Shopping for cruelty-free products can be rewarding, but often overwhelming. Several companies label their product as “cruelty-free” when, in fact, animal testing or animal cruelty is involved in the production. So how do you know when a product is truly animal friendly?

What Does Cruelty-Free Mean?

This seems to be where the standards of companies differ from the standards of consumers. According to the Group for the Education of Animal Related Issues, in order for a product to truly be “cruelty-free” it must:

  1. Not have been tested on animals
  2. Not contain ingredients that were tested on animals
  3. Not contain animal ingredients

Unfortunately, although many companies do not always meet these standards, they still place a “cruelty-free” label on their product anyway. Products wear labels that read, “This Product was not Tested on Animals” when in actuality the ingredients themselves were tested on animals.

Keep in mind that a "cruelty-free" company does not necessarily employ a cruelty-free supplier.

Common Animal Ingredients

  • Amino acids
  • Beeswax
  • Benzoic Acid
  • Collagen
  • Lanolin
  • Stearic Acid
  • Triglyceride

Check the Ingredients

A product that is truly animal friendly will not use ingredients from animals. However, many companies do, in fact, use animals ingredients given that they are usually cheaper and more accessible than synthetic or vegetable-derived ingredients. Before purchasing a product that claims to be “cruelty-free,” read over the ingredients to be sure of its contents.

Look for the Leaping Bunny

There are no laws that govern the labeling of cruelty-free products, so exercise caution when shopping. Companies can put “cruelty-free” on their products in order to appeal to the masses without having to meet any standards. This is because there are no laws that enforce a company to meet real cruelty-free standards.

The CCIC is a group of eight animal protection groups that came together to create the Leaping Bunny logo. They are one of the most trusted organizations fighting for animal rights. If you see the Leaping Bunny, it means that no animal testing was conducted by the company or its supplier.However, the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC) completes in-depth, on-site audits before certifying a company as being “cruelty-free.”

Final thoughts

In the end, do your research before investing in any product that claims to be “cruelty-free.” Investigate the ingredients, the manufacturer, and the supplier of your products.

It isn't an easy task, but it sure is a worthwhile one, and with a little knowledge, our furry friends will be safer in the coming tomorrows.