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FAQ: Animal Testing And The Cruelty-Free Brands List

by Suzana Rose

May 22, 2018

This FAQ addresses common questions about all things cruelty-free as well as questions about my site and cruelty-free list. If you have any questions right now, you’re probably going to find some answers on this page.

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Please make sure to take a look at the questions below before contacting us!

Cruelty-Free & Animal Testing

These questions relate to animal testing and what "cruelty-free" really is. They're helpful if you're new to the cruelty-free scene or if you want to expand your knowledge.

What does “cruelty-free” mean?

The term “cruelty-free” means that a brand doesn’t test on animals. Since it’s not regulated, any company can claim to be cruelty-free, hence why we can’t always rely on the company itself when they make this claim.

What makes a company truly cruelty-free?

A company is only truly cruelty-free if there’s no animal testing at any point during the production of their products.

This means that their finished products or ingredients aren’t tested on animals, either by the company itself or any third parties. It also means that they don’t purchase raw materials from suppliers who test on animals. Finally, it means that the company doesn’t test on animals under any circumstances, even if the authorities require it by law, which is the case in China.

Why should I go cruelty-free, and does it even matter in 2017?

Unfortunately, animal testing for cosmetics is still a frequent practice to this day. You can find animal testing along the whole production chain, from the raw materials used in products to the mandatory animal testing in China.

It's as important as ever to protest against these cruel experiments by supporting cruelty-free brands. Animal testing is far from being a gentle practice. Laboratory animals don’t have any rights, even though they’re animals just like our household pets. These animals are routinely tortured, crippled, and eventually killed from the experiments.

If you're on the face about going cruelty-free, click here to read my article on 15 great reasons to make the switch.

What do the tests really involve?

Most tests involve dropping chemicals in an animal's eyes or rubbing them on its shaved skin in order to determine how toxic they are. At the end of the experiments, the animals are almost always killed. If you've seen pictures, you know how cruel and damaging these tests are.

Humane Society International estimates that between 100,000 to 200,000 animals suffer and die for cosmetics testing alone each year in the United States alone, and these animals are mostly bunnies, hamsters, guinea pigs, mice, and rats.

Without animal testing, how do we know our products are safe?

Safety isn't the issue, since there have been alternatives to animal testing for decades, and many companies rely on them when testing new ingredients for safety. The most common one is called "in vitro" testing, which uses human tissue to identify chemical irritants. This method is not only less cruel, but also more effective than animal testing.

There’s also a huge library of over 5,000 ingredients that have already been proven to be safe. Companies can mix those ingredients to formulate their products without the need for any testing.

How come animal testing hasn't already been banned?

Animal testing for cosmetics has actually been banned in multiple countries, but we're far from a global ban. It's currently banned in the European Union, the UK, New Zealand, India, Turkey, Israel. Australia, South Korea, and Taiwan are also considering bans.

It's hard to say why animal testing hasn't also been banned in more countries, but there are ways we can make it happen.

What can I do to help the cause?

The first thing you can do is support cruelty-free companies and stop purchasing from brands who test on animals.

To go one step further, you can also email both companies and your local government representatives. If you have a favorite brand that tests on animals, let them know you will no longer purchase their products until they go cruelty-free. E-mail your government representatives to let them know how important it is to you that they make the right choices when presented with bills against (or pro) animal testing.

If there's a bunny on the packaging, does it mean it's cruelty-free?

No. Many companies use unofficial bunny logos which are not affiliated with an official organization such as the Leaping Bunny. Click here to read more about how to spot a fake cruelty-free logo. You'll learn to recognize the real logos (which are limited to Leaping Bunny, Choose Cruelty-Free, and PETA).

What does it mean when a brand sells products in China?

Mainland China requires that most of the cosmetics sold there be tested on animals. For foreign brands, this means agreeing to mandatory pre-market animal testing. For all brands, the authorities can request that products be taken off the shelves and tested on animals (for what we call post-market animal testing).

This is why a company that sells in China can’t be considered cruelty-free.

Why can’t a company be considered cruelty-free if they sell in China, as long as they’re cruelty-free otherwise?

If a company decides to sell in China, not only do they have to agree to cruel tests on animals, but they also have to finance those tests. This means that the brand itself is paying for animal testing, so they’re forfeiting their cruelty-free status.

No one is forcing these companies to test on animals in China! Every company has a choice, and many brands choose not to sell in mainland China in order to remain cruelty-free.

When I see “made in China” on the packaging, does this mean it’s tested on animals?

No! A brand only tests on animals in China if their cosmetics are sold there. Many cruelty-free companies manufacture their products in mainland China without selling them there, meaning their products aren't tested on animals. You can read more here.

What’s the difference between cruelty-free and vegan?

“Cruelty-free” means there’s no animal testing, and “vegan” means there are no animal ingredients.

Not all products mentioned on the blog are vegan, but there’s a vegan section. If you’re looking for companies that are 100% vegan, they’re marked on our list of cruelty-free brands.

Cruelty-Free Kitty & Our List

These questions revolve around our website and our cruelty-free list.

Is Cruelty-Free Kitty an organization?

No. I’m a regular girl with a big interest in beauty and an even bigger love for animals. Cruelty-Free Kitty is currently only run by 2 people: me, Suzi, and my assistant Aly.

Which companies are added to the list of cruelty-free brands?

Only companies who can confirm they're truly cruelty-free with no animal testing involved at any point are added to the list. Brands you’ll find on that list claim that:

  • They don’t test finished products or ingredients on animals
  • Their suppliers don’t test on animals
  • Their finished products or ingredients are not tested on animals by a third party
  • They don’t test on animals where required by law and don’t sell cosmetics in mainland China

How do you decide which brands are added to the list? Will you add my company?

Each week, we reach out to selected brands about their animal testing policy. I personally select these brands based on demand, and companies cannot pay to be added to the cruelty-free list.

Which cruelty-free certifications can we trust?

The only cruelty-free certification I trust is Leaping Bunny's, and we don't reach out to companies who are Leaping Bunny-certified before adding them to the list because we know they're truly cruelty-free. The downside to Leaping Bunny is that not many mainstream brands choose to be certified by them, and their list mainly consists of smaller brands. Choose Cruelty-Free is also reliable for Australian companies.

PETA's list isn't as reliable and they're not as thorough as Leaping Bunny, but it can be helpful if you're a beginner.

What's the difference between Cruelty-Free Kitty and organizations like PETA or Leaping Bunny?

Companies voluntarily reach out to the Leaping Bunny and start a certification process. Since this is done on a voluntary basis, not all cruelty-free companies are certified by the Leaping Bunny. In fact, most companies aren’t, and this is where we come in.

What we do is reach out to all the companies who don’t have Leaping Bunny certification in order to inquire about their animal testing policy. If the company is cruelty-free, we add it to our list.

The Cruelty-Free Kitty list is a curated list and only lists the most popular and sought after brands. We include a small amount of Leaping Bunny certified brands, but since most companies found on the Leaping Bunny’s lists are very small brands, we only list a minority.

Another difference is that we try to publish companies’ policies on our website. You can take a look at our library of brand policies here.

I’m looking for the cruelty-free status of a specific cosmetics brand. Can you help?

First, try using the search at the top. If you can’t find the brand on any of our lists, try reaching out to the company directly and ask them the following questions:

1. Does your company test on animals, either for finished products or ingredients?
2. Do your suppliers test on animals?
3. Does your company hire or allow third parties to test on animals on your behalf?
4. Do you test on animals wherever the authorities require it by law?
5. Are your products sold in stores in mainland China?

This company claims to be cruelty-free but you list it as testing on animals. What’s up with that?

This means they test on animals, most likely in mainland China or where required by law. Always make sure to read the fine print in companies’ policies.

Where can I follow Cruelty-Free Kitty on social media?

We're active on pretty much every social media platform, so follow us on:

I hope you've found all the answers to your questions. If you have a question that hasn't been answered in this FAQ, contact us at hello@crueltyfreekitty.com.

Suzana Rose

Suzana Rose

I created Cruelty-Free Kitty because animal testing has no place in the 21st century. My mission is to tackle ethical issues in the beauty industry one by one and find solutions for a better future.

+ Show Comments (22) - Hide Comments (22)
  • Avatar Nancy Kane says:

    I have always wondered. Wht can’t these companies, that test on animals, test on murderers, who are in prison? That might seem like, to you, not a great way, to go. These poor animals, have no voice, and can’t speak, about how it is, for them. Something has to be done, to stop, this practice. It is not morally, or ethically right.

  • Avatar Kate says:

    Thankyou, keep going.

  • Avatar Anonym says:

    Hi! Is Storybook cosmetics cruelty free?

  • Avatar Tracy says:

    100% Pure says right on their product page that many of the products are manufactured in countries such as the US, Canada, Germany and CHINA which means mandatory animal testing. They should not be on your CF list. Am I missing something here?

  • Avatar Lizzie Woon says:

    Hello there,
    Do you also list products that are free from animal cruelty and animal testing are also Eco- environmentally friendly?
    Thank you.

  • Avatar Cathy says:

    Thank you so much for all your work.

  • Avatar Robynne Catheron says:

    Hi Suzi,
    Thank you for your dedication to animal welfare and your hard work to investigate and compile this list!

    If the term “cruelty-free” isn’t regulated, is there a term that is regulated so we consumers can tell by reading the label?

    Just like the term “Organic” (regulated) vs “Natural” (not regulated), couldn’t a product or manufacturer be certified as “cruelty-free” by the USDA, FDA or other federal agency? I understand the USDA has been under-staffed for decades, but maybe some jobs could be created here, as well as providing important information on labels. Just a thought.

  • Avatar Elena says:

    I didn’t know where to say this so I’m putting it here. I just wanna know if Juvia’s Place is cruelty free. Their website says it is cruelty free and most of their products are vegan but I just wanna know if they really are because it would be heartbreaking if they weren’t. Thanks for the wonderful list here!

  • Avatar Emilia says:

    How often do you update the lists? I could not find some of the brands that I was looking for. On one of the websites (Dr organic’s) they say that they do not test on animals, but neither Leaping Bunny, PETA, or you have information about them (at least not what i could find). Are they fake or do they really not test on animals? The same goes for “Davines essential hair care”. They say that they have vegan products but they do not say that they aren’t cruelty free. I can’t find the brand on any of your lists.

    • Suzi Scheler Suzi Scheler says:

      I’m working on a new version of the site with a searchable list, so there’s going to be more brands added soon. That being said, there are brands I reach out to that don’t respond or give vague answers (Davines is an example) so those brands aren’t on the current lists.

  • Avatar Nisha Dsa says:

    Is NYX cruelty free because their products say made in China…and I bought it from New York

  • Avatar alyazia says:

    from where did you get that information because I am doing a research and I need to know
    thank you

  • Avatar Fransisca Devita says:

    Some people say that since every ingredient that exists today has been tested before in the past, no brand is actually cruelty free. What do you say about this? I always feel like people dont wanna be CF because of this reason.

  • Avatar Ande says:

    Could you elaborate a bit on your stance on what makes something cruelty free.

    You say no animal testing on the finished
    product or ingredients, by the
    company, its suppliers or third parties. And that it doesn’t have to be vegan to be cruelty free, which to some point I understand. However I wonder what your view is on products that aren’t vegetarian? Do you include products that have animal substances for which an animal has to be dead before it can be used? Thanks in advance for taking the time to answer this!

    • Yes, “cruelty-free” only means there’s no animal testing involved. I look for brand policies to ensure they’re cruelty-free (no animal testing at any point, like mentioned in the FAQ) but you should check the ingredients of the individual product to make sure they’re vegan or vegetarian.

      • Avatar Ande says:

        Ok that’s good to know. I personally don’t agree with cruelty free meaning that it only doesn’t involve animal testing. To me a product can not be cruelty free if an animal needs to dead for it to be made. To me it also can’t be cruelty free if it’s made by people under poor conditions. Some Dutch and UK blogs I follow also use these guidelines for a company to be classified as cruelty free so I wrongly assumed that was the same here.

        Thanks a lot for answering!

  • No way, j’ai habite a Lausanne pendant une annee recemment! Meme chose pour moi avec la traduction. Tu fais quoi maintenant?

  • Ohhh you were a translator? Cool 🙂 What languages?

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