How do you know if a company is free of animal testing, at all stages of development? The world standards that reliably identify cruelty-free companies are Leaping Bunny (USA, Canada, EU) and Choose Cruelty Free (Australia).
Leaping Bunny is the highest cruelty-free standard in the US, Canada, and EU. The technical name in the US and Canada is Corporate Standard of Compassion for Animals; in the EU, it's the Humane Cosmetics standard.
Because of the logo, the shorthand name is the Leaping Bunny standard and that's the term we use here - it's easier to remember!
To get Leaping Bunny certification, companies must meet these criteria:
Leaping Bunny is a fixed cutoff date standard. This means each company chooses the cutoff date after which they and their suppliers will halt animal testing. It can be any date up to and including the date a company applies.
For company suppliers, the cutoff applies only to the ingredients supplied to the company. Suppliers may still conduct animal testing on ingredients supplied to non-certified companies.
If an ingredient supplier starts testing an ingredient used by a company, the company must find a new source for that ingredient to remain in compliance.
Companies are audited regularly for compliance, so this is a highly reliable standard.
Choose Cruelty Free is an Australian standard, but it's not limited to Australian brands. The standard is similar to the Leaping Bunny standard, but is slightly stricter.
Companies must meet the following criteria:
Companies must sign a binding contract attesting that what they have said in their application is the truth about their practices. Companies are regularly re-accredited to make sure their practices continue to meet the Choose Cruelty Free standard. At any given time, about 20 companies are at some stage of the re-accreditation process.
Other organizations have developed their own cruelty free lists, the best known being PETA's list. These lists rely on verbal confirmations from ingredient suppliers and contract manufacturers, which are not verified and so are less reliable. (There's a reason why society uses written contracts for important transactions - would you hire a major contractor without a written contract?)
Still, PETA is a good second choice. It's also the certification most brands seek, because it is better known.
At Bunny Army, we include PETA brands for a few product types if the selection of Leaping Bunny and Choose Cruelty Free brands is limited. With 1,000+ Leaping Bunny and Choose Cruelty Free brands, this problem is disappearing fast.
Here are the major differences between the Leaping Bunny standard and the Choose Cruelty Free standard:
Despite these differences, both standards are strong and both provide good assurance that certified companies do not test on animals at any stage of product development.
Acknowledgments We are grateful to Leaping Bunny and to Choose Cruelty Free for reviewing the article for accuracy and for providing corrections and insights. Any remaining errors are ours alone.
Last updated: November 2017
The Leaping Bunny Logo is a registered certification mark of the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection.
The Choose Cruelty Free logo is a registered trademark of Choose Cruelty Free, Australia.
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