Cruelty Free products quick guide

    20 May 2021

    Almost all the goods that Western people use in everyday life are tested on animals. From toilet paper to hand cream, all of these products, if not cruelty-free, are tested on animals.

    According to PETA, nearly 100 million animals suffer each year from cosmetics, drugs and food testing, as well as biomedical experiments in schools – and only in the United States.

    Some people use to think that only rabbits are used in laboratories, but cosmetics are also tested on dogs, cats, primates, guinea pigs and wild animals.

    Animal testing is not about applying cream to a rabbit’s paw. This is about much more brutal methods that often lead to the death of animals.

    For example, a popular experiment is the Dreise test to test the irritant properties of substances. The animals are fixed in a stationary position, various liquids are injected into their eyes, and then the reaction is observed. Most often, animals suffer from irritation, bleeding or even loss of vision.

    What besides the obvious cruelty of animal testing is so outrageous for acivists?

    There are many alternative methods. For example, they are successfully used in EU countries, where there is a ban on animal testing.

    In 2013, the European Union completely banned animal testing of cosmetics. Similar bans apply in India, Australia, Israel and Norway.

    In addition, some researchers believe that animal and cosmetic tests on animals do not guarantee that the product is safe for humans and will not cause side effects – at least because animals and humans react differently to the same substances.

    The most common alternative methods that are already actively used by manufacturers include:

    • in itro tests on a human skin model;
    • tests using a protein membrane;
    • computer simulation;
    • clinical trials on volunteers.

    Brands that do not test products on animals are called cruelty-free. The brand receives cruelty-free status under only four conditions:

    • the manufacturer does not test products on animals at any stage of production;
    • its suppliers do not test on animals the raw materials from which these cosmetics are made;
    • the brand does not test products on animals on behalf of third parties;
    • the brand does not test products in countries where required by law.

    There are several certificates that certify the cruelty-free status of cosmetics. It looks like that:

    Other, unofficial logos with rabbits, which you can see on the packaging of products, do not guarantee the ethics of the product.

    But cruelty-free labeling does not mean that cosmetics are organic, do not contain synthetic substances or are sold in zero-waste packaging.

    Also do not confuse cruelty-free cosmetics with vegan cosmetics: in the first, unlike the second, there may be components of animal origin (for example, beeswax or gelatin).

    There are several services for checking the brand for ethics. If you need to find out if the company really does not test cosmetics on animals, we advise you not to be limited to one site, but to check on all possible ones.

    PETA’s whitelist contains several hundred brands and is constantly updated.

    The Cruelty Free Kitty aggregator is updated even faster than PETA.

    In the Bunny Free application, you can search by name or scan the barcode on the package.

    And remember that buying products even under a “cruelty-free” label does not guarantee that the product doesn’t leave a carbon footprint. That is, it’s important to buy local products that are not tested on animals, otherwise you will pay for the delivery of such goods by air from the USA, Europe or Australia. Which is doubtful already from the point of view of how much fuel was burned during its delivery.

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