What does “Cruelty Free” mean?

Sep 19, 2018 | Beauty, Life, Pet Health, Pets

This is a re-post and correction update:
I was recently contacted by Greg McFarlane, Director of Vegan Australia, about my inaccurate information pertaining to the meaning of and definition of what Veganism actually means. Greg has been involved with the animal rights and vegan movements for the last 10 years and is currently a director of Vegan Australia. His focus is on reducing the barriers to veganism by campaigning for systemic changes which make veganism more mainstream, convenient, accessible and appealing. The work of the International Rights Network is in alignment with this.
The definition of veganism, given by the UK Vegan Society, is “a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.” Note that this includes “all forms of exploitation”, including animal testing.
Little by little, I find myself looking more and more for cruelty free makeup brands, body washes, hair, skin and cleaning products but it can be so confusing at times as to who is actually real and true in their opinion of what “cruelty free” means.  I thought I’d do some research and share what I’ve found with you.



According to Greg, The definition of veganism, given by the UK Vegan Society, is “a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.” Note that this includes “all forms of exploitation”, including animal testing.

In fact, all major vegan certification schemes include “no animal testing” as a criteria in certifying vegan products:

Want more information on the UK Vegan Society:


Interview with Greg McFarlane about the vegan movement in Australia



What does it mean when they say “Cruelty Free”?
Cruelty-free, meaning (1) they don’t test finished products on animals at any point during production, (2) their suppliers don’t test raw materials or ingredients on animals, (3) no third-party tests on animals on their behalf, and (4) they don’t test on animals where the law requires it, i.e. mainland China.

Who are the 3 major cruelty free organizations?
Some companies are certified by Leaping Bunny, PETA, or Choose Cruelty-Free — the 3 major cruelty-free organizations. Leaping Bunny is the only internationally recognized one, while PETA focuses on North America and Choose Cruelty-Free focuses on Australia. Not all organizations have the same standards.

Who is Leaping Bunny?
Leaping Bunny is the globally recognised guarantee that a brand has made a genuine commitment to ending animal testing for its products. Certified companies must meet their rigorous criteria, including independent audits of their entire supply-chain monitoring system, before they let them display the Leaping Bunny logo.

At PETA, they take things a step further to ensure that they are giving you the most accurate information by using the “cruelty-free” term for companies that have signed their statement of assurance. These businesses have verified that neither they nor their ingredient suppliers conduct, commission, or pay for any tests on animals for their ingredients, formulations, or finished products anywhere in the world and won’t do so in the future.

According to PETA, Some companies will say that they don’t conduct animal tests unless required by law—this means that they’re choosing to pay for tests on animals so that they can sell more products in China. Don’t buy it! The best way to ensure that you’re not supporting cruel and deadly tests is by purchasing only from companies listed as “cruelty-free” in their database.

If you are unsure or have made the same mistake as I have in thinking you are using a product that is cruelty free and it is not, check out this database listing all cruelty free companies:  http://features.peta2.com/shopcrueltyfree/

Who is Choose Cruelty Free or (CCF)?
Choose Cruelty Free (CCF) is an independent, non-profit organization based in Australia, which since 1993 has produced the Choose Cruelty Free List (CCF List) for Australian consumers.  They actively campaign for an end to animal testing of cosmetics, toiletries and other household products.

CCF surveys and accredits cruelty-free companies selling cosmetics, toiletries and household cleaning products to Australian consumers, online and/or retail. Accredited companies join the CCF List online, in the free CCF App and in the printed booklet which is produced twice per year.  All CCF work is performed largely by volunteers who believe in a cruelty-free lifestyle.

Vegan does not necessarily mean Cruelty Free.


Sometimes ‘vegan’ does not mean Cruelty Free.

Some product makers can mislead consumers by incorrectly using the word ‘vegan’ to describe products that have been tested on animals. To be clear, vegan means avoiding all forms of exploitation of animals, including animal testing. This definition is given by the UK Vegan Society, the organization that originally coined the word.

However there is a misunderstanding by some brands that for a product to be labelled ‘vegan’ it only has to be free of all animal by-products. They ignore the part of the definition that excludes animal testing. To avoid this issue, check that the product has been certified by a reputable vegan organization.


To be sure the brands you buy are vegan and cruelty-free check the Vegan Choose Cruelty Free List

Looking for more cruelty free companies, Covergirl Cosmetics Goes Cruelty Free


You Might Also Like

Your Dog’s Zodiac Sign

Your Dog’s Zodiac Sign

Happy Wednesday everyone!  Ever wonder what your pet's reaction means to something?  Your Dog's Zodiac Sign is a fun post that sheds light on their behavior based on the month they were born.  Jake and Maggie are Gemini's born June 8, 2017!  The horoscope (see chart)...

The Stigma Surrounding The Pitbull Breed

The Stigma Surrounding The Pitbull Breed

Happy Wednesday everyone!  Today on the blog we are talking about The Stigma Surrounding The Pitbull Breed.  For those of you who have never owned a Pitbull, I want to tell you that they are a wonderful breed.  So when I heard about the UK banning all XL bully dog...

What Is A Cat’s Primordial Pouch?

What Is A Cat’s Primordial Pouch?

Happy Wednesday everyone!  Today on the blog we are answering What Is a Cat's Primordial Pouch?  My sister adopted a kitten and as he grows, he is developing a very large stomach.  I commented on how big he is getting and she said it’s a Primordial Pouch.  As soon as...

What Do You Think? Let Us Know!


  1. Carla Evans

    I love that more and more companies are becoming “cruelty free”. I always try and look for those products even if it means spending a little more because it’s totally worth it!!

    • Bobbi

      I feel the same! It’s amazing how much change I’ve made over the last couple of years. I never thought about buying these items before until I started doing all of this research. It’s really opened my eyes!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Crop Image