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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). 

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