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:

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17 Comments on "Why PETA’s Cruelty-Free List Can’t Be Trusted"

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

Anne-Marie
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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
Guest

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
Guest

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

Amy
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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.

Suzi Scheler
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Organix does test on animals.

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

minxlj
Guest

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…) https://www.crueltyfreekitty.com/cruelty-free-101/cruelty-free-bunny-logo/

Suzi Scheler
Guest

PETA is legit, just not 100% reliable.

mansi bhagwate
Guest
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… Read more »
Cebra Ethical Chic
Guest

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
Guest

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?!

Suzi Scheler
Guest

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?

Kitty Blackadder
Guest
I just wanted to take the time to say thank you – for this post and for this whole site! More and more over the past months I’ve wanted to start moving into only using cruelty free cosmetics and every time I’ve sat down to look into it, I’ve ended up on the PETA site while also reading totally conflicting information elsewhere! It was frustrating and upsetting and led me to feel that there was no way I could ever go cruelty-free as it just seemed impossible! Now I’ve found your site and I’m so excited and totally onboard with… Read more »
Suzi Scheler
Guest

Thank you for your kind words Kitty! So happy you found my blog! Let me know if there’s any info you’re having trouble finding.

bystander
Guest
In order to get EPA approval for any chemical to be used in products which would go eventually down the drain (as when you wash it off) with the potential of finding its way into streams, rivers and lakes, there are certain governmental requirements which include testing what percentage (or concentration) in the water would cause injury or death to aquatic creatures.The EPA’s “OPPTS (Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances) 850.1075 Fish Acute Toxicity Test, Freshwater and Marine” defines requirements for testing on what would poison fish. Data on a cold and warm freshwater species are generally required. The… Read more »
Andrea
Guest
Thank you so much for being so thorough about the honesty and bs of all the companies out there. There is so much conflicting info online and Peta’s list no longer includes the parent company in their search results. I used to be able to search for a particular company in their database, and if the was company was cruelty-free but the parent company wasn’t, like Smashbox, it would tell me. But for some reason, the results no longer include this just-as-important info. So people don’t realize that while they are buying cruelty-free products, they’re still contributing to the animal… Read more »
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