TulsaPets Magazine May 2023

May / June 2023 • TulsaPets 37 “C ruelty free” is a term that is tossed around a lot nowadays. It’s also a confusing one because companies often use the term deceptively to gain the trust of buyers, not to mention that a cruelty-free product is not necessarily the same as a vegan product. So before we get into what products are cruelty free, let’s break down what being cruelty free really means. Cruelty Free and/or Vegan The Oxford dictionary defines cruelty-free products as “cosmetics or other commer- cial products manufactured or developed by methods that do not involve experimen- tation on animals.” A cruelty-free product might be marked by a picture of a bunny with the phrase “Cruelty free” or “This product was not tested on animals.” This differs from a vegan product, which does not contain ingredients derived from an- imals. A product can be both cruelty free and vegan, but many are one or the other. Vegan products are often marked with a picture of a plant and the word “Vegan” or “Certified vegan” on the label. So why are companies allowed to lie to consumers about their cruelty-free status? The answer is simple. There is no set defini- tion of the term put forth by lawmakers. A company can claim to be cruelty free and even have a phrase on the packaging stat- ing as much although it still outsources an- imal testing through a partner laboratory or purchases ingredients that were tested on animals. Essentially, the company can easily skate around the truth to boost its reputation, creating a frustrating experi- ence for buyers who want to make an extra effort to be ethical in their purchases. How You Can Verify a Product’s Status Luckily, there are ways to navigate this murky territory. An easy way to verify that a product is cruelty free is to look for the Leaping Bunny logo on its package. Leaping Bunny is a program that seeks to verify the cruelty-free status of companies to better inform consumers. The Leaping Bunny label can usually be well trusted because the requirements for obtaining a Leaping Bunny logo are extensive. If you’re curious, you can see a comprehensive list of certified companies or even shop direct- ly on the Leaping Bunny website. Another way to verify that a product has not been tested on animals is to simply go to the company’s website and read its statement regarding the issue. As you do so, remember that anyone can claim to be cruelty free, so look for the compa- ny’s own definition of the term. If you’re unsure, you can also check out websites such as Cruelty-Free Kitty and the Ethical Elephant, which do the research so you don’t have to. Cosmetics wit h Compassion Companies Offer Cruelty-Free Products by Kelsey Warren-Bryant