If there’s one thing I always end up arguing about, it’s brands who test on animals. There seems to be a fair few blurred lines between what it actually means to be cruelty-free. Here, I’m going to talk you through them.
When a company states that it’s cruelty-free, the term mightn’t have been used in the correct context. The general consensus for cruelty-free implies that a company does not test their products on animals – ANYWHERE. Their ingredients are not being tested by them, or by third party companies on their behalf. I live in the UK, and animal testing is illegal here. Therefore, if I go into a shop to purchase a beauty item, all of the sales assistants and the products’ packaging will tell me the brand is cruelty-free. And it is – but only in this area of the world. So when does this become relevant? You need to look into where else the company sells.
It’s a widely known fact now that China requires foreign products to be tested on animals. Any company who have a market in China are not cruelty-free. They will generally try to mislead you. Watch out for phrases such as “We are very much against animal testing” or “We do not test on animals”; it creates a false sense of security in the consumer in that the company themselves do not want to test, yet it doesn’t mention other people or governments doing it for them.
Any company who chooses the profit of having an international market over their morals does not care about animals. I had my heart broken by NARS recently, when they decided to open up business in China. Unfortunately, this is the way a lot of companies go when they get big enough to branch out. I will forever be a fan of Too Faced for pulling their line from Sephoras in China after finding out they were being sold there. To me, that shows strength and commitment. The list of companies who sell in animal testing regulated countries is constantly changing. Many brands have recognised it as a selling point to be cruelty-free, and again, many of them have recognised the income generated by an international market. You can find some really good cruelty-free company lists online if you’re interested in learning about who does and doesn’t sell in China.
Another point regarding cruelty-free beauty is the parent companies, and the ingredients. I am somewhat relaxed with my standards – I do buy from brands owned by a parent company that tests (as long as the brand itself does not, e.g. NYX is cruelty-free but owned by L’Oreal, who are not) and I’m not focused on vegan ingredients. I feel it’d be slightly hypocritical of me, as I’m not vegan in diet. These choices are entirely up to you. Some people wouldn’t recognise me as being cruelty-free, some would. It just depends. Do be aware though that vegan products are not necessarily cruelty-free. They may not contain animal byproducts, but they could still have been tested on animals nonetheless.
I’ve noticed that some brands get much more stick than others for animal testing. In all honesty, I have no idea why. If you go onto MAC’s Instagram page, for example, the comments are full of people talking about animal testing. It seems to be largely acknowledged, yet companies like Makeup Forever can easily post promotional photos without receiving backlash. Its quite bizarre, and shows the lack of research people do. I don’t really feel the need to bash a brand in the comments section regarding their animal testing policies, but if you’re going to start, I suppose you may as well not be a hypocrite about it.
Of course, you can always look for the cruelty-free logos. If a brand has been certified cruelty-free, you will hopefully see the Leaping Bunny or PETA symbol. These symbols work in the same way I do, the brand does not have to be vegan or owned by a cruelty-free parent brand. As long as it doesn’t test on animals it can display a logo. There are other logos out there too, but not all are official. These are the most popular ones.
Left: PETA’s symbol, Right: Leaping Bunny
Do bear in mind that just because a brand is not certified yet they may still be cruelty-free. If the company is relatively new, or has just stopped selling in places such as China, they may still be awaiting the certification to come through.
If you’ve been considering adopting a more cruelty-free lifestyle but don’t know where to begin, I really do hope this post helped in some way. Remember that you need to make up your own mind as to what suits you, and not to let others belittle you for your choices. I have had people talk down to me in the past for not being vegan, or for ignoring parent companies regulations, and I have to remind myself that I am trying to support all cruelty-free brands regardless of these things. Not only because I appreciate their care for animals, but also to prevent them from looking for an audience elsewhere and losing their status. Try to make the small changes where you can. It’s all appreciated!
Thanks for reading,