April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month – and what better way to ensure animals live a cruelty free life than to ensure you are using products that are truly cruelty free!
Below we will outline some of the most commonly asked questions and offer tips into making sure you are supporting products and companies that truly care about animals!
WHAT DOES CRUELTY FREE MEAN?
Cruelty free is a label that is given to products that do not harm or kill animals to produce or manufacture that product. While some brands may claim they are “not tested on animals” this does not mean they are truly cruelty free!
IS THERE A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CRUELTY-FREE & VEGAN?
Yes! These 2 things are different, but some things can be cruelty-free as well as vegan.
Cruelty Free = No Animal Testing Is Done
Vegan = No Animal Ingredients or By-Products Are Included
Cruelty Free + Vegan = a product that was not tested on animals and includes no ingredients or by-products of animals in its production.
READING PRODUCT LABELS – NOT TESTED ON ANIMALS
This is one of the biggest issues in the industry – the “honesty” of manufacturers to properly disclose how their products are made so that you can make an informed decision.
First, let’s talk about the issue with the claim that many products have printed on their labels that as animal lovers we want to see — “Not Tested On Animals”.
Yippee – it is not tested on animals so let’s buy it – it must mean no animals were harmed right?
Not so fast there friend…..let’s look at this in more depth so you can understand how misleading this line can really be! No company wants to admit they somehow – or in someway are testing on animals, so they use every “loophole” they can to feed you what you want to hear.
Sadly, there is nothing legally stopping them from doing this.
So here are some reasons why the phrase “Not Tested On Animals” may be misleading:
- Some companies may make this claim if the FINAL product is not tested on animals – but they may use materials that were tested on animals to create that final product.
- The raw materials used to create the product initially may have underwent animal testing, but has not since that initial testing. So the testing was in the past – but not being done currently.
- Although the company may not have been personally involved in animal testing – they may have hired a 3rd party to take part in animal testing of their materials or products.
So those are just 3 ways that they can technically use the term “not tested on animals” – but in reality at some point animal testing is in fact taking place.
OTHER COMMON “PHRASING” LOOPHOLES
Below are several other “terms” that we often see that are seemingly open-ended ways of saying they test on animals but don’t want to admit it.
1. WE ARE AGAINST ANIMAL TESTING
We have seen this on several websites we have looked at – and we find it to be rather insulting to be honest. Yes, everyone is “against” animal testing – but that does not mean they do not test on animals – they are making a statement about being against – not that they do not do it.
2. EXCEPT WHEN REQUIRED BY LAW
Well, this is all fine and dandy – because this is one of the most overused statements in the industry. This phrase is most popular for companies that sell their products to China, which at this time still does require testing on animals if they import products to sell in their country.
3. OUR FINAL PRODUCTS ARE NOT TESTED ON ANIMALS
This is just another way of saying – WE do not animal test on our final manufactured product – but we are not going to tell you what is going on during processing and development.
So as you can see it is important to really do your due diligence if buying 100% cruelty free products are important to you!
MY OWN CLOSET
Now – I will preface this with a “I am not always aware of what I put on my body type girl!”.
I have over the years begun to learn more and educate myself and am trying to change my ways so I can put animals first and my needs/wants second.
So, I just visited my own bathroom to see what I had that had one of these wonderful statements on it that is so open ended – and I happened to have on hand Argan Oil of Morocco body lotion by OGX – I probably purchased this because it said it was not tested on animals – and just like you, I believed what it said – until I did the research for this post.
Sadly, it is not true.
The one thing that is important to know about ANY product – if it is a product that is sold in China – then it IS tested on animals because that is a requirement by China on any products manufactured outside of their country. OGX sells to China. They are required to do animal testing – end of story.
While China has removed the required animal testing on products manufactured within its own country – it is still a requirement for imported items. This only applies to Mainland China though – which is also important to note! PETA is working with China to try and get this requirement removed – but for now, if there is any cosmetic labeled product being sold in Mainland China – it means it is tested on animals!
PETA actually removed OGX from their list of companies who do not test on animals and it is also important to note that they were purchased by Johnson & Johnson which we know does animal testing.
And yes, we will no longer purchase this brand and have already ordered some truly cruelty free lotions from Farmhouse Fresh which my salon happened to carry and I now have fallen in love with!
WHO/WHAT CAN YOU TRUST?
Thankfully there are companies and groups that have offered some options to make your lives easier- below are a few of the logos you can look for to ensure that your product is cruelty-free!
THE LEAPING BUNNY
Did you know that the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC) has a program called the Leaping Bunny? Well, they do and it is a program that is designated to allow consumers to see if a product is free of animal testing – or cruelty free as we like to call it!
The Leaping Bunny program tests products like cosmetics, skin care and hair care to ensure that no animal testing is being used during the processing or development of their products.
Their website even has a complete list of brands that are “Leaping Bunny” approved.
Leaping Bunny wants to make sure that EVERY phase of product development is truly cruelty free and that no third parties engage in testing of products on animals! So when you are shopping for truly cruelty free items, you want to look for products that have the Leaping Bunny logo – this is your assurance that no animals were harmed during their creation!
THE PETA BUNNY
Companies that offer the PETA Bunny have pledged to PETA that the products they create will not include any testing on animals. This means they will not pay for testing from other companies or do it in house.
As per the PETA group, companies have to complete a questionnaire and sign a statement of assurance verifying they do not do any testing. PETA does not conduct any audits like Leaping Bunny does – so they are placing trust in the companies that apply for this pledge.
SO IF THERE IS NO LOGO ON THE PRODUCT DOES IT MEAN THEY TEST ON ANIMALS?
Not necessarily! Some brands may truly be cruelty-free but may not use the logo on their products. In this case if you want to be sure – you can visit their website to get more information and see what their animal testing policy is.
CRUELTY FREE RESOURCES
As you can imagine there are a lot of groups and organizations that are monitoring what is happening in the cruelty free world. Things change so quickly and it is important as an animal lover to be kept updated!
Here are a few resources that will help you learn more, find cruelty free products and even get involved to help make a difference!