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,

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,

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,

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: