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Leaping Bunny vs. PETA: Which Cruelty-Free Certification Can We Trust?

by Suzana Rose

May 13, 2020

The Leaping Bunny vs. PETA: both have lists of cruelty-free cosmetics and household product brands, but one is more reliable than the other.

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You might notice that the Leaping Bunny's list is considerably smaller than PETA's. This is because the Leaping Bunny, the only internationally recognized certification organization for cruelty-free brands, is way more selective.

While PETA only requires written agreement from a company (see below), the Leaping Bunny requires that the company agrees to independent audits. This means they can actually verify if the claims are true.

From PETA.org (source):

Company representatives interested in having their company’s name added to our cruelty-free list(s) must complete a short questionnaire and sign a statement of assurance verifying that they do not conduct, commission, or pay for any tests on animals for ingredients, formulations, or finished products and that they pledge not to do so in the future. PETA will then add qualifying companies to our pocket-sized Cruelty-Free Shopping Guide, our Shopping Guide brochure, and our online searchable database of cruelty-free companies.

From LeapingBunny.org (source):

The Standard is short for the Corporate Standard of Compassion for Animals, a voluntary pledge that cosmetic, personal care, and/or household product companies make to clear animal testing from all stages of product development. The company's ingredient suppliers make the same pledge and the result is a product guaranteed to be 100 percent free of new animal testing. All Leaping Bunny companies must be open to independent audits, and commitments are renewed on an annual basis.

If a particular brand is on the Leaping Bunny's list, it should be safe to say that the company is truly cruelty-free. However, since applying for the program is done on a voluntary basis, this cruelty-free list isn't exhaustive.

Many companies, while not being certified, can be cruelty-free. In my opinion, while PETA's database of cruelty-free brands is filled with good intentions, it's not reliable due to the lack of any investigation. On the other hand, the Leaping Bunny makes a far better effort to ensure that a company is truly cruelty-free.

What's your take on this issue?

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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 (33) - Hide Comments (33)
  • Avatar Ann Conroy says:

    Leaping Bunny only certifies that a product and its ingredients are not tested on animals. PETA, however, certifies that products they approve are not only not tested on animals, but also contain no animal ingredients. This makes PETA’s certification much more meaningful.

    For something to be truly cruelty-free it must also be vegan! If it’s not vegan, it can’t possibly be cruelty-free.

    • Suzana Rose Suzana Rose says:

      This is a bit misleading. PETA’s list consists of cruelty-free brands, not cruelty-free and vegan brands. However they also have a specific certification for brands that are both cruelty-free and vegan. The brands that are both cruelty-free and vegan only make up a minority of their approved brands.

  • Avatar Sara says:

    Hi, I’m looking into skin care brands on etsy.com and I came across one called face the fives they’re apparently on Pettis list but they’re not on leaping bunnies list. To say that I have a good feeling about I skin care company and that I “feel” they are cruelty free isn’t good enough. So I am torn between whether or not I should trust this company’s commitment to being cruelty free or if I should just stick with leaping bunny certified companies. And the reason why is because an ingredient supplier obviously could still be testing those ingredients on animals, and without a way to investigate the ingredients suppliers there’s really no way to know for certain unless you purchase from those companies that are affiliated with the ccic. I’ve been following the ccic since I was 16 years old and the only exception I would make for an Etsy company is for one woman who grows her own aloe vera gel in her backyard and sells it on Etsy obviously she has her own ingredients supplier so I wouldn’t have to worry about that. But with larger companies that have to Outsource for their ingredients I think I will probably stick with leaping bunny. Org especially with so much disgusting information about Peta coming to light. Just wondering what your thoughts were on that by the way I love your blog!

    • Avatar CFK Team says:

      Hi Sara, the Leaping Bunny is the most trustworthy cruelty-free certification program and you’re right for sticking with it. Thank you for being cruelty-free!

  • Avatar Nancy says:

    PETA’s Laboratory Investigations Department carefully maintains this list on a daily basis. If a cruelty-free company is purchased by another company,PETA immediately contacts the new parent company and asks to sign PETA’s statement of assurance pledging that it will not test its products or the ingredients used to manufacture those products on animals. If the new parent company does not respond to PETA, PETA removes it from the list of cruelty-free companies to maintain the integrity of their program.

    So just letting you know that their team would never allow for a product to be on their list if it wasnt cruelty-free or reliable. We are here all here for the animals so this blog was a little misleading to me. I personally emailed them and posted the response I got back. If you have any questions I suggest you ask them so so we are all on the same page.

  • Hi! I just discovered your blog ✨it’s great.
    I thought I would chime in here as I own Magic & Manifest – a cruelty-Free CBD beauty brand. We are Leaping Bunny certified. In order to be approved we had to fill out paperwork and sign a statement, this is true. But LB also contacts any company that partners with you on production and they also “investigate” them.
    After knowing the dedication that LB puts into their work, I only buy other LB products (when relevant.)
    Hope that helps a bit.

  • Avatar Katie says:

    Leaping Bunny has an exemption in the definition of “animal testing” for certain ingredients tested on animals, meaning the standard doesn’t apply in this case for ingredients tested on animals(quoted from the site and an email to me from Leaping Bunny): The prohibition against Animal Testing contained in the Standard does not apply to the purchase of animal-tested Ingredients if: (a) the ingredient was tested to meet explicit statutory or regulatory requirements for animal testing; AND (b) the testing was not conducted to assess safety, efficacy, or environmental effects of Cosmetics and/or Household Products.”

    I don’t understand in what cases this applies to…wouldn’t selling in China where they require animal testing fall under this? Any insight into this? I would really appreciate it!

  • Avatar Bernadette says:

    Where is Arbonne on the list safe never tested on animals since began 37 years ago

  • Avatar Imogen says:

    how reliably cruelty free are two faced because PETA say they are cruelty free but they are not certified by leaping bunny as far as i know. i love your blog by the way!

  • Avatar Imogen says:

    i was wondering how reliably cruelty free two faced is as PETA said they are cruelty free but as far as i know they aren’t certified by leaping bunny. i really love your blog by the way!

  • Avatar Aditi says:

    Symbols of cruelty free products???can u upload pics?

  • Avatar Aditi says:

    But when there are crore of customers,no company wud follow dis procedure.then there is a question of demand and supply and most importantly earning trillions!!!!

  • Avatar nobradors says:

    When I lived in Germany I also bought products carrying the BDIH logo (http://cdn.maedchen.de/bilder/naturkosmetik-557×313-440314.jpg ) as their standard is similar to that of the leaping bunny

  • Aww, thank you Sunny!! That means a lot coming from you! 🙂

  • Avatar tab says:

    I know I’m a bit late to the party but I’ve heard a lot recently of PETA being a horrible company with very little concern for animals at all. I personally will probably look to LeapingBunny

  • Avatar The Real Deal says:

    To me, a brand cannot be called “cruelty-free” simply because they don’t test on animals. Unless a brand is actually VEGAN, they can still be “cruel”. Jane Iredale is a perfect example. They’re on the PETA list as cruelty-free and Jane Iredale pats themselves on the back for being supported by PETA, Leaping Bunny, and brag about how they’re so into anti-cruelty to animals. BUT they use carmine to color their lip products (insect-based coloring agent, widely used) and have AN EXTENSIVE LINE OF MAKEUP BRUSHES; THE MAJORITY ARE MADE OF GOAT AND PONY HAIR! How is it “cruelty-free” to boil/crush insects and/or to take animals into captivity to steal their hair for vanity’s sake?

    • Avatar Trish Roberts says:

      I’d just like to throw this out there….just because it’s vegan doesn’t make it cruelty free…lots of bunnies and mice get chopped up in the fields when “vegan” ingredients are harvested. I’m all for cruelty free…but just realize nothing is fully cruelty free….also PETA euthanizes healthy animals…so they are most def. not a cruelty free organization.

  • Suzi Suzi says:

    That statement means nothing in itself, as those things sadly aren’t regulated. Always research the brand online or check trusted lists!

    • Avatar Amy Marino says:

      I was wondering the same thing. There are companies who swear they don’t test on animals. You do need to reach out to them. I did reach out to Redmond, who make Renpure, and they told me they are cruelty free, but they don’t have a cruelty free seal on them by you or anything! They said they’re tested on the Redmonds! And OGX said they’re cruelty free, and when I found out otherwise, boy was I pissed! Can you check up on Redmond?

  • Avatar Renita says:

    What if the product has the “leaping bunny” symbol on it’s products & they say they don’t test on animals but it is manufactured by L’Oreal in a country that bans all forms of animal testing? Are they considered cruelty free & can the products be used?

    • Suzi Suzi says:

      L’Oreal’s policy is to test on animals when required by law as well as in some other circumstances. For this reason, regardless where the products are manufactured, L’Oreal’s products ARE being tested on animals in China, and they DO use some ingredients that may be tested on animals.

      BUT if the brand you’re thinking about (such as Urban Decay) is Leaping Bunny-certified, they ARE cruelty-free, not sold in China, and their ingredients aren’t tested on animals. The brand itself would be considered cruelty-free and owned by a company that isn’t cruelty-free. I personally support and buy from brands such as Urban Decay!

      • Avatar Renita says:

        Thanks for reply. Your website is excellent & very modern, with heartwarming products. The brand is “Seacret” that sell spa skin care products; a new company. When it first expanded L’Oreal contacted them to manufacture their products, they first refused, but L’Oreal persuaded them. It does have the leaping bunny symbol, says it’s made in Israeal, a country that bans all forms of animal testing, but L’Oreal manufactures it.
        http://www.seacretdirect.com/revivemyskin. Your opinion?

        • Suzi Suzi says:

          Thanks so much for your kind words! I really appreciate it. 🙂 The company you mention honestly doesn’t look good in terms of animal testing. It’s not affiliated with the Leaping Bunny and doesn’t have any official certification, and they only mention that their final products aren’t tested on animals in their FAQ. I contacted them and I’ll get back to you when they (hopefully) reply. I would personally pass until I hear more info from them.

          • Avatar Ruth says:

            Hi I just stumbled upon this (a year late I know I’m sorry) but I was wondering to see if you ever did in contact with the company and what you have come to know! I recently had a friend reach out to me with this product and I want to make sure I do my research before I make the commitment. I am highly interested in organic cruelty free skin care that is EFFECTIVE for acne! I would really appreacite a response!

          • Hello Ruth- Unfortunately I never received a response, and if I’m not mistaken that company was/is selling in China. If I may suggest an effective brand for fighting acne, please look into Paula’s Choice! They’re 100% cruelty-free. 🙂

        • Suzi Suzi says:

          I heard back from Seacret and they refused to answer my questions about ingredients or China. I wouldn’t recommend this company.

          • Avatar Guest says:

            When you click on a product there for more information it displays this symbol, saying it’s not tested on animals. What is it’s significance?

          • Avatar Renita says:

            Thanks. Although when you click on a product on their site, it displays a bunny symbol. What’s the significance of that symbol?

          • Suzi Suzi says:

            That symbol basically means nothing. It’s just an arbitrary symbol the company created and it’s not affiliated with any official cruelty-free organization. I’ll be sure to make a post about cruelty-free symbols and which bunnies to trust. 🙂

  • Avatar Dinha Puffy says:

    Hi Suzy, first of all, your blog was my best cruelty free jorney’s found at this time!!!
    And about this, i realy am obssed about it… Cause when it’s about cruelty free brands many of people at first take the peta’s list as reference, and them when they are more in the cause they realease the some of the brands, who was in those lists, most of them isn’t exactly cruelty free, they belongs to a company who does the test, or are in China’s selling and some other things. This is anoying, boring and very hard for who realy wants to do the right thing, you know? Like me, who was taking peta’s as a truly friend until now…
    But i think that wasn’t a worst thing in all this…Because what counts is the intention, and in fact, the biggest fault is the brand, cause is she’s business there is in dangerous and not truly the Petas, Peta is one portal or one Cruelty Free club i guess..
    So i will do more searches and i have to thank you for all this brand new and truly information. Your blog have amazing potential. And take a big hug from Brazil here. So kiss and good luck.

    P.S. Sorry for any type mistake, my english writing isn’t the best.

    • Suzi Suzi says:

      Hi Dinha, thank you so much for your comment! You’re right, PETA is the most well-known animal rights organization so cruelty-free shoppers tend to turn to them first, and some brands do take advantage of that in a way. Using cruelty-free claims because it looks good. I hope that the word on truly cruelty-free and ethical practices will spread more and more, to make it easier for people everywhere to “do the right thing”. Again, thanks for your kind words! 🙂

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