Confused by labels, rumours, company websites and impressive-looking claims about ethical policies? Want your money to go to companies that don't support animal testing? It's easy: just click here to see a list of companies which are guaranteed not to test on animals, and you can shop with a clear conscience.

That list is all you need, but if you want to know more about the list, who's on it and why, just read on.

Animal Testing for Cosmetics, Toiletries and Household Products

Animal testing of cosmetics and toiletry products is already banned in the UK and across the European Union (EU), but that doesn't mean everything on the shelves is safe to buy. The ingredients that go into those products might be tested on animals by the company on the label or another company which supplies the ingredients. Whoever does it, it's still animal testing, and your money could be supporting it.

Second, the ban only applies to testing done in the EU itself. Cosmetics and toiletries made outside the EU but sold in Europe can still be tested on animals. The sad fact is that you can buy animal-tested make-up and toiletries on any high street. Meanwhile, there is no law whatsoever to stop animal testing for household cleaning products.

Companies with a real commitment to stopping animal testing don't test their products or their ingredients on animals. In addition, they don't pay anyone else to do testing for them, and they don't buy ingredients which are animal-tested.

The Good Guys

PETA only approves companies with the very best policies against animal testing. These are companies whose policies make a real difference today, helping to stamp out animal testing and stopping animal testing in the future. The good news is that these companies include top high street brands like Marks & Spencer, Lush, Co-op and The Body Shop as well as fantastic boutique brands available in other shops or online. All these companies do no animal testing of any kind and have made a real commitment to ensure that there is no animal testing in their supply chain. Not only are their products ethical, their buying power also helps persuade supplier companies to stop animal testing.

PETA's confidence in backing these companies is based on their approval by the Humane Cosmetics Standard (HCS) and Humane Household Products Standard (HHPS). The HCS and HHPS are independent and check that all approved companies have a strong policy against animal testing in place and that they and their suppliers stick to it. You can see the full list of approved companies here and read more about the standards and the criteria they adhere to here. A lot of these companies carry the "leaping bunny" logo on their packaging, but some do not.

The only company we approve that isn't on the HCS list is Lush. They aren't eligible to join for technical reasons, but they have a great policy and a real commitment to getting rid of animal testing.

The Rest

A handful of companies – like Procter & Gamble and Unilever – admit they test on animals, but most of the others either dodge the issue with fancy wording or just won't say. Beware of claims like "this product is not tested on animals", which can hide the fact that ingredients are tested on animals, or "this company does not test on animals", which may mean the company contracts out its testing to other companies.

There are too many companies making cosmetics, toiletries and household products to keep track of each one's involvement in animal testing but unless a company has a policy in place about their ingredients, it is very likely that the ingredients they buy will be tested on animals. That's why it's so important that caring consumers use their purchasing power to support companies that have strong, progressive policies which stop animal testing now and in the future. PETA approval tells you who those companies are.

New companies are being added to the cruelty-free list all the time. Some brand-new companies or very small ones may have good policies but they might not be approved on the HCS or HHPS yet. Not every company which isn't approved by PETA will do animal testing or buy animal-tested ingredients – but only those listed here are guaranteed to be 100 per cent cruelty-free.

Vegetarian and Vegan Products

Cosmetics and household products can contain animal ingredients. The HCS and HHPS list allows you to search for companies which are also approved by the Vegan and Vegetarian societies, and Lush have their own range of entirely vegan cosmetics. Of course, other companies may produce products which are entirely free of animal ingredients, and you can find out more by checking the labels before buying. You can find a list of animal ingredients on PETA US' Caring Consumer website.

To learn why it's important not to purchase items with animal products in them, click here. Thousands of animals suffer and are killed for cosmetics testing in Europe every year – and billions are also killed for food. Going vegetarian is healthy, humane and environmentally friendly. Meat production is the leading cause of global warming; causes pollution, deforestation and other environmental disasters; contributes to heart attacks, strokes and various types of cancer; wastes precious food that could be going to feed hungry people; and, of course, results in cruelty to animals. Those of us who care about animals, other people and the planet need to look at what we put in our faces as well as what we put on them!

Link to source-webpage, obtained via: Care2 News Network, April 23, 2008, 6:03pm

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  • Tom Usher

    About Tom Usher

    Employment: 2008 - present, website developer and writer. 2015 - present, insurance broker. Education: Arizona State University, Bachelor of Science in Political Science. City University of Seattle, graduate studies in Public Administration. Volunteerism: 2007 - present, president of the Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project.
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