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Which Cruelty Free Bunny Logos Can We Trust?

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Not all bunny logos are the same. I always like to remind caring consumers to be aware of which cruelty free bunny logos to trust. There are unofficial bunny logos that hold no credibility or legitimacy as they’re regulated by the same people who are trying to sell you their products.

Then there are certified cruelty-free bunny logos where a third party organization regulates who gets to use them and the standards they must meet. But each certification has their unique set of standards, application process, and monitoring systems in place.

This is frustrating because it leads us to wonder who can we really trust? This comparison guide will help clarify the differences so that you can better understand who to trust. Comparing the different certified cruelty free bunny logos and asking who can we really trust?

I compare the three most common certified cruelty-free bunny logos found in Canada and the U.S: Leaping Bunny, PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies, and Choose Cruelty Free.


PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies

With over 1,900 brands certified by PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies Program, this makes it one of the most well-known cruelty-free programs. Applicants must fill out an 8 question, Q&A and sign a statement of assurance provided by PETA.

No testing or monitoring is performed, therefore the legitimacy of PETA’s cruelty-free logo depends on the honesty and accuracy of written statements. Companies also do not have to be re-accredited once they’re approved and PETA states in an email response, they “try to keep abreast of changes occurring within companies (e.g. if a company is acquired by a new parent company or starts selling in China). PETA’s lists are updated frequently to reflect any additions, removals, or other changes.”

Limitations with PETA’s Cruelty-Free Standards 

However I have seen a number of brands that are certified cruelty-free by PETA but state in their animal testing policy that they do not test on animals, except when required by law. Animal testing is not required in Canada and the U.S. but in certain countries (like China) or in certain circumstances (to test for other concerns not related to cosmetics) testing on animals may be required.

For example. Smashbox states on their website’s FAQ that they “don’t test on animals, nor ask others to test on [their] behalf, except where required by law.” But Smashbox remains to be certified cruelty-free by PETA and listed under their  ‘companies DO NOT test on animals’.

Another important note to make is that PETA claims their cruelty-free standards ensure suppliers of certified companies do not conduct, commission, or pay for any tests on animals for ingredients, formulations, or finish products. However I have reviewed their application process and applicants only have to state an agreement exist with their suppliers that no animal testing is performed. But PETA does not require any proof of written statements, agreement, contract, or signed documents with their suppliers in order to be certified cruelty-free.

Suzi from Cruelty Free Kitty actually caught this discrepancy where a PETA certified brand blatantly told her that they cannot confirm that none of their suppliers test on animals.


Leaping Bunny

Leaping Bunny is an internationally recognized certification program and what sets Leaping Bunny apart from other cruelty-free programs is their strict no animal testing standards, Supplier Monitoring System, and their mandatory audits.

Their Supplier Monitoring System requires companies to show and submit proof of documents that each of their suppliers comply with Leaping Bunny’s standards.

Leaping Bunny also does not allow applicants to distribute their products in foreign markets that require animal testing (such as China). Certified brands must also recommit annually and companies may require to be audited to ensure they meet Leaping Bunny’s standards.

However Leaping Bunny does certify brands that are owned by a parent company that tests on animals (e.g. Urban Decay, Tom’s of Maine) but they ensure that these brands “must promise to operate as stand-alone subsidiaries with their own supply chains and must continue to meet the requirements of the Leaping Bunny Standard in order to remain on our list” (Source: Leaping Bunny)


Choose Cruelty Free

Choose Cruelty Free (CCF) is an independent, non-profit organization based in Australia but CCF accredited brands have an international presence so you may have seen the CCF bunny logo on a number of products in North America.

CCF currently has over 250 accredited brands and they have different standards compared to Leaping Bunny and PETA. Most notably, CCF does not accredit brands that are owned or related to a non-cruelty-free company and they have some restrictions on the use of certain animal ingredients.

CCF requires accredited brands to sign a legally binding contract to guarantee the statements made on their applications are true. Applicants must also provide written statements from their raw ingredient suppliers that clearly states all ingredients they supply to the applicant is not tested on animals.

CCF does not conduct annual audits since they are too small of an organization (with one employee and a small team of 6 volunteers!) however they do require companies to be re-accredited. There is no set timeframe for re-accreditation but they do this regularly as resources allow or when companies introduce new products.

Final Words

I want to make a point here that there isn’t a right or wrong way of going about making cruelty-free and kinder choices. To each his own and if you feel comfortable with supporting PETA and their standards, then no one should convince you otherwise of doing what you feel is right for yourself.

I believe it’s important to know the difference between each of these certified cruelty-free standards and then making an informed decision thereafter! =)

Now that’s out of the way, let me know in the comments below which of these certified bunny logos and organizations do you trust?

25 Responses
  • Josie
    March 18, 2017

    I wish to promote cruelty free in my hometown
    Wonder if I can repost your table comparing the three cruelty free logos to my Facebook page?

    • Faith Keolker
      May 18, 2017

      Great article, thanks for clarifying! I have a website promoting cruelty free beauty and fragrance, and I just got asked how to distinguish between the “cruelty free” logos and what the differences are. I have already done some research on this and have posted about it, but your blog is more detailed. I will mention your blog in my reply to my poster.

  • Rhonda Nelson
    October 29, 2016

    I have been an advocate for and consumer of cruelty free products for at least 15 years. I am so thrilled the issue has become so much more mainstream and cruelty free products are so much easier to find now! However, there is still a long way to go! I still have people laugh when I say I only buy products that are cruelty free or people ask “why would a company test (fill in the blank) on animals?”. I think both reactions are because people simply do not realize the majority of household and personal care products are tested on animals. So thank you for your website. You are helping get the word out! Like a previous poster, if I can’t find the animal testing policy for a company online, I email the company directly to find out. If they respond that they do not have a cruelty free policy, I respond asking them to consider and state I am unable to use their products until they are cruelty free. Lastly, when I first started purchasing cruelty free I always used the PETA list as my guide. However, I have since looked for any of the three or direct correspondence with the company. Now that I see the differences on your website, I will certainly be looking more for the Leaping Bunny logo and using that list. Thank you for what you do!!

  • Yakwa Nawah Machir
    June 30, 2016

    Pure Power Panda Tweeted you, I got Gmail Notification; checked earlier. Was about cosmetics. I was confused at first, was thinking Panda started this website; until I read About Ethical Elephant. Interesting article, look forward to listening to what you have to say about Veganism.

  • Ado
    May 13, 2016

    About unofficial bunny logos:
    Even when (arguably) most people prefer cruelty free products, many still want animal testing, so it is a bit of a gamble for a company to use such logo, if they are not been honest with what they really do.
    Still, better that than nothing, I guess, if things come to worst.

  • Linda Hanley
    May 6, 2016

    I think people should try to encourage China to end all animal testing. However, having said that and doing business in China, I know first hand how absolutely overwhelming that will be. The views on animals in China by many people I have come in contact with in certain parts of China vary wildly from animals being seen as just a food source to those that are more in line with the views held on this website. You would be hard pressed to find many vegans in China. There are cultural reasons for this as well that are centuries old. I think the key is in educating younger people who are studying abroad as they bring information back to their country. As you know information access is limited in China. Reaching out to young people studying in other countries is our best bet. Regarding the guidelines above. How upsetting to know that they are so varied. I feel that one is constantly trying not to fail. I’m getting to the point that I just do my own activism. If I want to know the policies of a company I just email them directly for my own knowledge and share that info with friends. I think we all have to take responsibility for our own actions and hope that people will do the same even if it take a lot of time. I also think that tolerance on all fronts is best. If I get a response that I am not happy with I write back and kindly tell them that I cannot consume their product while animal testing is in place. Money is a great motivator. Thanks for the website.

    • Vicky Ly
      May 6, 2016

      I loved reading your response, Linda! Thank you for sharing your insight on this complex issue. I wholeheartedly agree with you, my cultural background is part Chinese where a quarter of my family is from China so I understand the struggle of trying to get them to see why animal testing or even eating animals isn’t morally justified nowadays.

      and you bring up such a valid point of how we should educate younger people who are studying abroad with the hopes that they’ll bring the information back to their country and influence within… I know this will surely make a difference in the long-term.

      it’s also great to hear that you’re actively involved in reaching out to companies and hearing them out and then sharing that information with your friends. I hands down believe that our purchasing power is going to help change things faster than waiting around for laws and regulations to be put into place!

  • Maria
    May 5, 2016

    Hello from Poland ( the heart of Europe )! In my country, PETA guidelines are generally not trusted by vegans. I personally rely on the Leaping Bunny logo. I do realise that they certify brands that are owned by a cruel parent company, but at least those brands are clearly marked on their list.

    • Vicky Ly
      May 6, 2016

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Maria! I love hearing from cruelty-free shoppers all around the world and which CF logos they trust! =)

      I think that is the general consensus about PETA, lots of caring consumers in Canada and the US have the same thoughts as you. But I think most people just starting out like to rely on a broader list so that they have more options to choose from. But when they become more comfortable and get the hang of shopping cruelty-free.. they usually rely on other means aside from PETA’s list.

      And I think PETA does mark which of their certified brands are owned by a parent company that does test on animals. They usually have it right next to the brand name… like Urban Decay (L’Oreal) <--- But then again, users have to know that L'Oreal tests on animals. So again, it's not always crystal clear...

  • Susan Hager
    February 25, 2016

    I feel most comfortable relying on the Leaping Bunny logo to best ensure my use of cruelty free products. It can sometimes be challenging, particularly when it comes to make up.

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