What Does It Mean to Be Cruelty-Free?

Cruelty Free

by guest blogger Amanda Harding, copywriter at Rodale’s

Cute, fluffy bunnies don’t need to suffer for the sake of beauty.

Myth: Animal testing is required by law.

Myth: The animals don’t really suffer.

Myth: There are no alternatives to animal testing.

Truth: There are plenty of high-quality, effective, cruelty-free beauty and skincare products available today.

So what does cruelty-free really mean? It means that no animals were harmed or tested on during the manufacturing or development of the product. As with all product claims, it’s important to read the fine print when shopping. Sometimes companies identify themselves as “cruelty-free” or assure they don’t use animal testing, but those distinctions may only apply to the finished products. The ingredients within might actually have been tested on animals. Some companies go so far as to design their own cute bunny labels to intentionally mislead consumers!

The only way to be certain that a product is 100 percent cruelty-free and no part of it has been tested on animals is to look for a reputable certification. The two most popular and trusted certifications are PETA and Leaping Bunny.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is the largest animal rights organization in the world, with more than 3 million members and supporters and more than 1,700 cruelty-free companies in its online database.

According to PETA’s website, “All companies that are included on PETA’s cruelty-free list have signed PETA’s statement of assurance or submitted a statement verifying that neither they nor their ingredient suppliers conduct, commission, or pay for any tests on animals for ingredients, formulations, or finished products.”

As for Leaping Bunny, its website explains, “In response to inaccurate cruelty-free labeling, eight national animal-protection groups banded together to form the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC). The CCIC works with companies to help make shopping for animal-friendly products easier and more trustworthy. In order to achieve Leaping Bunny certification, no new animal testing may be used in any phase of product development by the company, its laboratories, or ingredient suppliers.”

Here’s some good news, and a way to make finding high-quality cruelty-free personal-care products easy: Every beauty and skincare item found on Rodale’s is certified cruelty-free, meaning no product or ingredient has been tested on animals. Any item that is further classified as vegan contains no animal by-products, such as beeswax or lanolin.

It’s important to make the right choices when shopping for skincare and beauty items. Always opt for certified cruelty-free products, which have the added bonus of being better for your skin (read: no harsh chemicals). Our furry friends are counting on you.

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