Cover story feature: #BeCrueltyFree Canada campaign

May 26, 2015

Earlier this spring, we connected with the Humane Society International’s Canadian team. They were working on a special and very creative editorial photoshoot for their new campaign, and it completely won our hearts. So we decided to support their idea and offered to exclusively publish the feature in FAJO!

Here is the story behind it.

One of the goals of the campaign to end animal testing for cosmetics in Canada is to smash the barrier between the animal rights world and the fashion world. Recently, HSI had the opportunity to collaborate with a well-known figure in the fashion world: Cait Mizzi. She has joined #BeCrueltyFree Canada as a Beauty Ambassador with the goal of illustrating how easy it is to be cruelty-free.

HSI says that most Canadians don’t realize animal cruelty continues and, according to their sources, it is still legal in 80 per cent of the countries around the world.

Our May 2015 cover.

Our May 2015 cover.

The photoshoot’s idea is to show how the fashion world and the cruelty-free world are intertwined. HSI’s team told us that the bunny ears were handmade for the project and used artfully to evoke an image of a bunny rabbit (rabbits are the de facto symbol of cosmetics animal testing).

We had a quick chat with HSI’s program and development officer, Aviva Vetter, about this initiative. Here is what she told us.

5 facts about the photoshoot and the campaign

1. Who came up with the concept for the photoshoot?

A: As #BeCrueltyFree Canada Beauty Ambassador for Humane Society International, Cait Mizzi’s role is to illustrate how easy it is to be cruelty-free and help break down the barrier between the worlds of animal welfare and fashion. This project, spearheaded by Cait, is the culmination of Canadian fashion industry experts who care – well-known in their respective fields and deeply concerned about animal rights.

2. What is the meaning behind it?

A: Connecting an audience that might otherwise be unaware of HSI’s work and how the two worlds of fashion and animal welfare are intertwined. To raise awareness (and get the word out!) for the plight of lab animals across Canada (and around the world), as well as illustrate how easy it is to #BeCrueltyFree!

Everyday most of us, unknowingly, use cosmetics that have been unreliably tested on animals. Rabbits, mice, rats and guinea pigs endure chemicals being forced down their throats, dripped into their eyes or smeared onto their skin – all without any pain relief.

3. What is the key message behind the campaign?

A: One of the goals in our campaign to end animal testing for cosmetics in Canada is to smash the barrier between the animal rights and fashion. The fashion connection is important because for all its beauty and glamour, not everyone is aware how oftentimes animals are made to suffer in the process. We need people like Cait to help get the word out that beauty doesn’t have to be cruel, and that animal cruelty can end if we open our eyes to the choices.

Most importantly, this could stop today without any harm to us. We can easily rely on the thousands of safe ingredients and alternative tests available, a list which is growing every day.

4. Can you share some facts with us on this topic?

A: Here are some facts:

• 88 per cent of Canadians agree that testing new cosmetics is not worth animal suffering, and 81 per cent of Canadians support a national ban on animal testing of cosmetics and their ingredients, according to polling by The Strategic Counsel on behalf of Animal Alliance and HSI.

• Animal testing for cosmetics is banned across the European Union, Norway, Israel, New Zealand and India, and legislative bans have been proposed in Australia, Brazil, Taiwan and the United States. But the practice remains legal in around 80 per cent of countries globally, including Canada.

• More than 500 cruelty-free companies in North America avoid animal testing by relying on thousands of existing cosmetic ingredients already established as safe, with available state-of the-art non-animal test methods.

• 3D skin models such as EpiDerm™ made from donated human skin (after surgery) have been shown to better predict skin irritation in humans than the cruel rabbit test they replace.

• Cruelty-free brands available in Canada include LUSH Cosmetics, Lippy Girl, Neal’s Yard Remedies, Cake Beauty and Batty’s Bath.

• Our list of celebrities who’ve joined #BeCrueltyFree Canada: Lauren Toyota (MTV), Laura Vandervoort (Bitten), Tricia Helfer (Ascension, Battlestar Galactica), Kristin Bauer (True Blood), Emmanuelle Vaugier (Lost Girl), and TV’s Phoebe Dykstra. Global supporters include Sir Paul McCartney, Leona Lewis and Owain Yeoman.

• More than 80,000 people say “no” to cruel cosmetics in Canada – and you can add your name by signing the #BeCrueltyFree Canada petition at

Well-known Canadian model Zoe Colivas participated in the project. She is a recognized face on both runways around the world and various publications.

Well-known Canadian model Zoe Colivas participated in the project. She is a recognized face on both runways and in various publications.

5. Tell us more about your model. 

A: Zoe Colivas was chosen because she’s one of the top models in Canada right now, so what better way to draw attention to an amazing cause? When we approached her for the project she was excited and eager to come aboard. It doesn’t hurt that she’s absolutely breathtaking and such a sweet, intelligent Canadian woman!

By (article by) FAJO's editorial team
Art Direction by Cait Mizzi
Photography by Lily & Lilac
Stylist: Nadia Pizzimenti
Make-up Artist: Cait Mizzi
Hair: Caitlin Cullimore
Models: Zoe Colivas (Sutherland Models)

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