Ever since I have embarked on this journey to produce products that are natural and free from being tested on animals, I have had to learn and understand the difference between products that state “cruelty-free” vs products that claim to “not be tested on Animals”
The legalities are important especially when it comes down to your purchase decision – not only to know what these labels mean but more importantly, as a fellow manufacturer, I need to be able to back up any of my label claims.
So let’s get down to it…
The best way to explain the difference would be by use of an example:
PETA and The Leaping Bunny have listed Estee Lauder, Mac, Bobbi Brown and Revlon as non-cruelty-free brands to which they have responded with their defense being the following;
Now I get why this should be applauded. They have a vision of moving away from the trade, but the fact that they would still allow it if mandated by laws was enough to deter me. You see, these brands may not physically test on animals themselves but they will if law or regulations require it. In 2005, when they started to sell in China — a $30 billion cosmetics market — things got a bit trickier. The Chinese government required MAC, Esteer Lauder, Bobbi Brown and Revlon — as they do with all importers of cosmetics — to pay for animal testing as part of the registration process. And so whilst these brands do not own any Animal Testing labs, the fact that they pay for it when a country requires it simply means they are NOT a cruelty-free brand. It is that simple.
Here are the things to consider when purchasing products (depending on what matters most to you):
- Not tested on animals – Usually means that the finished product in its entirety has never been tested on anything but a human. Products may claim to be not tested on animals, but their claims may only refer to the finished product. As you may be aware, the majority of animal testing occurs at the ingredient level. Similarly, some companies may state, “We do not test on animals,” when in fact they merely contract other companies to do the testing. These kinds of statements are often confusing and misleading for consumers.
- Cruelty-Free – In an ideal world refers to products and ingredients that have never been tested on animals at any given point of the production journey.
- Vegan products – Refers to products that do not contain any animal derived product such as eggs and milk. Here is where things get tricky. Vegan products does not necessarily mean it has been tested on animals so brands can claim non-vegan and cruelty-free on the same label.
- Organic products – this is products that does not include a chemical component at any stage of the production. This usually means that products have a much shorter shelf life due to the nature of the ingredients used.
In a time of immensly informed purchasing decisions, I can only hope that I have helped ease the confusion that surrounds the animal testing trade and how to best tell products apart. Always read your product labels, it could be the difference between you supporting a trade that your moral mind would be conflicted about.
Over and out 😉