Kim Paschen is the Program Manager for Leaping Bunny, the leading cruelty-free certification program for personal care and household products that guarantees products to be free of animal testing at all stages of product development.
We recently checked in with Kim to ask a few questions about shopping for cruelty-free products. Here's what she had to say.
What is cruelty-free shopping?
Cruelty-Free shopping has long been synonymous with shopping for products that have not been tested on animals. However, this term is not currently regulated by any law in the U.S. or Canada, so companies can put this designation on their packaging without having to back up any of their claims. The Leaping Bunny Program arose from this need to clearly define what "cruelty-free" means with its Corporate Standard of Compassion for Animals and strict certification criteria.
Why do you advocate for cruelty-free products?
It's simple. The marketplace is filled with cruelty-free choices that work just as well, if not better than their animal tested counterparts. With over 670 Leaping Bunny certified companies, it is easy to find cruelty-free alternatives whose safety and efficacy are tested using cheaper, more reliable methods than the needless exploitation of animals in experiments.
How can a consumer determine whether a beauty product is cruelty free?
Look for the Leaping Bunny Logo! It's the easiest, fastest way to determine if a finished product and its ingredients and formulations are free of animal testing. We also have created a free smartphone app called Cruelty-Free for iPhones and Androids, so shoppers can do a search by company name, product type or UPC barcode.
What are some red flags that a beauty product is not cruelty free?
The first thing to look for is whether or not the product is owned by a company that is Leaping Bunny certified. Then, if the company does not appear on our list, it could be that they just haven't applied, but could still be cruelty-free. A shopper would then have to check with the company independently to ask about their manufacturing process with regard to animal testing.
How popular are cruelty-free products today? Why do you think consumers are interested in them?
Cruelty-free products are very popular and can be found in national chains like Target, Walgreens, Whole Foods and Ulta. To date, our list includes over 670 Leaping Bunny companies, with more being added every year. Consumers are recognizing that they do not have to sacrifice beauty and high quality to have a product that is free of animal testing. And it's not a hard argument to make that a rabbit (or any other animal) should be blinded for our beauty.
Where are the best places to shop cruelty free?
The No. 1 place to shop cruelty-free is the Internet. Almost every Leaping Bunny certified company has an online shopping option and sites like whiterabbitbeauty.com, amazon.com, drugstore.com, and iherb.com offer a multitude of choices. In addition, national chains such as Target, Whole Foods, Wegmans, Walgreens, CVS, Marshalls and Sprouts Markets all carry a wide variety of products made by Leaping Bunny certified companies.
How can consumers advocate for and raise awareness about cruelty-free shopping?
Consumers can voice their opinion with their dollars and spend their money with companies that do not engage in animal testing. In addition, they can contact non-Leaping Bunny certified companies and ask them to become certified. The more these companies hear from consumers, the more likely they are to listen.
What do you think are the biggest misconceptions about cruelty-free products?
The No. 1 biggest misconception with cruelty-free products is that the product truly is cruelty-free just by that simple statement alone. As stated before, there is no regulation of labeling in this domain, so companies are free to put whatever they wish on their packaging and in their marketing materials. A "cruelty-free" product may have been subject to animal testing at the ingredient or formulation level or, the product may have been tested on by a third party, not directly related to the company itself.