You’re a smart shopper. When it comes to ferreting out cruelty-free products, you’re pretty good. Today’s product labeling has helped by adding a logo of a bunny rabbit to indicate “no animal testing.” But did you know that there are three different bunny rabbit logos, and they don’t mean the same thing?
Leaping Bunny (leapingbunny.org), PETA (peta.org), and Choose Cruelty Free (choosecrueltyfree.org) each have their own codes by which each measures cruelty free, and maintain separate lists of companies that receive their ‘bunny rabbit’ seal of approval.
Deciphering labels to single out those products made through cruelty free methods has gotten easier in some ways, and more challenging in others. First, let’s look at the requirements that exist for labeling consumer products.
The Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not require that animal tests be conducted to demonstrate that a cosmetic product is safe. According to the FDA, cosmetics are “articles intended to be applied to the human body for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance without affecting the body’s structure or functions.” This includes face, body and hair cleansing and moisturizing products, hair color, facial and body makeup, perfume, and nail polish, and ingredients used to produce said products.
So, while the FDA does not require animal testing, some companies still use it as a means to bring their products to market. Dog lovers can rely on Leaping Bunny, PETA, and Choose Cruelty Free to each exclude companies from their cruelty free lists that use animal testing. And, it’s not just cosmetic companies that require monitoring, it’s also household and cleaning product companies. Window, bathroom, and wood surface cleaners have historically been under scrutiny for their use of animal testing.
While animal- and earth-friendly product companies can be found on the lists of the three monitoring groups by their corporate names, it’s good to have a general understanding of what can help identify cruelty free household items. For these types of products, the goal is to look for all-natural, plant-based ingredients, essential and botanical oils, and ingredients free of synthetic fragrance and dies. The next time you replenish your household cleaning items, keep an eye out for these telltale signs and one of the bunnies to help guide your purchase.
Some companies that are cruelty-free includes Seventh Generation, Ecos, Urban Decay Cosmetics, Biokeen, Mrs. Meyers and Seattle-based Kari Gran, who’s skincare and cosmetic line we can vouch for.
On the topic of dog products, it might surprise you to learn that not all pet food is cruelty free. Sometimes dog-tested means that the company did a “field study” where they watched the dogs in their natural habitat and reported on the outcome of when a new pet food product was given to them; and sometimes it means “force fed” to identify any issues with long-term use of the product. It pays to do your research. A few pet food companies doing it right include Dr. Harvey’s, The Honest Kitchen, Wysong and Timberwolf Organics.
Animal testing is primarily regulated by the Animal Welfare Act of 1966. Since the time it was enacted, stronger regulations and enhanced compliance with oversight agencies have been implemented, and animal testing, over the last 50 years, has declined—much thanks due to organizations like those mentioned in this article, and people like you who care about the welfare of animals, who work to end this type of testing.
Buyer beware. If the company you purchase from sells their products in China, they are by law required to conduct animal testing in order to export their goods. This is why many of the very large brands are not fully, 100% cruelty free. It pays to do research before flexing your buying power. A really good example of ending an animal testing program is Barilla Pasta. Yes, human food companies can use animals in testing too. Again, this information serves as a reminder to flex your buying power.
To find and support companies that do not animal test you can:
- Research the company on the three agency oversight lists, and the company’s own website.
- Send letters to companies and legislators you support, and ask them to stop animal testing.
- Always buy ‘cruelty free’ products.
Each and every one of us is unique in our road to living a cruelty free life. And, knowledge goes a long way—so does awareness and that’s why we like to support local companies who are committed to producing cruelty free, animal testing free products.
Cruelty Free Guidelines
Leaping Bunny: The company itself does not use animal testing, does not create or purchase ingredients that use animal testing, has a supplier monitoring system, and the company does not perform animal testing for overseas products.
PETA: Companies must provide assurance that verifies they do “not conduct, commission, or pay for any tests on animals for ingredients, formulations, or finished products and that they pledge not to do so in the future.”
Choose Cruelty Free: Vegan and vegetarian products and items that contain beeswax, lanolin, honey, milk, egg and/or casein that meet non-animal testing rules, and are palm oil free.
Why Beagles? Animal research relies on all types of animals for testing, but beagles are very popular for testing because of their size. Not a toy-sized breed, but not too large that they are hard to handle—a ‘perfect’ sized dog that is trusting, loyal and motivated to please.