What is Cruelty-Free?


Animals are meant to be loved, not tortured.

Animal cruelty is far-reaching. You may be surprised to learn that most major beauty brands, household product brands, and chemical companies of all kinds take part in the horrific practice of testing on animals. It’s very unfortunate that the beauty industry is one of the biggest players in realm of animal testing. Countless animals are needlessly tortured, tormented, and even killed in the name of beauty. Obviously, that’s not beautiful!

Answering the question, “What is cruelty-free?” is no easy task. To simply answer that question, one might say that products not tested on animals are cruelty-free. But that statement is very misleading for these reasons:

  • There is very little regulation about company and product claims regarding animal testing and cruelty- free status.
  • Many companies do not test their finished products on animals but use ingredients that may have been tested on animals. These ingredients may have been tested on animals by the supplier and not necessarily the company itself.
  • Some companies allow other sources to test on animals for them.
  • Some brands are not tested on animals by the company but are sold in mainland China where animal testing is required by law….ugh!
  • A company or product line may be cruelty-free, but it’s parent company may engage in or support animal testing.

These are the main reasons that I have found that could make determining exactly what is cruelty-free difficult. But to complicate the issue further, a company’s or brand’s cruelty-free status is subject to change at any time, and many sources do not continually update their information. Therefore, inaccurate or out of date information can certainly mislead well-meaning consumers.

Here’s an example of how a brand’s cruelty-free status could change: 

Company Z manufactures makeup with only ingredients that are not tested on animals. The final product is not tested on animals. Company Z has never sold to mainland China  but suddenly decides to do so. Company Z is no longer 100 percent cruelty-free because mainland China requires makeup to be tested on animals. 

Perhaps the main reason consumers do not see the whole picture and assume that brands they use are truly cruelty-free is that a company’s animal testing policy can be misleading. Many companies have policies that state they do not engage in animal testing “except where required by law.” What that translates to is that the company sells product’s in China, where there are needless laws that require cosmetics to be tested on animals before they can be sold. That means the company either supports these tests or actually pays for these tests. All for the purpose of making money by selling to China. 

There is a program called the Leaping Bunny Program that only certifies products as cruelty-free if they meet all the criteria to make them 100 percent cruelty free. Another organization, called PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) certifies companies as cruelty-free if they meet stringent criteria regarding their products and sign a statement attesting that their products, even at the ingredient level, are cruelty-free and that they do not sell products in countries where animal testing is required.

Because a company, brand, or product is not Leaping Bunny certified or PETA certified does not mean it is not cruelty-free, but a company, product, or brand must be entirely cruelty-free in order to receive Leaping Bunny or PETA certification.

An important point to keep in also is that any company can say it is cruelty-free and can put a picture of a bunny on a product, but again, claims regarding animal testing are not regulated, so it pays to do your research and know whether the company’s claims are accurate.

The more I researched and learned about product testing and product ingredients, the more I realized that a product almost has to be vegan to be truly cruelty-free. When someone says “cruelty-free” they normally mean not tested on animals. But if animal ingredients are used in the making of a product, is is really cruelty-free? Not really, is it? 

There are exceptions to this, though. If a product contains honey, for example, as long as the bees are not harmed, I would consider it cruelty-free. But this is normally not the case. Beekeepers often kill bees purposely. They step on or crush bees in some other way. If they get stung, they usually kill the bee that did it. They will kill one queen bee if they combine two colonies. They often kill off the whole hive in the winter. Senseless and ludicrous, isn’t it? 

Just so you know, not all beekeepers are cruel to their bees, but it often takes quite a bit of research to determine which products containing honey or beeswax stem from cruelty!

I have a strong commitment to purchasing and using only those products that are 100 percent cruelty-free, and if I promote or recommend a product on this site, rest assured it will be cruelty-free to the best of my knowledge.

I will also try to keep up with the ever-changing beauty product industry and with status changes of products promoted on this site. I will do my best to give you the most up-to-date information I can find. 

Please note that all the products I talk about are not vegan, but I will tell you which ones are and which ones are not. I never purchase cosmetics that test animals, and I am making a conscious effort to purchase those that are vegan more often than not.

What Can You Do?

 How can you take part in opposing the testing of products on animals? There are several things you can do:

1. Stop purchasing brands that are tested on animals. You can send a strong message monetarily to companies that allow their brands to to be tested on animals. Purchase only brands that are cruelty-free. Make sure the company maintains a policy against animal testing that includes not selling products in China.

2. Be a voice for animals. Spread the word about animal testing, companies that test on animals, and cruelty-free alternatives. Tell others about this website, and share posts and pages you find informative and helpful.

3. Sign petitions in favor of eliminating the testing of products on animals.

4. Stay up-to-date on the latest news regarding animal testing.

5. Switch to cruelty-free products and review your favorite product brands often to make sure the companies still maintain a cruelty-free stance. Keep in mind you do not have to throw away your old brands and purchase everything new and cruelty-free at the same time. As you run out of a product that has been tested on animals, simply purchase a cruelty-free replacement. 

I also encourage you to do research for yourself, and if you find any discrepancies or pertinent information that may be relevant the purpose of this site that I may not already be aware of, please contact me through the contact form provided.

For the Love of Animals,