With more people becoming more aware of our effect on the world it’s no wonder that people have been looking for ethical companies. A movement that has been gaining a lot of momentum is the cruelty-free and plant-based lifestyle movement. This is a movement primarily involving not hurting the environment or any animals.
Most people in this movement look for vegan or vegetarian products that are good in general but are often misled thinking that these products might not be cruelty-free. Today we will look into what cruelty-free is to make sure you’re not getting scammed.
What Is Cruelty-Free?
The commonly accepted meaning of cruelty-free is that the product and its ingredients are not tested on animals. But, according to the FDA, there is no legal definition for a company to use the word cruelty-free. Here’s what they say “There is no legal definition for these (cruelty-free/ no animal testing) terms. Some companies may apply such claims solely to their finished product cosmetic products.
However, some companies may rely on raw materials suppliers or contract laboratories to perform necessary to substantiate product or ingredient safety. Other cosmetic companies may rely on combinations of scientific literature, non-animal testing, raw material safety testing, or controlled human use testing to substantiate their product safety.”
This makes it incredibly hard for consumers to find products that align with their values and is also just crazy to think that this market, which would be relatively easy to track, would be monitored or at least given a legal definition.
They do clarify at the end stating that many raw materials were tested on animals years ago when they first came out but companies base their cruelty-free claims based on the fact that the materials are no longer tested. So that could make a grey area but it should fall on what is tested on animals in recent years.
Is Cruelty-Free Vegan?
This is a common misconception that I learned when I switched my skincare over to greener products. When I began to look into the ingredients in products more often than not the item isn’t vegan as they’ll use milk or some animal byproducts. With that being said, cruelty-free does not mean vegan, a product can still use animal products and be cruelty-free. Vegan products mean no animals or animal byproducts are used in the making of the products. 1
How Do You Know If A Brand Is Cruelty-free?
When it comes to telling if a brand is truly cruelty-free look into the ingredients. As a starting point, you can go to the Ethical Elephant of Cruelty Free bunny and check. They each have their vetting process and see what the brand’s standings are. They will guide you in the right direction, these are the sites that I used when I was first starting and learning about some brands.
You can then go deeper and deeper into the ingredients and see what ingredients are cruelty free and all that. The key is to be an informed shopper and not just follow the labels or what the brands say since we know they can say cruelty free and not need to verify that.
What To Be On The Look Out For?
If you want to start transitioning to cruelty free products here’s what you should look out for.
- The cruelty free bunny logo – companies have to pay and meet certain criteria to use this logo and they can’t just say they are.
- Look it up online- some companies aren’t able to put a logo on their packaging due to space but you can still verify online. Make sure the site you’re looking at is a cruelty-free site like leaping bunny, and ethical elephant, which are amazing resources.
- Check the brand’s website and see what its stance is on animal testing.