We write a lot about cruelty-free, vegan and vegetarian certifications when reviewing different beauty products. There are certainly plenty of certifying agencies out there, each one using different factors in determining who gets certified by them, and who doesn’t. While there are many certifying agencies that are well-known both internationally, and nationally, such as the Leaping Bunny program, and PETA’s well known list of cruelty-free companies, each one has standards that vary in strictness. From ingredients requirements to supplier sources, there are lots of degrees by which to measure a product’s compassion levels.
Ingredients are one thing that many certifying agencies look for. Animal derived ingredients such as carmine from crushed beetles, honey from bees and lanolin from sheep’s fur are considerations. The key in deciding which certification to look for in your own standards of what you will tolerate is knowing which ingredients the certifying ingredients find ok, and how they label. For instance, the well-known Leaping Bunny program will certify companies as “cruelty free” so long as they don’t test on animals, but consider it ok for products to contain honey. If you are a strict vegan, who does not partake in the consumption or use of honey, then the Leaping Bunny certification might not be useful as they will certify companies who use honey. Similarly, PETA will list companies who don’t test on animals as cruelty-free, even if they use carmine in their products.
Animal testing is obviously another biggie when it comes to certification, and here again it is important to know, not only where the certifying agency stands on testing, but the product company itself. For instance, in order to be certified by the Leaping Bunny Program, the company must commit that, not only are they not testing their product on animals during any stage of development, but that the companies who supply their product ingredients are not either. Many companies, such as the popular company “Bath & Body Works”, get creative with their wording by saying things like, “This finished product not tested on animals”, which often means that the ingredients were still animal tested.
Many products will have a certification from a vegan or vegetarian society and this can mean different things as well. There isn’t a standardized meaning when it comes to beauty products as opposed to consumables. Some consider a product vegetarian as long as it doesn’t contain products for which the animal was killed, while others consider it vegetarian as long as it doesn’t contain lanolin or carmine, but consider honey ok. We will be covering specific certifying agencies and their standards in articles to come, so stay tuned to learn more!