Beauty products

Are your beauty products cruelty-free? 3 certifications against animal testing

The problem with cruelty-free labels in beauty products is that there is no official definition or regulatory body that decides whether a brand is worthy of the label. Almost any company can label their packaging “cruelty-free” if the end product is not tested on animals, even if the testing has been done by third parties or on ingredients in its supply chain. .

How do you know if the products you are using are truly cruelty-free? Three certifications dedicated to reviewing beauty products, practices and ingredients can help you make the right choice.

The Leaping Bunny certification is arguably the most recognizable cruelty-free cosmetic label in the United States. The iconic encompassing rabbit graphic that is the certification logo is found on more than 2,100 US products. The equivalent certification for non-US and Canadian companies is Cruelty Free International.

Beauty Without Bunnies is a separate label from the nonprofit People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which covers similar ground with a few key differences.

Rabbit jumping

Leaping Bunny has been around since 1996, when eight animal welfare groups came together to form the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics, which manages the Leaping Bunny program.

Animal rights groups that have formed the coalition include the American Anti-Vivisection Society, Animal Alliance of Canada, Beauty Without Cruelty, Doris Day Animal League, Humane Society of the United States, National Anti-Vivisection Society, Rise for Animals, and Cruelty Free International.

The Leaping Bunny certification applies to beauty products such as cosmetics, skin care and personal care, as well as household products such as cleaning products, fruit and vegetable cleaners and perfumes. interior.

Certification criteria

According to the Leaping Bunny website, to become certified, “companies must commit to ending animal testing at all stages of product development, in addition to re-committing to the program each year and being open to audits by third parties “.

The certification criteria are very detailed and detailed on the Leaping Bunny site, but in summary, companies commit to six main obligations:

  1. Do not conduct, commission or be a party to animal testing, including product ingredients.
  2. Do not buy any third party ingredients, formulations, or products that have been involved in animal testing.
  3. Have a system in place to monitor suppliers and ingredients.
  4. Do not allow animal testing on products in foreign countries.
  5. Submit a request for approval to the organization.
  6. Re-commit to the above each year, including submitting details of their vendor monitoring system. If a company achieves less than $ 10 million in gross sales each year, it must accept an independent audit with an accredited firm.

It is important to note that this certification does not indicate that the product or ingredients are vegan or animal free. Vegan products are a separate certification, and Leaping Bunny only focuses on animal testing.

Fees for Leaping Bunny certification are determined based on the annual gross sales of the business.

Key Definitions

According to Leaping Bunny, animal testing is defined as tests in which “whole non-human animals are the test subjects, including, without limitation, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and non-human mammals. . Animal testing excludes in vitro testing or testing. conducted entirely with human volunteers.

The Supplier Monitoring System is how a company monitors its manufacturers and third-party suppliers, a process that must take place at least once a year to “ensure that they haven’t performed or ordered any tests on them. animals. Suppliers to watch should include the original manufacturer of the ingredient. ”

How to Identify Leaping Bunny Products

Only products that have passed the certification process for Leaping Bunny are allowed to use the logo on their packaging. If a label says “cruelty free” but does not have the logo, it is not certified by the organization.

International cruelty-free

This UK-based organization strives to end animal testing worldwide and has been doing this work for over 100 years. They do this by investigating and exposing the lives of laboratory animals, and working with leaders to change policies regarding animal testing in science. The organization believes that “there is no ethical justification for the use of animals in the experiments.”

The other part of their job is to help non-US and Canadian companies achieve Leaping Bunny certification, so the certification is the same as Leaping Bunny, but approved through Cruelty Free International.

Beauty without rabbits

This is the certification of the non-profit animal rights organization PETA for cruelty-free products. PETA has been running this label since 1987, when it started with a few mail order companies. They have now checked out thousands of manufacturers of “cosmetics, personal care products, household cleaning products and other common household items,” according to the PETA website.

It is important to note that there are two labels in the certification of PETA:

  1. Without testing on animals in the world: companies / brands have verified that they do not “perform, order, pay for or allow any animal testing for their ingredients, formulations or finished products anywhere in the world and will never do so at the future”.
  2. Global without animal testing and vegan: This recognizes the same requirements as above and also that the entire product line is free from ingredients of animal origin.

Certification criteria

To be Global Animal Test-Free certified, a brand must verify that neither it nor its suppliers authorize animal testing (according to PETA’s broad definition). This rule also applies to suppliers, specifically, it means that companies are “obligated to have agreements in place with their suppliers ensuring that suppliers will never proceed, once the agreement is signed, perform, commission, pay for, or authorize animal testing for ingredients purchased by the company or brand. ”

According to PETA, ingredients that have been tested on animals in the past can be used since the story cannot be changed. Certification is a commitment to a strict ban on animal testing for ingredients and end products from the time they are approved by PETA for certification.

To be Global Animal Test-Free and Vegan certified, in addition to the above requirements, the company must also “refuse to use ingredients of animal origin, such as honey, beeswax or carmine, in its products “.

An important difference between this certification and Leaping Bunny is that brands complete a questionnaire and submit a statement attesting to all of the above, signed by the CEO of the company, but the claims are not verified by a third party.

Likewise, PETA does not require documentation from a brand’s suppliers, just agreements with them. There are no regular audits / checks on the declarations made and there is no annual re-engagement. This certification really relies on the honesty of the company submitting their details to PETA.

The one-time cost to use the Beauty Without Bunnies logo is $ 350, but submission of documents to be verified by PETA is free.

What about the Choose Cruelty Free logo?

This was a fourth certification for cruelty-free products, but on June 1, 2021, it merged with Cruelty Free International.

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