The Easy Way to Go Cruelty-Free
Confused by labels, rumours, company websites and impressive-looking claims about ethical policies? Want your money to go to companies that don't support animal testing? It's easy: just click here to see a list of companies which are guaranteed not to test on animals, and you can shop with a clear conscience.
That list is all you need, but if you want to know more about the list, who's on it and why, just read on.
Animal Testing for Cosmetics,
Toiletries and Household Products
The testing of cosmetics and toiletry products on animals is already banned in the UK and across the European Union, but that doesn't mean everything on the shelves is safe to buy. Since March 2009, the EU has also started to bring in a ban on the sale of cosmetics whose ingredients have been tested on animals, but loopholes mean that ban will not be complete until 11 March 2013. The ban is a huge step forward, but while animal testing for cosmetics is now very much reduced, it can still happen – read more about the new ban here.
Meanwhile, there is no law whatsoever to stop animal testing for household cleaning products. The UK government is currently considering implementing a ban on testing household cleaning products on animals. However, since such testing doesn't often take place here, it would have little effect on the number of animals used in these cruel experiments. In order to have a real impact, the government needs to implement a ban on the testing of household product ingredients, which is fraught with difficulties because of other legislation, such as the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulation.
Companies with a real commitment to stopping animal testing go above and beyond the law and don't do any tests of any ingredients on any animals. They also don't pay anyone else to do the testing for them and don't use ingredients which have been tested on animals.
The Good Guys
PETA only approves companies that have the very best policies against animal testing – companies whose policies make a real difference today, helping to stamp out animal testing and stopping animal testing in the future. The good news is that they include top high street brands such as Marks & Spencer, LUSH, Co-op and The Body Shop as well as fantastic boutique brands that are available in other shops or online. None of these companies does animal testing of any kind, and all have made a real commitment to ensure that there is no animal testing in their supply chain. Not only are their products ethical, their buying power also helps persuade supplier companies to stop animal testing.
A handful of companies – such as Procter & Gamble and Unilever – admit that they test on animals, but most of the others either dodge the issue with fancy wording or just won't say. Beware of claims like "this product is not tested on animals", which can hide the fact that ingredients are tested on animals, or "this company does not test on animals", which may simply mean the company contracts out its testing to other companies.
Unless a company has a policy in place about the ingredients it uses, it is very likely that the ingredients it buys have been tested on animals. That's why it's so important that caring consumers use their purchasing power to support companies that have strong, progressive policies which stop animal testing now and which will continue to prevent it in the future. PETA approval tells you which companies those are.
New companies are added to the cruelty-free list all the time. Some brand-new or small companies may have good policies, but they might not be approved under the HCS or HHPS yet. Not every company which isn't approved by PETA conducts animal tests or uses ingredients that have been tested on animals – but only those listed here are guaranteed to be 100 per cent cruelty-free.
Vegetarian and Vegan Products
Cosmetics and household products can contain animal ingredients. The HCS and HHPS list allows you to search for companies which are also approved by the Vegan Society and the Vegetarian Society, and LUSH has its own range of entirely vegan cosmetics. Of course, other companies may produce products which are entirely free of animal ingredients, and you can find out by checking the labels before buying any product. PETA US has a full list of animal-derived ingredients to watch out for.
Thousands of animals suffer and are killed for cosmetics testing around the world every year – and billions are also killed for food. Going vegan is healthy, humane and environmentally friendly. Those of us who care about animals, other people and the planet need to look at what we put in our mouth as well as what we put on our face!
How to Do More
Using your consumer power to make compassionate purchases is already a great way to show your opposition to animal testing. But if you want to go one step further, take part in one of our campaigns. From asking airlines to stop shipping animals to laboratories to demanding stronger legislation from governments to protect animals from tests, there are many ways to speak out. Please visit our Action Centre to find out about current vivisection action alerts.