Leaping Bunny, Cruelty Free
Cruelty free shopping has been getting tricky. What happens when a company like Body Shop never tests products on animals but their parent company does?
As someone who loves animals and made the decision just over a decade ago to become vegetarian working through the sticky web of ‘cruelty free’ has been difficult, and completely overwhelming. Somehow, despite there being a fairly simple system in place to identify products that haven’t been tested on animals, products are still slipping through the cracks.
Once upon a time it used to be quite easy to head to the Body Shop and buy your body care products, but then they were bought by L’Oreal and things got a little bit more complicated. No, the Body Shop does not test their products on animals, they never have, but their parent company has done. Not only that, but products sometimes have a long and hideous chain of companies behind them, so sometimes it is difficult to see the wood for the trees. For example, if you made the choice to stop buying products made by Procter & Gamble, how easy would that be? Well, for starters you would no longer buy ‘Bold’, ‘Febreze’, ‘Herbal Essences’ and ‘Pantene’, to name a few. However did you know that P&G are also responsible for ‘Always’, ‘Braun’, ‘Tampax’ and ‘Charmin’ loo roll? Ah, as a lady that makes the ‘time of the month’ a little difficult. Thank monkeys for mooncup! (But that’s a whole other story.)
Thankfully things have cleared up a little bit. In March of this year the European Union implemented a ban on the import and sale of animal tested cosmetics. Brilliant I hear you say, now I can go and choose any cosmetic knowing it will be cruelty free. Unfortunately that is not exactly the case. What the ban means, in plain English, is that companies can no longer test out new products on animals outside of the EU, for sale within the EU. Something certain companies had been doing to get around the 2004 ban. It also means that if a company tests a new ingredient on animals after March 2013 then any product containing this ingredient cannot be sold within the EU. This of course does not prohibit companies testing on animals and selling their products elsewhere; in reality companies that sell their products in China will certainly continue to do so since Chinese law requires imported products to be tested on animals prior to reaching the open market.
When looking for a cruelty free product, the Leaping Bunny has always been a safe bet. Using the 1998 launched Humane Cosmetics Standard (HCS) they grant the logo to companies who do not commission or conduct animal testing for its cosmetic or toiletry products. This means that the company neither conducts tests in its own laboratories nor pays another company to do it for them. All well and good, but is this really relevant now, now that the new EU legislation has come into place? In my opinion it is, because the Leaping Bunny is only granted to companies that have decided not to trade in China. Not only that, the Leaping Bunny is global and therefore applies to all operations and sales of companies, not just the ones for the European market. This means that they only certify companies that have a policy not to test their products on animals for any market.
Of course, the Leaping Bunny is not infallible, as they have said on their Facebook: “The Body Shop itself complies with Leaping Bunny standards and we choose to include it in our shopping guide with the notation that it is a cruelty-free subsidiary of a parent company (L’Oreal in this case) that does not comply. We disclose this so that you have all the information possible when shopping.”
So ultimately, as with most things, it will come down to personal choice.
If you are interested in reading more, or checking out the full list of cruelty free products then you can find the information here: