Shop Mindfully: Don't Buy Products Tested on Animals

As consumers, we have tremendous power to control the market. A product no one buys will leave the shelves; there are too many options for consumers to choose from for companies to keep an unwanted product supplied. As consumers, we have a responsibility to use our money wisely. We need to be cognizant of how our choices resonate in the market by encouraging or discouraging the production of certain items. When in the store, be mindful of which items you buy because on the other end may be a bunny with its eyes burned out from animal-testing.

There are some labels you can look out for if you are looking for cruelty free brands. The Leaping Bunny Logo is monitored by the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics. Companies that apply must pass on-site audits to verify that the company really does not test on animals. Because the audit process, the Leaping Bunny is a more trustworthy than the PETA Bunny. PETA does not conduct audits; instead, PETA trusts that the company in question is being truthful. In order to get the PETA Bunny stamp of approval, all a company must do is fill out a short survey and sign a statement of assurance that the company will not conduct, commission, or pay for tests on animals for ingredients, formulations, or finished products.

However, it is naïve to completely rely on the Leaping Bunny and PETA Bunny labels. Unfortunately, a company can still advertise as cruelty free even if they do test on animals. The Food and Drug Admission said that “the unrestricted use of these phrases by cosmetic companies is possible because there are no legal definitions for these terms,” making it really a free-for-all when it comes to advertising. For example, skin-care brand Neutrogena advertises as cruelty free, but Neutrogena does use animal testing in order to sell its products in China in accordance to China’s requirement of animal testing. To additionally complicate the matter, a company can use animal-tested ingredients and still claim that their product is cruelty free because the company did not personally use animal-testing.While consumers cannot trust misleading advertising, PETA does have a trusted list of companies that do not test on animals. While PETA does not double-check companies on the list after they have signed a statement assuring PETA of no animal testing and completing a questionnaire, companies caught lying would face a lawsuit and public backlash. Missing from PETA’s list are popular Tresemme hair products and Revlon make-up. An alternative to Tresemme is Paul Mitchell hair products; instead of Revlon, consider using Lush cosmetics.

The more popularity cruelty-free products gain, the less animals will be hurt. Companies are encouraged to test on animals in order to sell their product in countries, such as China, that require animal testing. To negate the draw of being able to sell in other countries, American consumers need to support cruelty-free companies. Next time you are shopping, keep in mind the animals who may have sacrificed for your product. Use your power as a consumer wisely.