Cruelty Free Certification and Vegetarian or Vegan Natural and Organic Skin Care
We’ve now been asked a few times about our declaration of being cruelty free when we’re not on the leaping bunny/BUAV/cruelty free international list of companies. Well, the simple answer to that is we can’t apply for the leaping bunny logo as a humane retailer because we do not stock just leaping bunny approved beauty and skin care products. We would love to be able to be ‘approved’ but unfortunately not enough companies in our sphere of vegetarian/vegan/natural/organic/fairtrade have taken that step and we would have very empty shelves if we only stocked those that did!
As far as we’re concerned, this doesn’t mean that the products we select are any less cruelty free, we take that commitment very seriously and perform our due diligence before deciding whether to stock a brand.
Not that we are undermining the work of the BUAV and their alter egos Cruelty Free International, Campaign to end all Animal Experiments and Go Cruelty Free in any way. Without their persistent campaigning we would not have a ban on animal tested cosmetics and ingredients in the EU and they continue to lobby and campaign to ban animal testing worldwide. They have also made us well aware of our governments failure to keep their commitment to reducing animal experimentation for ‘research’ in the UK. The number of animals tortured and abused in this way has actually increased year on year since the government made this pledge.
So what does the leaping bunny certification mean?
“To become approved a company must no longer conduct or commission animal testing and must apply a verifiable fixed cut-off date – an unmoveable date after which none of its products or ingredients have been animal tested.” (source – www.gocrueltyfree.org).
Those applying for certification must allow independent audits of their supply chain to ensure that they are adhering to all criteria and requirements.
Another very important point is that this applies to the global operation of a company, so they have to commit to a total ban. They can’t look ‘clean’ by abiding by the EU Cosmetics Regulation here and then continue to perform animal testing in other parts of the world. This also means that some companies who trade in China have lost their leaping bunny certification (go cruelty free quote Caudalie, L’Occitane, Mary Kay and Yves Rocher as having lost their certifications).
We wish that some of the organic certifying bodies were this strict. Many have given ‘except where required by law’ opt outs to their certified companies – see our blog: ‘organic certifications for cosmetic skin and hair care products and how they relate to vegetarians and vegans‘.
What doesn’t the leaping bunny cover?
Well, if you’re a vegetarian or vegan it doesn’t cover animal ingredients in the product. So, you could still have animal by-products you’d rather avoid in your skin care, hair care or cosmetics, carmine being a classic example, and that also includes (as far as we can tell) slaughter house derived ingredients. This time organic certification can win as some do not allow ingredients derived from dead animals!
Those looking for natural or organic skin care, hair care and beauty products can also luck out when it comes to the leaping bunny certification as it doesn’t restrict the use of synthetic ingredients so your approved product could still be full of yukky unmentionables such as parabens and sulphates.
I guess for those of us who are vegetarian or vegan finding a leaping bunny certification on a beauty product is a good start but it’s not the end of the story and we still have to do our research and make sure that the ingredients are a match for all of our ethics. Likewise for natural and organic skin care lovers, we still need to read the label carefully or check for other certifications.
Here at I Choose What I Use we will continue to vet brands before we decide whether to stock their skin care, hair care or make up to ensure that they comply as a minimum with our vegetarian*, naturally derived and cruelty free criteria.
If anyone want to start a certification body with a global animal testing ban (finished product and ingredients) for products which are suitable for vegans and/or vegetarians and which have strict criteria for natural and organic ingredients we’d love to hear from you!
*as of 1 May 2015 we became 100% vegan.
We are I Choose What I Use, the 100% vegan, cruelty free, natural and organic beauty and skin care online store.
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