Wednesday, 27 August 2014

A wet and icy dilemma...

In light of the recent ice bucket challenge craze filling our facebook feeds I have been pondering as it seems to be a bit of a dilemma.  Some people have responded to the challenge purely as a laugh...and have made no reference to the original reason for it i.e. creating awareness of the disease ALS and/or donating to the charity.  Some people have promoted the charity, others have declined to take on the challenge because ALS use animal testing (as do probably a whole stack of other charities I would think) or because of the waste of water when so many States are on a water shortage or countries without clean water. I can see all sides of this...and I am in no way telling others what to do - it is ultimately your choice and your opinion, all of which you are entitled to.

My 13 year old daughter was nominated to take on the challenge, when she asked me if it was OK for her to do it my reply was "only if you understand what the challenge is all about"...she went away, researched and created this:

Not one single drop of water or ice cube was involved, awareness of ALS was created and a donation was made.  And we have had several messages from families who have loved ones that suffer with this terrible disease, thanking us for making people aware ♥

I have several queries with regard to all of this...

Don't get me wrong...I am against animal testing but...and there is a but...there is no easy answer to this (not that I understand anyway, with my limited knowledge of how it all works).  Yes the world is run by politics and money...and that isn't going to change any time soon but how do we avoid it/change it?

If you are against donating to charities that do life saving work but use animal testing to do so then I assume you must be against any kind of product or company that tests on animals, which leads me to believe that you never purchase any kind of cosmetic, toilettries, hair or household products, perfumes or medications that have...they do exist but they are incredibly expensive and not always easy to obtain.

There is a big spiral from many products that we use in everyday life involve either animal testing, killing of animals or damage to the environment.  For instance anything with plastic in it must involve pollution to the air and our water systems in some way?

If you eat meat an animal has to die for that, do you always purchase organic meat or free range?  Do you always buy organic vegetables and fruit because all the pesticides kill off wildlife...

Do you wear leather shoes or have a leather wallet or handbag?  An animal had to die for that and what were it's living conditions before it did?

What about the clothes you wear?  Is everyone wandering around in hand made eco friendly hemp shirts and pants? (I just know they would shrink the first time in the tumble dryer...).  Have your clothes been made in a sweat shop somewhere across the world where a child is paid pennies to make it?

Have you ever washed a spider down the plug hole?  Swatted a fly or a wasp?

I am NOT judging here...I am not a vegetarian myself but I do try to buy free range meat, but it is expensive so we only eat meat 2 or 3 times a week, I do get a weekly organic vegetable box but I supplement it with non organic veg and fruit because I can't afford to do it all.  I lived and worked on a farm in my youth so I know about animal welfare first hand.

And what if the world suddenly all turned vegan?  Apart from the fact that I don't believe the planet would have enough chick peas to feed everyone (not judging here, I love all kinds of food including vegan!) but what would happen to the animals?  We wouldn't need them...I assume they would just die out?  What then would happen to the eco system?  Hasn't there got to be a balance?

And that is perhaps my point...we can't do it all.   Even a millionaire would struggle to live a completely animal cruelty free and eco friendly life.

But I have gone off track a bit here...if you were in the situation where you or someone you loved required urgent medication that could ease their pain and suffering or save their life...would you say "no sorry, the company that did the research for that tests on worms, flies and rodents"...? (which according to a statement from ALS is the only animal testing they perform).

Also bouncing around facebook was a statement from Pamela Anderson saying that she refused to do the challenge because the charity tests on animals - interestingly I found another article where the ALS had responded and countered all her quotes.  It made for an interesting read, perhaps here is an example of someone jumping on the band wagon and not getting all their facts straight first?  Who knows...the media is famous for not stating the facts!

There is no easy answer, I certainly don't have one.

I will continue to 'do my bit' as much as I can within my limited budget.  I will continue to support charities that save lives and help find cures for terrible diseases but I will also continue to do my research first before I weigh it all up and make choices or statements... you admire Stephen Hawkings?  Someone who has achieved so much...well he is an ALS sufferer...


  1. Interesting point of view well thought out n a enjoyed reading it x

  2. hi rachel, i'm a fan of your writing and planning to join the school soon :) you raise so many great points here, and these are the questions i swirl around with all the time in my daily life! there are so few pure products. and it is so easy to jump on a media bandwagon. but sometimes that's one way that awareness is raised. and just because we may have secondhand leather or not be able to afford all organic, we can still do our bit, as you say. no reason to support animal testing just because we may not want our homes overrun with flies. but these are very grey areas. i just wonder if maybe for some, not participating in this challenge is a bit of their bit... anyway, thank you for this thought-provoking post!


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