Insight: In Search for Cruelty-Free Products: Where to Go?
Cruelty-Free and Sustainable
Cruelty-Free and sustainable products are trending these days. But are they easy to find? Can you just go to a local department store or grocery store and have them easily available on the shelves. Sustainable shopping practices have been on the rise as we become more eco-friendly and reflect on how animals and their by-products are incorporated into our everyday shopping.
You do not necessarily have to be vegan to be in favor of buying "cruelty-free" products. And you might be surprised what cruelty-free products really mean.
What are Cruelty-Free Products?
The FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) does not set a standard definition for the term Cruelty-Free. So, there are so many brands using this term freely according to the language they want. The goal, sad to say, is to attract more consumers to buy rather than to promote animal rights and promote a more sustainable lifestyle.
Using the term loosely means not testing it on animals or it is a natural product. In the US, cosmetics are not specifically required to be tested on animals. However, in China, all cosmetics should be tested on animals before publicly launched.
Brands then use the term "Cruelty-Free" in this manner:
- Ingredients are not tested on animals
- The brand only uses animal testing when required by law
- No animal was harmed or killed or used for ingredients
- The brand relies on a test conducted by past animal tests and does not conduct tests themselves.
- No animal has been slaughtered
- The brand has a cruelty-free certification
Where to Find Cruelty-Free Products?
Finding brands that are of high standards of being cruelty-free is not that hard anymore, thanks to the internet. PETA's certification program has a list of approved companies that enumerate companies that are cruelty-free.
According to PETA, companies "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."
They also are allowed to use PETA's cruelty-free bunny logo if they pass the requirements and pay a one-time licensing fee of $100. PETA assures that if any company violates their statement of assurance, the brands will be called out and reprimanded (and will experience tons of PR nightmare.)
Australia also has CCF or (Choose Cruelty-Free) Organization which monitors Australian and global companies. To apply for CCF accreditation they should meet the standards of the organization. Two major criteria include: (1) Never tested on animals by anyone on its behalf, and (2) Never tested on animals by anyone on its behalf within a period of five years immediately preceding the date of application.
The Leaping Bunny Program is an up to date website where you will see cruelty-free news and deals from different brands.
- In Fashion: Bags and Clothing
Even for those who are not familiar with the fast fashion industry, the events of 2013 in Rana Plaza, Bangladesh, where 1,138 people lost their lives was heartbreaking news. This sudden, tragic loss of so many people seemed to shift consumers' minds: people requested that brands must change, and apply their inclusivity and consumer respect to their workshops and factories. People stood up and demanded ethical manufacturing practices – but even after 2013, the problems fast fashion generates still exist.
Sustainability in Fashion is trending now because of the demand of the consumer, the affordability of the product, and the environmental impact of the product. Bags and clothes like GNL Accessories promote slow fashion, PETA certified cruelty-free, and sustainable. GNL has taken a stand against animal cruelty.
In the Food Industry, a UK Mega Farm has been exposed to its malpractices not just towards animals but also to its workers. Cows have been suffering for the longest time in a "Mega Farm" in the UK. Filthy pens which have been the habitat for suffering and 'lame' cows as investigation expose this mega farm's practices. The investigation took five months and has revealed how this farm has been abusing animal welfare rights just for the sake of a quick buck. The investigation conducted by the Animal Justice Project, a cruelty-free organization, has filmed Berryfields Farm in Northamptonshire from March to August 2020.
- Cosmetics and Beauty Brands
China is now trying to regulate cosmetics testing. By the end of 2021, this regulation might already be in place. There is a trending news article that gives a glimmer of hope for vegan and cruelty-free makeup brands in China.
China is one of the few markets in the world that requires animal tests for beauty products and removing this requirement is certainly a step in the right direction. We understand that special-use' cosmetics such as hair dye and sunscreen will still need to undergo mandatory animal testing and post-market product testing. However, we remain hopeful that this too shall end soon.
List of Cruelty-Free Brands
According to PETA, these companies still test on animals. CLICK HERE. On the other hand, here is a quick guide on where to find cruelty-free products:
Why Go for Cruelty-Free Products? Benefits of Going Sustainable and Cruelty-Free
The cruelty-free market is on the rise and is expected to grow at least 6% by 2023 according to a report conducted by Market Research Future. It is believed that the new generation, the millennials, will continue to move towards embracing the love for brands that are sustainable, cruelty-free, and with high standards of ethics and integrity.
Today, consumers and organizations are slowly but surely and constantly sculpting the landscape of tomorrow towards a cruelty-free and a more sustainable world. It is just a matter of time that all of us jump in the movement towards a more sustainable tomorrow.