In honor of April being Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month, we’ve created a guide to shopping cruelty-free products! With current regulations and product marketing, deciphering whether a company truly uses cruelty-free methods is difficult. Thankfully, there are measures in place to prevent companies from dishonestly misrepresenting their brand, and guidelines which help consumers choose the most ethically created products on the market.
What can you do as a consumer?
1. Look for the Leaping Bunny icon
To gain approval, along with the Leaping Bunny icon, companies must comply with the terms necessary to achieving the Leaping Bunny Standard. In order to reach the standard, products must be 100% free of any animal testing– especially “new” animal testing. The companies’ suppliers must also make the same pledge to be approved for the Leaping Bunny’ recognition.
The Leaping Bunny logo guarantees a high standard of product creation quality, especially considering the federal standards companies in the US and Canada. While companies are generally allowed to market their products as “cruelty-free,” the term doesn’t carry nearly as many restrictions as the Leaping Bunny does. This means that “cruelty-free” doesn’t always mean “cruelty-free.” However, products that carry the Leaping Bunny Logo are guaranteed to be genuinely cruelty-free. You can view the list of approved companies here, or click here for Leaping Bunny’s Frequently Asked Questions page.
2. Follow trusted guides
Just as Leaping Bunny provides a list of approved companies, there are other organizations that do the same thing. One of these is the Shop With Your Heart Brand List— a list that is approved by ASPCA, or the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The list provides trusted food producers that are cruelty-free approved, and has an easy-to-follow guide where you can check ethical qualities by specific food type.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, has a list of ethically sourced and vegan beauty companies, which you can find here. PETA-approved companies aren’t held to quite as high standards as Leaping Bunny, so be sure to do extra research into material sourcing and manufacturing of each brand before you buy.
3. Read product labels
Be careful when it comes to the term “cruelty-free”– according to Leaping Bunny, it doesn’t always mean what you think it means. The words “cruelty-free” can represent a wide spectrum of meanings, each held to different standards. Reading product labels for specifics will give you a clearer picture as to which companies are actually as transparent as they claim to be. The FDA doesn’t regulate the use of “cruelty-free,” “not tested on animals,” or “this finished product not tested on animals” rhetoric. Just because the finished product wasn’t tested on animals doesn’t mean that one of the ingredients was tested on animals (somewhere else by a different company before being added to the finished product).
4. Be aware of listed ingredients
Look into ingredients and treatments of the products you consume and purchase. Ethical brands and companies must comply with federal regulations, but there are still loopholes in the system. Finding where each ingredient is sourced from will guide you to other companies where you can inspect their regulations. If sourced ingredients contain high regulations, you’re good to go!
5. Read company policies
If you have the time to look into each company’s specific policies, do so! You’ll be able to find out quickly which companies are transparent and open about their sourcing and creating of products, and which companies are not. If you’re still not sure about the company after scouring the internet for answers, crueltyfreekitty.com’s article How to Find Out if a Company is Cruelty-Free has easy-to-follow tips.