4 Pink-Free Ways to Fight Breast Cancer

Published by Michelle Kretzer.

It’s October, which means that every shopping mall looks like the aftermath of a Pepto-Bismol hurricane. Now, don’t get me wrong. I care about Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I lost my dear grandmother to the disease, and it runs in my family. So finding a cure for breast cancer is a cause close to my heart—which is exactly why you’ll never see me in a pink T-shirt, pink sun visor, or socks replete with pink fuzzy balls.

That’s because I’m wary of “pinkwashing”—that’s when companies toss a pittance at a breast cancer charity so that they can slap a pink ribbon on their product and rake in more money for themselves. The actual donation that the company makes is often either a low preset amount or a small percentage of the purchase price. Pinkwashing watchdog group Think Before You Pink maintains, “If shopping could cure breast cancer, it would be cured by now.”

But my big beef is this: Much of the money goes to fund archaic, cruel animal experiments that still haven’t produced a cure, even while cutting-edge non-animal testing methods are readily available. So for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, here are four ways that you can help women more than if you had bought another pink doohickey:

Instead of buying a $40 May28th.me watch with a pink strap, donate $40 to the American Breast Cancer Foundation.

Only 10 percent of the proceeds from May28th.me’s pink watch go to charity, and that money is donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, which wastes money on animal experiments. By donating to the American Breast Cancer Foundation, you can help underprivileged breast cancer patients get the care and treatment that they need.

Instead of buying Progresso Soup, donate vegan food to the Breast Cancer Society.

It’s not clear whose lives Progresso’s “Save Lids to Save Lives” campaign is supposed to save. It’s certainly not the women who are eating soup stored in cans that are made with cancer-causing BPA or the animals who are suffering in the experiments that every purchase helps fund via Susan G. Komen for the Cure. You’ll do a lot more good by donating healthy vegan food to the Breast Cancer Society to help impoverished patients eat right.

Instead of buying a $35 pink leather Nook cover, donate $35 to the Breast Cancer Fund.

Only $5 from the sale of each of Barnes & Noble’s pink leather Nook covers is donated to charity, and that money goes to—you guessed it—a charity that funds animal experiments. By giving the same $35 to the Breast Cancer Fund, you could help do away with the environmental causes of breast cancer, such as the cancer-causing chemicals used by leather tanneries.

Instead of buying a $150 pink-and-blue Lacoste tote bag, donate $150 to the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation. 

When you spend $150, Lacoste will give $15 (are we sensing a pattern here?) to a charity that funds animal experiments. But by giving $150 to the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation, you could fund sophisticated, modern non-animal tests and get us that much closer to a cure.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind