Many toiletries and cosmetics are tested on animals such as rabbits, mice, guinea pigs and even monkeys, causing considerable suffering. BUAV (British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection) campaigns against animal testing and for alternatives. They have developed the Humane Cosmetics Standard (HCS) and publish lists and directories, such as the Little Book of Cruelty Free, of companies meeting the standard. The Humane Cosmetics Standard requires that a company no longer conducts or commissions animal testing and applies a verifiable fixed cut-off date – an unmoveable date after which none of the products or ingredients have been animal tested. It also requires each company to be open to an independent audit throughout the supply chain, to ensure that they adhere to their animal testing policy and the Standard’s strict criteria.
Many companies which claim to be producing cruelty-free products are not on the BUAV list. This may be because they have not applied for approval under the Humane Cosmetics Standard which requires high standards of proof, annual certificates from suppliers and costs money. Smaller companies may not feel they have the resources to collect and supply the necessary evidence. It does not necessarily mean that they do make or use products tested on animals. If you are concerned about animal testing, read the companies’ policies carefully and make up your own mind.
Ethical Consumer assesses companies (not individual products) according to ethical criteria, such as their record on trade union rights, whether they are involved with the arms trade, their approach to environmental issues, animal testing and many other aspects. From this information they produce articles and reports and calculate an ethiscore.