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The generally accepted definition of the term 'cruelty free' is that a brand does not test on animals. However, labelling a brand as cruelty-free doesn't always mean the same thing across the board. A brand that states it is against animal testing could still: pay other companies to test on animals; buy from suppliers who test on animals; sell their products in countries which require animal testing by law; use ingredients from animals which are cruelly obtained; and so on. 

What you have to remember is brands are mostly about the big bucks. They want as much profit and as much publicity as they can get. People love animals, and companies know that consumers will not be comfortable in the knowledge that animals have suffered for the sake of their products. For this reason, they are hardly likely to come out and say "yep we made bunnies' eyes bleed to create that eyeliner you're wearing!". Elusive creature these big brands. 

For this reason, they will try to ease your qualms and state on the back of the product that they are against animal testing. However, it's important to look for an actual certification, such as the Leaping Bunny Programme. This is shown by the bunny outline seen below and is only awarded to companies which guarentee regular monitoring of their supply chains and ensure that no animal testing occurs. To learn more about the programme and the brands involved, click here.

The European Union banned animal testing (within the EU) in 2009, which is amazing. But the EU regulations have limitations and a brand can still sell to areas outside of the EU which do test *cough China cough*. This shows the importance of the Leaping Bunny Programme and #Brexit only further emphasises the need for companies to engage in it. Instead of just seeing WE ARE AGAINST ANIMAL TESTING, you want to look out for the little bunny outline on product packaging.

If the company is not part of the programme, another approach is to ask them directly via letter, phone or e-mail. It needs to be clarified whether: they test on animals; any of their suppliers test on animals; any of their products contain animal-derived ingredients; and whether they sell in China. As I mentioned, the latter is importnat because China has a ridiculous law that cosmetics must be tested on animals in order to be distributed. Lame. 

Vegan make up takes it that step further and means that no animal derived ingredients are used in the products. Leaping Bunny Certification is not necessarily 100% vegan, but most brands that have gone to the effort of being cruelty-free certified will probably state whether they are vegan or not on the back. If not, you may need to enquire with them via their customer service whether they are or not. For my UK based cruelty-free and vegan brand masterpost, click here.


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