How to avoid common products that use animal testing

By in Culture

It’s no secret that animal testing is a common practice among companies that sell cosmetic, self-care and home cleaning supplies, and it can be difficult to tell which companies do and which companies don’t practice animal testing in their production.

In recent years the public has come down on companies that utilize animals to test their products. For many, this has incited a need to change what they purchase animaltestingin order to show their position on animal testing. However, this decision comes with a challenge of knowing which companies are truly cruelty-free and which are not.

An indispensable tool for the cruelty-conscious can be found in the Leaping Bunny Program — an internationally recognized certification program for countries that do not allow any testing on animals. The guidelines they enforce upon their members are strict and come with the possibility of third-party cruelty audits, in order to ensure that a company does not conduct animal testing.

The Leaping Bunny Program is run by the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics which includes eight animal protection groups from both Canada and the United States. This program is free to companies willing to participate, but the initiative to join must come from the company, thus making it entirely possible for cruelty-free companies to exist outside of this list.

While the Leaping Bunny Program may not be exhaustive in its list, it’s value comes from the strict guidelines it follows so consumers know that these companies are truly cruelty-free. As an added bonus, the program also has its own smartphone app for iPhone and Android that includes the entire list as well as the option to search by barcode scanning.

There are a few noteworthy absences in the list of companies, such as Unilever, Avon and Sephora, as well as many others that are not approved by the Leaping Bunny Standard.

In the case of Unilever and Avon, there is a statement on both of their websites that they are working towards ending animal testing and have developed ways to limit the amount of animal testing done in their company, although they’re not listed on the Leaping Bunny website.

According to Avon’s website, they have faced difficulties in some countries such as China which require animal testing by law for certain “special use” products such as sunscreen, deodorant and hair dyes.

Due to the global nature of these companies, it can be difficult to circumvent these laws, leading to their products being tested on animals despite the company not requiring it. Companies such as Unilever and Avon state that they are working with governments to increase the acceptance of testing that does not require the use of animals.

Among the other 600 companies listed on Leaping Bunny, some companies that did make the list are Burt’s Bees, Badger, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, Kiss My Face, The Body Bar & Co., The Body Shop, The J.R. Watkins Co., Urban Decay and the Canadian Bath Bomb Company.

While it is possible for companies that don’t appear on this list to be cruelty-free, it is valuable to know that there are many ways for companies to advertise a cruelty-free product without it being completely true. Claims such as “cruelty-free” and “we do not test on animals” can be misleading.

This is because this claim can sometimes only apply to the finished product and not the ingredients used. Additionally, companies can make this claim and still contract other companies to conduct their animal testing for them. However, claims like these are not acceptable in order to be placed upon the Leaping Bunny list.

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Jack Thompson / Staff Writer

Graphic: Lesia Karalash / Graphics Editor