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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-certified-Cruelty-Free2

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-Cruelty-Free-Certified

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-Certified-Logo

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?

30 Responses
  • Bev
    December 11, 2018

    Great comparison chart, it would have been great if you would have included the fees each charge to apply and then the fees they charge to use their logo on a companies products. You would think that the more thorough an assessment the more it would cost to be accredited/certified. which is understandable given the amount of time required to do that. I manage a certification trademark and some of our applications take many, many hours to assess and complete as we have to be extremely thorough. Thanks for this chart.

  • Niv
    December 11, 2018

    Why is South Africa’s ‘Beauty Without Cruelty’ org not on the list.
    Check them out.

  • Aleksandra
    May 18, 2018

    I looked at PETA’s website and it would appear that their requirements are different now.
    1. “All companies that are included on PETA’s cruelty-free list have signed PETA’s statement of assurance or submitted a statement verifying that neither they nor their ingredient suppliers conduct, commission, or pay for any tests on animals for ingredients, formulations, or finished products.” – this does mention the suppliers.
    2. “Company representatives […] must complete a short questionnaire and 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.” – however, there’s nothing about whether the companies check that their suppliers don’t test at all, only that they don’t commission the tests for themselves.
    3. “Companies are putting their integrity on the line when they respond to consumers. 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.” – lol. Yeah right, integrity, like that would actually harm a company. And who would catch them lying? I still can’t see anything about PETA conducting audits, so it seems this hasn’t changed.
    4. “”Working for Regulatory Change” is a category that recognizes companies that test on animals only when required by law, that are completely transparent with PETA about which animal tests they conduct and why, and that are actively working to promote development, validation, and acceptance of non-animal methods.” – well, they put them on a separate list.

    What do you think about this? Maybe there is an update needed? Do you think PETA’s list is more credible now? Although I see brands with unclear statements (such as listed by LH on the avoid or grey list!) or owned by testing brands, like Burt’s Bees. It tells you the parent company’s name, but nothing apart from that, so if someone doesn’t know what this means, they will be fooled by the “This company is cruelty-free! It does NOT test on animals.” – no, it’s NOT cruelty free if it’s owned by Clorox. I don’t know. I wonder what your take on this is!

What do you think?

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