The label “cruelty-free” is sadly unregulated. This means any company can virtually call their products “cruelty-free” and mislead consumers into thinking they are buying a product that is free of animal experimentation and testing.
To help you fully understand what it means for a brand to be ‘cruelty-free’, I’ve created this practical guide so that you don’t get duped into supporting a company that chooses to intentionally hurt animals.
Is “Cruelty-Free” and “Not Tested On Animals” the same thing?
Yes, the general definition for “cruelty-free” means that the product and its ingredients were not tested on animals.
Is that it?
We wish it was that simple! Unfortunately, a company’s animal testing policy is not just a yes or no statement.
There are several layers to investigate before we can acknowledge whether a brand is truly 100% cruelty-free and does not contribute to the millions of animals used in product testing each year.
Peeling Back The Layers
We need to ask companies specific questions about the process in which they make their products, source ingredients, and also distribute their products. Here are the questions we ask companies before determining if they are 100% cruelty-free:
- does the company tests their products on animals?
- does the company tests their ingredients on animals?
- does the company commission any third parties to tests their products or ingredients on animals on their behalf?
- do their ingredient suppliers test on animals? How do they verify this?
- finally, do they sell in countries that require products to be tested on animals by law?
If a company answers no to all of the above and can assure you that their ingredient suppliers does not test on animals, then it is safe to say that YES! They are a cruelty-free brand!
Selling in China
A company can meet all of the above cruelty-free credentials but sell their products in China, where it is required by law that products must be tested on animals before they are sold in their country. Until China changes their animal testing requirements, any brand that is available for sale in China is not cruelty-free.
Non-Cruelty-Free Parent Company
One last point to consider is whether the brand is owned by a parent company that does tests on animals. Some people have chosen to boycott brands solely because they are owned by a non-cruelty-free company although they meet all of the cruelty-free credentials including not selling in China.
This is a personal decision that we encourage you to draw your own opinions and conclusions about.
Asking specific questions will ensure the company and its products are truly cruelty-free and will help you in deciding what companies you choose to support and where your money goes!