Access to information is turning more shoppers into conscious consumers. It’s also opening the door for marketers to greenwash products by using unsubstantiated ethical claims. We take a look at the long-standing consumer concern about animal testing and explain how products get Leaping Bunny certified and what it means.
WHERE DID THE LEAPING BUNNY CERTIFICATION COME FROM?
The movement to end animal testing is an old one, dating back to the late 19th century. Philanthropist Frances Power Cobbe encountered animal experiments while traveling through Europe and began to advocate against animal testing.
Her work led to the development of an organized movement made up of several 'anti-vivisection societies' in the UK known as the British Union, which eventually grew into several branches operating internationally.
By the mid-90s, cruelty-free had become such an important social issue that companies began to design their own logos and cruelty-free claims without the participation of third-party groups.
This created confusion among consumers who were trying to sift through true cruelty-free claims and false ones created by companies that wanted to capitalize on the movement.
In response, eight national animal protection agencies, including the British Union (now known as Cruelty-Free International) came together to form the 'Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC). The CCIC promotes a single standard for cruelty-free certification and an internationally recognized Leaping Bunny logo to help consumers recognize products that abide by their cruelty-free standards.
WHAT DOES THE RABBIT SYMBOL MEAN ON PRODUCTS?
The Leaping Bunny symbol on a product means that it is certified as meeting cruelty-free standards by CCIC. To display the Leaping Bunny logo, the product must comply with the Leaping Bunny Standard, which states that:
- The company does not and shall not conduct, commission, or be a party to animal testing of any cosmetic and/or household products including, without limitation, formulations and ingredients of such products.
- The company does not and shall not purchase any Ingredient, formulation, or product from any third-party manufacturer or supplier that conducted, Commissioned, or had been party to animal testing on said ingredient, formulation, or product.
- The company must implement a supplier monitoring system.
- The company shall not allow animal testing to be performed by or for submission to regulatory agencies in foreign countries.
Companies certified by the Leaping Bunny Program must also recommit to their cruelty-free status annually, and allow for independent audits accredited by the CCIC.
HOW TO GET LEAPING BUNNY CERTIFIED
There are no costs associated with applying for or becoming certified by the Leaping Bunny Program. This includes being listed in all versions of their shopping guide which is readily available to consumers.
Products that show the Leaping Bunny logo on their packaging or website have taken an optional extra step to pay to use the logo for marketing purposes. There is no difference in compliance between companies that are listed as Leaping Bunny certified and those that use the logo.
ARE GREEN CLEANING PRODUCTS CRUELTY-FREE?
You might think that green or environmentally friendly products should automatically be cruelty-free. To take care of the earth and environment should include caring for animals.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case. To expect that a company does not test on animals because they are eco-friendly is an incorrect assumption – even if they state that they are 'cruelty-free'.
Their finished products may not be tested on animals, but the ingredients that they contain may have undergone animal testing by a supplier.
In order to comply with the Leaping Bunny certification standard, a company must implement a 'Supplier Monitoring System'. This includes obtaining declarations of compliance from all product ingredient suppliers and manufacturers that confirm their cruelty-free practices.
Making a statement such as "not tested on animals" or "we do not test on animals" does not account for the possibility that the ingredients are tested on animals, or that another company tests on animals on their behalf. The only way to be sure of a company’s cruelty-free practices is independent auditing.
DOES CRUELTY-FREE MEAN VEGAN?
The Leaping Bunny certification standard can only certify the animal testing component of products.
To determine whether a product is vegan, consumers should consult the list of ingredients on each product. If a full ingredients list isn’t available (which isn't a legal requirement for household cleaning products in Canada), there is a chance that the product includes ingredients derived from animal products.
CRUELTY-FREE, ECO-FRIENDLY, AND CHEMICAL-FREE CLEANING
Our mission at AspenClean is to provide the highest quality cleaning services and products to create healthy, non-toxic homes and protect the environment. Minimizing our environmental footprint is a corporate value, and for us, this includes the ethical treatment of all animals.