Decoding Cosmetics Claims: 'Not Tested on Animals,' 'Cruelty Free'
TINA.org investigates what's behind the cruelty-free logos on the labels of cosmetic products.
 
When it comes to cosmetics claims, a 2015 Nielsen survey found that nothing is more important to consumers than the phrase “not tested on animals.”
 
But without a legal definition for this phrase — or its cousin “cruelty free” — how do consumers know what these terms really mean?
 
The FDA admits the lack of a federal definition has paved the way for the “unrestricted use of these phrases by cosmetic companies” — for example, employing the phrases even when the underlying raw materials used in the product were tested on animals.
 
Against this backdrop, some companies make use of cruelty-free logos in their marketing. Here are three programs that certify cruelty-free products, whose logos beckon beauty shoppers.
 
Beauty Without Bunnies
 
Organization: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) 
 
Strengths: An online database allows consumers to search not only “companies that do not test on animals” but also those that, according to PETA, do test on animals, in addition to companies that PETA says are “working for regulatory change,” a category that PETA says recognizes companies that test on animals only when required by law.
 
Weaknesses: While PETA describes its Beauty Without Bunnies program as the “ultimate resource for conscientious shoppers, making the quest for cruelty-free products as easy as (vegan) pie,” it is not hard to get on PETA’s nice list. Companies need only complete a short questionnaire and sign 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.” How does PETA know if a company is lying? It doesn’t. PETA contends that the fallout from being publicly exposed as a liar is enough of a deterrent to tell the truth: “A company that … states in writing that it doesn’t test on animals would face a public relations disaster and potential lawsuits if it was caught lying.”
 
Number of certified companies: More than 4,300, including The Body Shop (not using logo), Urban Decay (using logo), e.l.f Cosmetics (using logo), Tarte Cosmetics (using logo), and Kat Von D Beauty (not using logo).
 
Cost to use logo: A one-time licensing fee of $100
 
Leaping Bunny
 
Organization: The Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC), comprised of eight national animal protection groups, including the American Anti-Vivisection Society and the Humane Society of the United States 
 
Strengths: While PETA has a few posts that note what is required of companies seeking “cruelty-free” status through Beauty Without Bunnies, CCIC has a standard that outlines specific criteria companies must meet to gain Leaping Bunny certification, with definitions for what constitutes animal testing, declarations of compliance, and more. And when it comes to oversight of suppliers, Leaping Bunny requires companies to implement a supplier monitoring system and agree to an independent audit of the system at CCIC’s request. Firms must also obtain written declarations of compliance from suppliers or insert the following language into purchase orders:
 
“The supplier affirms by fulfilling this order that it does not conduct or commission animal testing of any cosmetics and/or household products, including without limitation, ingredients or formulations of such products, supplied to [relevant entity] after [Company’s Fixed Cut-off Date],” or the date after which a company ceased animal testing. The standard requires companies to recommit annually.
 
Weaknesses: The Leaping Bunny standard contains a difficult-to-parse exemption from its prohibition against animal testing that says companies can use animal-tested ingredients provided that (1) the ingredient was tested to meet “explicit statutory or regulatory requirements” for animal testing and (2) the testing was not conducted to assess safety, efficacy or environmental effects. With respect to the first condition of the exemption, another section of the standard states that companies “shall not allow animal testing to be performed by or for submission to regulatory agencies in foreign countries.” In regard to the second condition, what type of testing is CCIC referring to? What else is there to test for besides safety, efficacy or environmental effects? TINA.org asked CCIC if it could provide an example where this exemption would apply. We’ll update this post if/when we hear back.
 
Number of certified companies: More than 1,300, including CoverGirl, Milani, Antonym Cosmetics, PYT Beauty and Juice Beauty, all of which use the Leaping Bunny logo on product packaging.
 
Cost to use logo: According to CCIC: “A one-time licensing fee, based on the company’s gross annual sales,” which reportedly ranges from $500 to $4,500. (TINA.org also asked CCIC for more details about its charges. Check back for updates.)
 
Choose Cruelty Free
 
Organization: Choose Cruelty Free (CCF), an Australian-based non-profit 
 
Strengths: CCF requires a commitment from top to bottom, saying it will not accredit a company “unless all parent and subsidiaries are also accredited.” Only companies that have never tested on animals or have not tested on animals in the past five years can apply for accreditation. CCF does not allow finished products to be sold in jurisdictions that require animal testing.
 
Weaknesses: While CCF says it has never accepted statements of assurance, it still relies on companies to tell the truth without verifying that what they are saying is true. “Companies that have applied for accreditation by CCF have signed a legally-binding contract to the effect that what they have said in their application is the truth about their practices,” CCF says.
 
Number of certified companies: 126, including Sukin Organics, Australis and Go-To Skin Care.
 
Cost to use logo: $100 AUD ($68 USD) to apply, then, to use the logo, an annual licensing fee based on gross annual sales that a CCF spokeswoman told TINA.org ranges from $500 AUD ($340 USD) to $5,000 AUD ($3,400 USD).
 
What’s a beauty shopper to do? Here are some additional steps consumers can take to help verify that a cosmetic bearing a cruelty-free statement or label is what it says it is:
 
  • If possible, find out in which other countries the cosmetic is sold. If it’s sold in China, the Chinese government requires animal testing on many beauty products. If it’s sold in Europe, the European Union banned animal testing for cosmetics in 2013. (Of note, if enacted, the Humane Cosmetics Act would enforce a similar ban in the U.S., where animal testing can be used to establish product safety but is not required.)

 

  • Do some digging into the parent company. Dove, for example, is on PETA’s “Don’t Test” list, even as its parent company, Unilever, holds a spot on the organization’s list of companies “working for regulatory change,” which, again, means that the company tests on animals when required by law. (See point above.)

 

  • Check out the cosmetic company’s website to see if it breaks down the phases of production. If there are any gaps in the supply chain that may point to animal testing, ask the company about them.

 

  • It’s important to remember that just because a product is marketed as cruelty free doesn’t mean it does not contain animal-derived ingredients (see CoverGirl). This is why “cruelty free” should not be confused with “vegan.”
 
Additionally, just because a product lacks a cruelty-free logo on its label doesn’t mean it’s not certified by one of these organizations or any other offering accreditation. It could be that they decided not to pay the licensing fee.
 
Find more of our coverage on cosmetics claims here.
 
 
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    COMMENTS

    Deepak Narain

    5 days ago

    Animal testing is inhumane and cruel. We should avoid use of chemical beauty products and use only the natural ones like turmeric, henna, etc. God did not make animals to suffer for our vanity products.

    Lucy Post

    1 week ago

    PETA's behind-the-scenes work with companies has led to so many breakthroughs--including Dove and Herbal Essences going cruelty-free, and major companies like P&G working to promote non-animal testing methods. Animal testing is all but history in the U.S., thanks to their efforts, and China and other countries will be next.

    The Indian Cricket Team - Is it a Great Team? 
    The Indian cricket team has just achieved a victory against Bangladesh in the first ever day-night test match in India. This caps a period of seven consecutive test match wins as also four consecutive ones by an innings, apparently the first team ever to do so. Quite an admirable performance that has in some sense helped overcome the disappointment of bowing out of the World Cup earlier in the year.
     
    For a country that was largely starved of test wins in the past except on dusty bowls at home, this is something to be proud of. Let us put this victory in the right perspective.
     
    Cricket, unlike other sports, has limited global appeal, with only ten countries playing what we term ‘the test match’. Even amongst these elite ten countries, not many have been able to display consistently high quality of cricket. Currently, the competition is narrower still. The top three teams are India, Australia and surprisingly, New Zealand. These three teams have displayed superior level of performance over a long period of time. The next in the hierarchy are England and South Africa. 
     
    England, despite their loud claims of outstanding performance, have been very inconsistent, even losing to the West Indies a few months back, a fate that hardly any team has had to suffer in recent times. South Africa is clearly a team on the decline. With their internal problems and the Board in disarray, the future looks less than rosy. However, with strong traditions and vigorously competitive domestic turf, both these countries can bounce back any time. 
     
    It is the bottom five – Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, West Indies and Afghanistan – whose performances have fallen short of the levels expected of a top team. 
     
     
    In general, they have exhibited little appetite for competing with the best teams. Quite obviously, victories against these countries are achieved without too much sweat and could even be classified as meaningless. The result has always been a foregone conclusion and the only point of interest is whether the match finishes in three days or four. I don’t intend to discount these victories - a test match win is a test match win. People of my generation were starved of Indian victories which used to be few and far between. Therefore, any victory, even over minnows, must be welcomed. Especially admirable is the ruthlessness with which the Indian team has been winning against the weaker teams in recent times. 
     
    It is also quite praiseworthy that India has not resorted to preparing turning tracks to ensure a favorable result. Pitches have been competitive, at times even favouring the pace bowlers and carrying sufficient bounce. Pacers, spinners, batsmen and even fielders have contributed in equal measure to the performance of the team. 
     
    At the same time, we should refrain from going overboard, a trait we usually find in abundance amongst Indians. The true test of the team’s performance has to be how it fares against the best teams, especially outside the comfort of home conditions. We had embarked on three critical and defining tours two years back. 
     
    I had believed that these three tours would separate the men from the boys and tell us how good we are. From that perspective, there was disappointment and the team fell short of expectations since we had what it takes to win in those conditions. We lost 1-2 to South Africa and 1-4 to England. 
     
    We did admirably to defeat Australia for the first time ever in their home conditions, but it was a team which was in complete turmoil post the Sandpaper Gate and played without two of their best batsmen. Highly satisfying nevertheless, to put it across Australia, but the defeats to SA and England were rather disheartening. 
     
    We will, of course, soon have an opportunity to overcome the disappointment, when we tour New Zealand, Australia and England over the next two years. Our pursuit for greatness would be defined by winning at least two of the three series. Until those three series have been played, a final judgement must remain suspended.
     
    In the last six years, we have failed to win any major global tournament. With the advent of the T20, the frequency with which these tournaments are held, has gone up. Despite that, our cupboard is bare, with no trophy in sight. 
     
    The conclusion is very simple. While we have a very good unit which can compete and hold its own against the best and dominate the weaker ones, we are still not a great team. Enjoy the ruthlessness and the authority the team displays over weaker sides, but wait for a few years to fulfill our dream of a great, world-beating Indian cricket team. 
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    COMMENTS

    Nakul Kumar Reddy

    2 weeks ago

    I seen such a coordination
    Synchronization ,it's simply superb.
    Few min before I got message by Usman uncle .
    It's mind blowing message .thank u for supporting me

    Doordarshan to Disney: Norman Joseph's incredible journey
    Norman Joseph worked as a child artiste on Doordarshan for seven years, and is now lending his creative genius to Disney animated films like "Zootopia", "Moana", "Ralph Breaks the Internet" and "Frozen 2".
     
    "When I was in India, I never thought I would work for Disney animation. It is an amazing piece of my life...working for a company with such a rich history, and which is creating amazing movies that go around the world. It is awesome," Joseph told IANS at the Walt Disney Animation Studios in Burbank. 
     
    "Growing up was very different for me. I worked as a child artiste on a show on Doordarshan for seven years, and didn't think that I will go into computer graphics or will do computer engineering. I created a game. I liked it and that stuck with me. Then I thought, let's try something different. I never knew when I started doing computer graphics that I will end up working at Disney," said Joseph, who was born and raised in Mumbai. 
     
    He received his Bachelor of Engineering from Mumbai University and his Master of Science in Computer Graphics Technology at Purdue University. At Walt Disney Animation Studios, he works as a technical director and is responsible for providing support to artist teams, including writing tools, facilitating the computer generated animation process and acting as a liaison to the software developers.
     
    Why didn't he pursue his career in acting? "It's basically how much you put into it. Right? I didn't put more time into being an artist. I put more time into computer graphics and enjoyed that," he said.
     
    He began his career with Walt Disney Animation Studios in 2013 on the Oscar-winning film "Big Hero 6". In the recent time, he worked as general technical director on "Frozen 2", sequel of 2013 hit film. It is slated to release in India in English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu on November 22.
     
    Joseph feels "Disney Animation has the responsibility to create content that makes the world better.'' 
     
    "We make content that goes on to touches people's hearts, and create content that will give a message that will make the world a better place. We have the entire audience, and we can do something like this. It can change people's thinking."
     
    How will the animation industry change? "I feel that the technology will keep on changing the animation industry. We used to draw on paper before. Now, we are doing on a computer. It really depends on where the technology goes. That's very important."
     
    The world of the west is openly discussing ways to increase diversity at workplace. And Joseph notes that he works in a very diverse place. 
     
    "My department is very diverse. We have people from all over the world. I think it's almost near 50/50 split within male and female in my department. What does diversity mean? It basically means that you are getting different perspectives, and that makes your movie-making process better."
     
    At the moment, he is working on another animated movie, but can't reveal any details about it. 
     
    Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
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    COMMENTS

    Nakul Kumar Reddy

    3 weeks ago

    This credit goes to urs training.

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