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Clean Skin, Clear Conscience

Published 12/15/04
Source: Animal Issues, Volume 35 Number 4, Winter 2004

Winter means many things to many people. Some count the days until the warm sun shines allowing them to unbundle their layers of protection against winter’s chill. Others embrace the frosty season and seek adventure on ski slopes or enjoy the crisp air on a long day hike. Many celebrate the season by attending, or throwing, festive holiday parties and eagerly make preparations and resolutions for the upcoming New Year.

While winter may be met with varying attitudes and plans, one thing remains constant: API wants you to feel good about taking care of your skin while knowing your purchases are making a difference in the lives of animals! So go head and treat those chapped lips to a soothing balm, indulge your dry skin with fragrant body lotions, warm your body and relax in a bubbly tub, or give yourself a festive holiday makeover. Wonderful products are available from companies that have taken a firm stand against animal testing!

If your list of New Year’s Resolutions includes treating yourself to great products while saving animals and sending a powerful message against animal cruelty, then API can help!

What We’re Doing

Cosmetics and personal care manufacturing companies are becoming increasingly aware of consumer’s desire to end animal testing — once and for all! While many companies can claim that they do not test their final products on animals, fewer can state that their ingredients are free of new animal testing. This year, API has resolved to increase this number and actively encourage companies to change their ingredient purchasing policy by taking an important stand against animal testing throughout their manufacturing process.

No company can claim that none of the ingredients it uses have ever been tested on animals. Even water has been tested on animals at some point in the past. However, many companies are committing to end animal testing by agreeing not to purchase ingredients tested on animals after a fixed cut-off date. This means that ingredient suppliers must respond to manufacturers’ demands by utilizing non-animal testing alternatives and existing safety data, rather than conducting unnecessary animal testing. The eventual result of consumers’ demand for products manufactured with compassion will be the elimination of animal-tested ingredients. Your choices make a difference in the lives of animals and API is resolved to help educate consumers on the importance of purchasing products that have not contributed to animal suffering.

In order to help consumers choose products that meet the highest standard for non-animal testing, API and animal protection groups from around the world have developed a coalition to certify cosmetic and household product manufacturers that are legitimately cruelty free.

API acts as headquarters for the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC). The CCIC offers more than just a list of companies — it provides a verifiable Standard. Companies must sign a written commitment to end animal testing throughout their products’ development, including obtaining assurances from all ingredient suppliers that they will not supply a CCIC-certified company any ingredients that have been tested on animals after a fixed date.

While ingredients change and suppliers may come and go, a CCIC’s company policy remains firm.

What You Can Do

This year, you can change animals’ lives by resolving to:

  • Purchase only from CCIC-approved companies, knowing that their cosmetics and personal care items are free of animal testing throughout their development.
  • Request more information from organizations supporting companies that claim they do not test on animals:
    • Ask if those companies have agreed to end animal testing throughout their supply chain, or if they are just making a claim about final products.
    • Ask how that organization monitors a company’s promise that it is indeed "cruelty free."
    • Ask if the companies listed have a system in place ensuring that the ingredients they purchase are not tested on animals after a fixed date.
  • Carefully examine product labels to make more informed purchases. Use the guide below to aid your review of cosmetics and personal care product claims.

CCIC-approved companies offer a wonderful range of products to protect and pamper your skin this winter season. Demonstrate your support by patronizing those companies and show them that their commitment has not gone unnoticed.

You may wish to try V’TAE’s Muscle Soother Bath Soak or the Jasmine Rose Bath Salts, or Badger Balm’s Highland Mint Lip & Body Balm for chapped lips or Badger Healing Balm for dry hands and cuticles (reportedly used by North Pole explorers!). Or maybe try Organic Make-up Company’s Lip Colour Palette or Gabriel Cosmetics’ range of lipsticks, or Kiss My Face’s Filthy Rich Organic Moisturizer.

All companies approved by CCIC have made the commitment to end animal testing throughout their cosmetic or household product lines. Visit www.leapingbunny.org/shop_company.htm for an up-to-date online shopping guide listing (with links) those companies that have obtained CCIC approval.

Take a compassionate stance: Resolve to buy cruelty free in 2005! Indulge yourself in a relaxing bubble bath, soothe wind-chapped skin or lips, or lather up with cruelty free suds knowing that your purchases have not contributed to animal suffering.

A Closer Look at "Cruelty-Free" Claims and Labels

  • "Not tested on animals."
  • "Our formula not tested on animals."

    Companies that do not conduct animal testing on finished products or formulations may still test ingredients on animals. These claims may appear on a product label if the final product was not tested on animals. Ingredient suppliers, however, may still test specific formulations or ingredients on animals. Companies may request the test data for ingredients to ensure that no new animal testing was conducted prior to accepting the ingredient. Without an ingredient purchasing policy in place, a company may continue to manufacture and distribute products that contributed to animal suffering.

  • "People-tested."
  • "Fashion tested"

    Again, this simple claim does not address ingredient testing. This statement offers little assurance about the company’s policy regarding ingredient purchasing or use of contracted, third-party testing data. It merely asserts that "people" were used to test some phase of this product’s development.

  • "No animal testing or ingredients"

    This is potentially two different claims. The first portion of the phrase ("No animal testing ...") does not address the question of ingredient testing, as described above. The second portion ("...or ingredients") might be a reference to the absence of animal-derived ingredients or animal byproducts, meaning that the product is vegan. Therefore, this claim may not address the ingredient testing component of the company’s manufacturing process. Unfortunately, "vegan" ingredients can be subjected to animal testing.

  • "Cruelty Free"

    This is a very general statement that offers consumers little practical information. There is no set definition of the term "Cruelty Free." Interpretations could vary: What, precisely, is considered "cruel"? Does this mean that only the final product was free of animal testing? Or does it mean that any animal testing that occurred was not "cruel"? Does it mean that the product is free of animal byproducts? This claim requires further inquiry.

  • Appearance of a bunny or icon implying an anti-animal-testing policy

    Some product labels proudly display icons, such as globes, leaves, rabbits (often in a crossed out circle), dogs, etc., that suggest they have an environment- and animal-friendly approach. Investigate the icon and find out what it means. API and the members of the CCIC support the Leaping Bunny logo, offering the assurance of a company’s compliance with the CCIC Standard. While many companies continue use to bunnies, or similar "natural" icons, to imply that they have a policy on animal testing, the mere appearance of a rabbit on a bottle offers little assurance of a company’s actual policies or practices.

    Considering the public’s opposition to animal testing, it is hardly surprising that companies still involved in this cruel practice are reluctant to provide clear and straightforward information on what they do. Many times a simple icon or statement functions more as a marketing tool to encourage concerned consumers to feel comfortable in their purchase than as genuine proof of animal-friendly practices.

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