery is always about vanity. A breast reduction can be for practical reasons, and if someone is really fixating on a facial feature that is causing psychological distress cosmetic surgery could well improve their self-esteem. Even people who do get cosmetic surgery for a nip and a tuck could have just fallen pray to societies standards of beauty, and that's society who is to blame (reason 3 why I would probably never actually go under the knife is because I feel I'd be letting society, and anyone who has ever reminded me that my nose is on the generous side, win).

I think cosmetic surgery is a complicated issue. Whether we're discussing it from an animal rights perspective or a feminist perspective. There's a famous American vegan YouTuber who has had a boob job and lip injections (I hate linking or bringing her directly into the conversation but I can link her privately if you're interested) and received nasty comments practically telling her not to call herself a vegan any more. She isn't even the only cruelty-free individual I know who has at least considered permanently changing a feature they don't like. 

As for medical testing, I don't like that the cure for cancer will come at the expense of animals. But I'm not going to refuse any life saving medical treatment because I'm vegan, or refuse plastic surgery for medical purposes. I support the the Dr Hadwen Trust and I hope one day there will be an alternative method to testing new medicines. 

Until then I'll have to make do with cruelty-free cosmetics to alter facial features that I don't like. Because until the day medical testing has advanced beyond using animals I'm personally not going to book myself in for a cosmetic surgery consultation as it just doesn't align with my cruelty-free beliefs (plus I'd still need to stumble upon that aforementioned pile of money). 

morag | mo adore
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  1. Interesting. There's some food for thought here.

  2. This is SUCH an interesting post! For some reason, whenever I've thought about cosmetic surgery, the animal testing policy never occurred to me. I don't know why because I've often thought about the animal testing side of (like you said) cancer treatment etc. I've always been incredibly unhappy with my boob size & my nose and have often dreamed about getting them 'fixed' but like you said - I don't want to let the team down, ya know? I'm not really sure where I stand on the topic... I think if cosmetic surgery is needed for a medical (including mental health) reason then I think it's maybe acceptable? I don't know. It's strange to think about what things I think are acceptable to be tested on animals and what aren't.. It's like the medication thing, I'm fairly certain that my anti-depressants and acid reflux medications were tested on animals so can I consider myself cruelty-free if I take them? I feel guilty because I think it's reasonable. Ah, I'm so conflicted! Haha

    (P.S sorry for the hella long comment hahaha) xx

    1. No problem for the long comment - it is a complicated issue! I wouldn't for a second consider calling you not cruelty-free because you use antidepressants or acid reflux medication. That's for medical purposes full stop and is something you need to get by. I don't take regualr medication for any condition but like hell I'm going to refuse pills if I do need them. But the post was to highlight when something that was originally meant for medical purposes is being used to look better. But even then people's reasons behind getting plastic surgery can be complicated.

  3. This is very interesting. I would lie if I'd say that I never thought about cosmetic surgery but in the end I guess I'm okay enough with my body to not go for it. I am not sure how to feel about the comments that YouTuber you mentioned received. I think I would still consider her a vegan after all. We never know what story is behind any cosmetic surgery. Maybe she was so unhappy with the way she looked that it seemed like the only possibility.
    Then of course, there are other medical things as well. I, for example, have diabetes since 11 years and I need to inject insulin. This is not cruelty-free, but I would die if I wouldn't take it. I basically don't have any other option. However, I would never say that I am not vegan because of that.
    A lot of these things are in a grey area for me and it always depends on the reasons why you do it. If you can really justify why you are doing it with a good reason, you shouldn't be judged for it.
    Patti Shifting Tales

  4. I would never get cosmetic surgery. By the time we are 40 we have the face our characters have made. Think about it, think of all the grown-ups you know & how some of them look nice & are nice & how some look unpleasant / grouchy & they are!

    Remedial / repairing surgery of course, for example an over generous bosom can cause damaging back problems etc. Repairs after accidents etc. are necessary for ones mental health if nothing else.

    All the lines on my face are due to the life I have lead ... my eldest sister had smile lines radiating in a curve down her cheek ... too much smiling! Mine are getting there ... but my brow does not have many furrows ... frowning / being unhappy is exhausting. Life is short ... wear it gladly. There ... rant over ... ;-)

    I am 49 & guesses generally place me 10 years younger ... oh, sun block does make a diff & smoking is also bad for our skin. Anne

  5. Really interesting point of view to this! I hadn't even thought about cosmetic surgery to be not cruelty free. Although, not sure what I do think about it.

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. This was really interesting and I totally get that you don't really think about cosmetic surgeries being tested on animals before you actually hear it. I definitely don't agree with that and although I've had lip fillers I do think it would deter me from having further procedures in the future.

  8. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  9. Very important point. I think if more of us can pose such question publicly, perhaps changes to the animal testing requirements could change to human voluntary and compensated testing, and/or Death-row-inmates-testing, which I am totally in favor of as part of punishment.
    I love animals and started my quest to Veganism in 2009 (I still eat oysters/muscles some times). But during the transformation process, I did not through away my leather boots, or motorcycle jacket when I made the switch, for I didn't want to also waste their sacrifice. So if for valid reasons something that in the past was tested due to regulatory reasons, and no longer is, should we not be able to consider as options? I think we just need to check with our weighted consciousness: where did it come from? how was it made? how was it tested? If a synthetic option tested on animals versus animal based not tested ... which is more cruel?

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  11. Hey, I red your Blog and i agree with your view that these surgeries are not meant for animals. I too once had injection for my frown lines.

  12. However, all these vantages can be only achieved when you get the treatment done from by any of the Manhattan Cosmetic Dentists. Why?
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