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(Photo credit: Verge Campus )

Animal rights advocates describe cruelty-free as a classification for activities or products that do not kill or harm animals. Any merchandise tested on animals is not given this label because such tests cause pain, sufferings, or death to millions of animals annually worldwide.


The People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has gone farther to provide more accurate information by making use of the cruelty-free terminology for corporate organizations that signed its Statement of Assurance. These enterprises confirmed they or their suppliers do not perform tests on animals for ingredients, preparations, or finished products globally, and will not carry out these activities in the future. You can read more about this topic at https://www.peta2.com/vegan-life/what-does-cruelty-free-mean/.

The PETA  stated in its website that the Agency maintains a list of corporations that conduct and do not conduct tests. The listing consists of brands that offer skin care, cosmetics, household, and common consumer items.

No specific law in the United States requires individuals or organizations to test said commodities on animals. However, some unscrupulous owners or managers of corporations pay for experiments that torture or kill these poor creatures. The main reason is to allow them to export their goods to China. Consumers can help by supporting these companies to manufacture products without causing harm to animals.

Cruelty-Free Definition

The public should know that Cruelty-Free and Not Tested on Animals tags do not always mean what consumers understand. The Food and Drug Administration or any other government agency does not define or prescribes standards for their use. Companies have the prerogative to determine the labels’ meaning. Stakeholders such as scientists who support the advocacy believe the uncertainty makes the labels worthless.

Majority of ingredients present in today’s products were tested on animals even if the final commodity did not go through any form of testing. Manufacturers may not have performed the task but used the services of suppliers. The supplier could have performed that task abroad where statutes for the protection of animals are less stringent. The checks were made within the last 10 or 20 years and can be conducted again in the future.

No official or government-authorized cruelty-free label exists. Responsible consumers must make difficult decisions for merchandise manufactured by businesses that do not test animals but depend on data collected elsewhere. So far, the Coalition for Consumer Information (CCIC) and Cruelty Free International (CFI) through its Leaping Bunny Program remains the most useful resource in helping concerned consumers purchase commodities that comply with cruelty-free standards.

CFI’s Leaping Bunny certification currently stands for the global standard with regards to non-animal tested consumer goods. To date, more than 600 enterprises have been certified as Leaping Bunny compliant. These organizations can show the logo enabling shoppers to select products classified as not animal-tested.

Cruelty-Free VS Vegan

Vegan refers to commodities that do not contain animal-obtained ingredients. It labels elements instead of the production process. Cruelty-free denotes ingredients as well as final products were not tested on any animal. The focus is on the testing method and not the components. In other words, the cruelty-free item may have non-vegan ingredients like beeswax, carmine, cholesterol, collagen, gelatin, honey, and lanolin.

Which one of the two must consumers choose? Look for cruelty-free and vegan. It may not be an easy task, but this is not impossible as demand increases, and manufacturers respond accordingly. Bear in mind that any business can make claims. Therefore, look for accreditation by prominent organizations which include PETA, The Vegan Society, Choose Cruelty Free, or Leaping Bunny for confirmation.

Both cruelty-free and vegan do not guarantee the list of ingredients is natural, clean, green, and secure. Read the list well so you will know the product does not have any hazardous chemicals that will affect your skin.

Nowadays, the cruelty-free moniker generally extends to the human labor present in the sourcing of everything that comprises the product as well as actual production. Look for the companies that commit to clear standards along with fair trade accreditation or endorsement.

It pays to be resourceful and conduct your own research about these labels. You lose nothing by opting for cruelty-free or vegan. In fact, you become part of the responsible citizenry with the commitment to protect the welfare of animals.