The term Cruelty-Free was first coined in the 1950s and it is still used today to refer to a product which has not been tested on animals. Thanks to this campaign and this phrase, there has been a growing interest year on year in cruelty-free products.
However, how can consumers be sure which products are cruelty-free, and which are not?
Luckily there are three organizations, and their cruelty-free bunny logos, which make shopping for kind beauty products that bit easier. I have outlined the differences between the three, to make it easier for you to shop cruelty-free.
The Top Three Cruelty-Free Organizations
These three organizations are the owners of the cruelty-free bunny logos above. In this article we will dive into how brands are accredited as cruelty-free, and also what the differences and similarities are between these three bunny logo organizations.
1. Leaping Bunny
Regarded as the gold standard of cruelty-free beauty is the Leaping Bunny program. It is the only logo which is internationally recognized. This logo guarantees that the companies they recommend are 100% cruelty-free. So you can rest assured that no animals were tested on when purchasing a brand that displays this logo.
Criteria for Leaping Bunny Certified Companies:
A company must demonstrate that it can follow the core criteria listed below before they should apply for Leaping Bunny certification:
- They must decide on a date, which is fixed, from which none of the ingredients or products they make will ever be tested on animals.
- Install procedures within the supply chain (including suppliers and manufacturers) which will verify the strict implementation of a no animal testing policy on all products and ingredients from this fixed cut off date.
- Adopt a no animal testing pledge and policy, this will be verified by Cruelty Free International.
- Welcome independent, random audits to be performed on the supply chain, to ensure that there is a full compliance with the Leaping Bunny Program criteria at all times.
Steps to Becoming a Leaping Bunny Certified Company:
Step 1: A company must fill out an online form detailing why they want to join the program, they also must introduce Cruelty-Free International to their products.
Step 2: The company receives the application pack and they start a discussion with Cruelty-Free International relaying any questions about the process.
Step 3: The company must then start the process of setting up the monitoring systems, and once they have completed that they then send on their completed application.
Step 4: Now the company must wait to receive the news they have been approved. If their application is rejected they will be given feedback as to why.
Step 5: Upon approval, a company will be helped towards the finalization of their application and the launch of their now approved cruelty-free brand to the public.
The Cost of Certification:
It is free for companies to apply and then get certified. Once they are certified they will then appear on the Leaping Bunny shopping guide. However, if a brand wishes to have the Leaping Bunny logo displayed on their packaging, they then need to pay a one time fee. This fee varies as the price is based on what each brand is able to afford.
2. Choose Cruelty-Free
Choose Cruelty-Free (often abbreviated to CCF) is an Australian based non-profit working to eliminate animal testing worldwide. They are a trusted resource for when consumers want to shop cruelty-free.
Criteria for Choose Cruelty-Free Companies:
All the criteria below must be true for a company before they can start the application process for certification with CCF:
- The company must be a producer of cosmetics, personal care, or/and household products.
- The company must have been established for at least one year.
- The company must have an ABN, which is an Australian Business Number.
- The company must have its own business email, along with its own website.
- The manufacturers of the products, along with all other corporations related to the company (this includes parent companies) must adhere to one of the following:
- That they have never tested on animals.
- That it has been at least five years since they have been involved in animal testing.
Steps to Becoming a Choose Cruelty-Free Certified Company:
Step 1: A company must fill out a short online form before they can start the process.
Step 2: Once the criteria is met, they are required to fill out a detailed questionnaire.
Step 3: Supply Choose Cruelty-Free with signed legally binding guarantees and information from suppliers and manufacturers regarding the ingredients and formulations of their products. These agreements state that no animal testing has every taken place, or that it has been at least five years since animal testing has ceased to take place within the supply chain.
Companies which have been accredited by CCF, are asked to undergo re-accreditation on a regular basis. If a company denies to be re-accredited, then they are removed from the approved company list and added to the Removed From CCF List. Not a good look for any brand, so it is a good deterrent for brands to only apply if they are willing to remain cruelty-free.
Restrictions On Some Animal Byproducts:
Choose Cruelty-Free is the only one of the three that puts restrictions on brands using certain animal byproducts. It does not mean that they only certify vegan brands. Instead brands must not use ingredients which are:
- Taken from wildlife.
- Byproducts of the cruel fur industry.
- Forcibly taken from animals which were alive, but in order to get the ingredient they felt discomfort or pain.
- Taken from animals which had to be killed in order to get it.
- The byproduct of the slaughterhouse industry, and said ingredients are considered to be valuable.
3. Peta : Beauty Without Bunnies
Peta’s Beauty Without Bunnies has two versions of their logo, both versions are still in use. This bunny logo is considered to be the least trustworthy of the three logos, this is due to the fact that companies are not expected to provide proof that they do not test on animals. Peta also does not monitor the companies to see if they are complying with the no animal testing pledge.
Criteria for Peta: Beauty Without Bunnies Companies:
The below criteria must be met before a company applies to become a Peta certified company:
- The company makes cosmetic, personal care and/or household products.
- The company does not test any of its ingredients or products on animals at any stage of the supply chain.
- The company does not sell its products in countries (ie. mainland China) where animal testing is required by law.
Steps to Becoming a Peta: Beauty Without Bunnies Certified Company:
Peta: Beauty Without Bunnies & Vegan
Does Vegan mean Cruelty-Free?
The simple answer is no. Just because a brand claims to be vegan does not mean that they are cruelty-free. However, often a brand with a true vegan ethos will also make sure that their products are cruelty-free as well. Remember that veganism is the exclusion of animal byproducts and animal exploitation as much as possible. Animal testing is very much animal exploitation.
But make sure to always double check if a brand claiming to be vegan is also 100% cruelty-free, the bunny logos will always help guide you to which brands to choose.
If you would like to learn more about other vegan logos on products, check out my Vegan Logos article.