Why PETA’s Cruelty-Free List Can’t Be Trusted

why peta's cruelty-free list can't be trusted

I’ve seen many, many cruelty-free consumers relying on PETA’s list of cruelty-free companies to determine whether or not a brand is cruelty-free. I want to make it known that PETA’s list isn’t the ultimate cruelty-free source, unfortunately.

Just because a brand is listed as “does not test”, doesn’t mean it’s truly cruelty-free, and just because a brand isn’t listed on the “does not test” list, doesn’t mean it can’t be cruelty-free.

I want the information that’s found on this blog to be as accurate and up to date as possible, and given my recent findings, I can say that PETA’s list has lost its credibility to me.

As you might know, in order to be on PETA’s cruelty-free list, a company has to “sign PETA’s statement of assurance or submit 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.” If you haven’t read it already, please check out my post on Leaping Bunny vs. PETA.

Rusk is one of the many companies found on PETA’s list, and has therefore signed that statement. Here is my correspondance with a representative from Rusk.

Kitty <crueltyfreekitty@gmail.com>:
“I have read that RUSK products are cruelty-free and are therefore not tested on animals. I would also like to know if the ingredients used in your final products are tested on animals.
Thanks in advance!”

On Tue, Jul 8, 2014 at 3:15 PM, Linda Bryan <Linda_Bryan@conair.com> wrote:
Dear Kitty,
In response to your email,
We are a long-standing member of the Personal Care Products Council (PCPC) and strictly adhere to their Consumer Commitment Code. We do not test our finished products on animals. We do not require or ask our suppliers of raw materials used in our products to perform any testing on animals.
Thank you for your inquiry,
Rusk

Hello Linda,
Thank you for your reply. I only have one more question: while I understand that you don’t require it, can you confirm that none of your suppliers test on animals?
Thanks in advance,
Kitty

Dear Kitty,
In response to your email,
No – we can’t.
1) We do not require our suppliers to test their ingredients on animals, however, they might have need to be tested for some other non-cosmetic use.
2) Even though ingredients used on cosmetics are not required to be tested on animals when the finished product is sold in the US or the EU, there may be other countries that do require such testing, and we can’t control that.
3) There are many ingredients that have a long history of use, and their use would predate any such concern.
I hope that this will help you.
Thank you for your inquiry,
Rusk

Ouch. Rusk seems to be one of the many so-called “cruelty-free” companies that “definitely don’t test on animals, ever, unless–“.

A company that encourages animal-testing by buying ingredients that have been tested on animals is NOT a cruelty-free company. The fact that such a company can so easily be added to PETA’s list is appalling, and unfairly misleading to the multitude of people who rely on it to find cruelty-free brands.

The fact that a company can be included in such a trustworthy list by making nothing more than what’s equivalent to a pinky promise is alarming.

If you’re looking for a cruelty-free salon brand, I recommend Paul Mitchell. They’re certified by the Leaping Bunny and offer great products.

If one occurrence of this isn’t enough, here’s another example: Smashbox, who are owned by Estee Lauder but are on PETA’s cruelty-free list, sell products in China and have confirmed to be testing on animals when the law requires it:

We don’t test on animals, nor ask others to test on our behalf, except when required by law.

This company is still on PETA’s cruelty-free list even though they lost their cruelty-free status when they started selling in China long ago. Not only that, but they have the guts to proclaim themselves as a “100% cruelty-free company” who would never harm a fly. Ugh! PETA needs to step its game up if it wants to regain our trust.

From The Cruelty-Free 101 Series:

  • http://www.ashlylondon.blogspot.com/ Ashly Rae

    Thanks for sharing!!! great article.. glad I found your blog x

  • Anne-Marie

    your website has helped me a lot, i always knew there was something off about PETA’s list. Some products aren’t listed like Bareminerals and Skin Food. Thank you so much! <3

  • Mischa

    Thank you for writing this! I had a similar experience with Josie Maran Cosmetics recently. They confirmed that the dye in their lip creme was NOT vegan (meaning it probably contained cochineal insects for coloring) and yet they kept repeating that they are a cruelty-free brand. It’s shameful.

    • Jojo Barnett

      Josie Maran is a cruelty free brand. Their lip creme that you purchased is not vegan. Cruelty free =/= vegan

  • Amy

    I would like to know if Organix tests on animals. I see conflicting info online. Their bottle says no animal testing ut I saw some stuff saying it does.

    • http://www.crueltyfreekitty.com/ Suzi

      Organix does test on animals.

  • Babette la Rouge

    I can recommend the following site to you (they are very, very accurate!): http://wermachtwas.info/index.php?pageID=4

  • minxlj

    Why is there a later article on this site that includes PETA in the ‘trustworthy logos’ then? (unless the logos aren’t awarded to companies who later sell and test in China…) http://www.crueltyfreekitty.com/cruelty-free-101/cruelty-free-bunny-logo/

    • http://www.crueltyfreekitty.com/ Suzi | Cruelty-Free Kitty

      PETA is legit, just not 100% reliable.

  • mansi bhagwate

    Saw Burt’s Bees ads on your blog. I know that Burt’s bees is not tested on animals but it is owned by Clorox Company and I think they DO test on animals even if its rare and are trying to move away from animal testing but haven’t completely. So you are complaining about PETA yet advertising for another company that isn’t 100% vegan or cruelty free?

    An excerpt from the Clorox website:

    “Clorox is committed to the welfare of animals. The vast majority of our products reach the market without testing on animals. In fact, using non-animal product safety evaluations is the norm at Clorox and animal testing is the very rare exception. We do not conduct or ask third-parties to conduct any animal testing on products, raw materials or components of finished products unless required by federal or local regulators. And we will not license our name or the name of any of our brands to formulations of products that have been tested on animals. We will not acquire or purchase product formulations or other products for use in our consumer products that have been tested on animals (except when such testing was done to meet the requirements of federal, state, local or other applicable regulations).

    The rare exception to this policy is only when all other efforts have been exhausted to establish a product’s safety profile; such exceptions require senior management approval, certifying there is no other way to proceed. In those rare instances, Clorox will conduct appropriate safety testing at an independent laboratory accredited by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International (AAALAC). AAALAC promotes standards of animal welfare that exceed federal law and conducts regular inspections of their accredited laboratories.

    We’re working toward a future where animal testing has no role in product development. We believe that we should be able to use existing data and alternatives so animals are not involved in product safety testing. We are engaging regulators to join with us to identify and implement innovative solutions that eliminate the existing requirements to conduct animal testing, without compromising product safety. In collaboration with industry partners, we’re working to foster new protocols and encourage regulatory acceptance of alternatives to conventional animal testing, particularly in the area of public health disinfectant products. Since 1987, we have been working with organizations such as the Johns Hopkins Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing and the Institute for In Vitro Sciences, an independent foundation, to develop alternative testing methods.”

  • http://www.cebraonline.com Cebra Ethical Chic

    You should report RUSK to PETA as they require that even ingredients are not tested on animals. By the way, in the EU animal testing on personal care, cosmetic and household products is now illegal and that refers to the ingredients as well.

  • Ruby Kooner

    Just a question.. your list of 2016 cruelty free brands includes “Cover FX” which is the same company as MAC.. as of 2012 MAC resumed animals testing.. question is: is it certain that cover fx products don’t use animal testing?!

    • http://www.crueltyfreekitty.com/ Suzi | Cruelty-Free Kitty

      Hey Ruby- Cover FX isn’t the same company as MAC! They’re not owned by the same company. Maybe you’re confusing them with Clinique?