I don’t care how good a product supposedly is! If it’s been tested on animals, I don’t want it anywhere near my professional or personal beauty kits! In this day and age, it’s astounding that so many companies still conduct animal testing! With all the technology and resources that are available today, there’s absolutely no need for this outdated and barbaric practice. And what’s even more astounding is that many of these companies are some of the largest, most profitable companies in the world. These are companies that everyone knows and most likely use many of their products on a daily basis. But all is not lost. There are some really lovely brands on the market who DON’T test their products on animals.
So why DO many companies carry out animal testing?
This was originally a practice used in drug trials. The drugs were tested on animals first, to see if they were safe enough to be used on humans. However, many companies then decided to use this practice to test all types of products such as cosmetics (including things like toothpaste, for example) and household products such as cleaning products (yes, even these!).
And it’s not just the finished products that are tested on animals. The individual ingredients are often tested on animals too. And when I say ‘tested’, I’m not talking about in a humane or nice way! In fact, many of the animals die from these experiments. I won’t go into all the details here, but I’m sure you’ve already seen many very disturbing pictures of the type of ‘testing’ I’m referring too. If not, just google ‘animal testing’ and you’ll see what I’m talking about. I’ll warn you, it’s pretty harrowing.
But here’s the thing…
This type of cruelty is completely unnecessary. For one thing, animal DNA is different to ours. Guinea pigs, mice, rabbits and even rats are some of the animals used in this cruel type of testing. So just because a product or ingredient might appear to be ‘safe’ to use on animals, it doesn’t mean it’s going to be safe to use on humans.
In fact, there are over 7,000 ingredients that cosmetics companies can avail of that are safe to use on humans. For example, products and ingredients that are certified natural and organic products.
And of course, we have so much technology at our disposal today which can be used instead of animal testing to test the safety of products or ingredients. One such method that avails of this technology is in-vitro testing. And scientists at Harvard University have even developed a chip which makes it possible to replicate human organs. Check out this fabulous article by the wonderful blog Cruelty-Free Kitty all about it. In fact, this blog is an excellent resource for information on this topic in general.
What is cruelty-free defined as?
The problem is that terms such as ‘cruelty-free’ and ‘not tested on animals’ are not regulated. So it basically means a company can say that their product is one of those things when it’s in fact NOT cruelty-free. And whilst the product itself may not have been tested on animals, the ingredients may have been.
If a product is truly cruelty-free, it means it has NOT been tested on animals. Nor have any of the ingredients used to make this product. If a product states that’s it’s vegan, it means that it contains no animal by-products whatsoever (eg: beeswax, carmine).
So how can I be certain that a product is really cruelty-free?
I recently talked about the importance of organic certifications. And that the only way to be sure if a product is truly natural and organic is to check if it has certification from a certifying body such as the Soil Association, for example.
Well, the exact same principle applies to cruelty-free products. There are a number of certifications a brand can attain, in order to prove that their products are, in fact, cruelty-free. I’ll talk about them in greater detail in a moment.
Another way to be certain that the products you’re buying are cruelty-free is to buy products that have a natural & organic certification. In order for a product to be certified as natural or organic, it must pass strict criteria to prove that it nor it’s ingredients have not been tested on animals.
I mentioned above that there are certifying bodies that prove that a company does not conduct animal testing. So if you see one of these logos on a product, you can be (fairly) certain that it nor it’s ingredients have been tested on animals.
The organisation that awards this certification is called the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC). This is made up of 8 different animal rights institutions. This is one of the most trusted organisations when it comes to certification. And when you see their logo on a cosmetic product, you can be sure that it’s 100% cruelty-free. Their testing is rigorous and companies that apply for this certification are subject to independent audits.
There’s just one caveat. The Leaping Bunny certification only applies to cosmetic products. It does not include drugs. So that’s just something to be aware of if you’re buying products from a company that sells both cosmetics or drugs such as dietary supplements. And you’ll need to do some research to ensure the company as a whole are cruelty-free.
This is also known as Choose Cruelty-Free, an independent non-profit organisation based in Australia. And just like Leaping Bunny, their logo is a rabbit. Their requirements are also very strict. Another excellent element of their screening process is that they only award certification to companies whose parent company also have cruelty-free status (more on this in a moment). So if you see the CCF bunny logo on a product, you can be certain it truly is cruelty-free.
This stands for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. It’s is an organisation that originated in the U.S. But it’s now present in many countries throughout the world. They have a pretty extensive list of companies on their website that test on animals and those that don’t.
However, whilst this list is a pretty good place to start, it’s not always the most accurate source. The reason is that PETA doesn’t require that companies be subjected to independent audits. They just require that they “sign a statement of assurance verifying that 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.”
They do however state that “A company that has publicly announced an end to tests on animals and states in writing that it doesn’t test on animals would face a public relations disaster and potential lawsuits if it was caught lying.”
Whilst that’s all good in theory, it really does depend on the honesty and integrity of a brand. So it’s a good idea to do some research of your own if you really want to ensure a company is telling the truth.
Beware of false claims!
Some companies will tell you that they don’t test on animals. Yet, they’ll use a variation of the following phrase:
“We don’t conduct animal testing unless required to by law.”
Now, maybe I’ve missed something. But what logical reason on earth would ‘the law’ require someone to test their products on animals?
The Chinese market
This brings me to the next VERY important point and something to be very cautious of. A lot of beauty brands are now selling their products in mainland China. In order for a foreign company to sell their products in mainland China, Chinese law states the products must be tested on animals. Otherwise, that company cannot sell its products in this market.
This is where you need to be very cautious!
Many companies that say they don’t test on animals are now selling their products in mainland China. Although they may not test their products on animals here in Europe (or the U.S or anywhere else for that matter), they are conducting animal testing on their products in China. So this means that the company CANNOT be classed as a cruelty-free company.
Several of these companies that did have cruelty-free certification from certifying bodies have since had them revoked as they’re now selling their products in China. This has caused much debate in the beauty world. And many people are disgusted (me included) by such companies who appear to have chosen profit over ethics.
Some examples of this are L’occitane and Nars who both had cruelty-free certification. However, they’re now selling their products in mainland China where animal testing is mandatory. As a result, they’ve had their cruelty-free certifications rescinded, even though they say their products sold outside of China are cruelty-free.
Whether you choose to still buy your products from one of these companies is a personal choice that you’ll need to make your own mind up on. But I wanted to give you the facts first.
Parent Companies Who Test on Animals
There’s one further thing to be aware of. Many smaller and medium-sized cosmetics companies are owned by much larger, parent companies. Examples of this are Urban Decay, NYX and The Body Shop who are all owned by L’oreal (Lancome is also owned by L’oreal). Whilst these 3 companies themselves do not test their products on animals and are Leaping Bunny and PETA certified, their parent company L’oreal DOES test on animals.
Again, you’ll need to decide for yourself if you’re happy or not to buy products from companies who themselves don’t test on animals but whose parent company do conduct animal testing.
What should I do now?
If you’re concerned that any of the brands you currently buy from test their products on animals, the best way to check is via one of the websites above. Or to make things even easier for you, I’ve created a FREE guide with all the details in one place. This guide contains a list of brands that DO test their products on animals, as well as those that DON’T conduct animal testing.
I’ve also listed companies that don’t test on animals but whose parent company does. I’m pretty certain that you’ll be shocked by some of the brands that DO test on animals. I know I was when I first started finding out more about this very important issue. You can download your FREE Cruelty-Free Beauty Guide here.
Would you like to know more?
This is such a huge topic and I’ve really just touched on some of the basics today in order to get you started. There’s so much more I could talk about when it comes to this topic. And if you’d like, I’d be more than happy to go into greater detail about the points I’ve covered today. So please do let me know in the comments if you’d like me to talk about this issue in greater detail.
After you’ve downloaded your FREE Cruelty-Free Beauty Guide, I’d love to hear from you. Are any of your favourite brands on the nasty list who are NOT cruelty-free? Are you shocked to see them on there? Do you think this will affect how you think about these brands now? And will knowing these things stop you from buying from them in the future? I’d love to hear what you have to say in the comments below. Or feel free to send me an email here or at firstname.lastname@example.org if you prefer. I always love to hear from you. xo