Cruelty-free: What is your standard?

The majority of feedback I receive on this site is in relation to what is or isn’t cruelty-free. I do my best to report on what I know is cruelty-free, and if you think I may be wrong, or misinformed, please let me know! The last thing I want to do is to be promoting a product from a company I think is fantastic, when they actually stink major trucker balls.

There are two variations of cruelty-free that I have noticed. First of all, there is the concept that a product can be considered cruelty-free or animal-friendly if that sole product or that entire product line is not tested, yet the parent company does test (or at least doesn’t claim they don’t test) on their other lines. We see this with L’Oreal’s EverSleek / EverCreme / EverStrong lines, who claim their products to be “100% Vegan – Formula not tested on animals. Contains no animal byproducts.” – as it states on these product lines. But within the animal welfare community, L’Oreal is in no way considered a crusader for ending animal testing on cosmetics.

Secondly,  there are companies whose products are 100% cruelty-free; none of their products contain animal ingredients, nor do their ingredients come from tested sources, and the final product is also not tested on animals.

Of course we also have standards set by organizations like Leaping Bunny, or PETA. Companies can apply to be certified by these animal welfare organizations, and it often involves a signed commitment to being cruelty-free (according to the standard set by the particular organization), and even detailed disclosure of testing practices. These organizations serve as a helpful shopping guide, though they are not the be-all-end-all of cruelty-free possibilities.

What is your standard of cruelty-free?

I’d love to hear from you on this issue. Will you support companies like L’Oreal who have product lines that are not tested on animals, but who do not, in any way, ensure their other products are cruelty-free? Or will you only purchase from companies who are 100% cruelty-free in their practices and ingredient sources? Does a company have to have a PETA, LB, or similar certification in order for you to purchase it?

Let’s get the conversation going, everyone! Like this post and comment below if you want to discuss!

Ending Animal Testing: Who DOES and DOESN’T test?

Unilever is the mother-company of these brands, and not only are these brands of crap quality ingredient-wise, they are also a part of the animal-testing crisis we see today.

Part of the major reason why I began this blog, was because of my close connection with animals, and my disgust that these precious creatures were being abused, and tested on for something as superficial as cosmetics, or household supplies. I oppose animal testing of all forms, and whether it is through my animal sitting services, this blog, or how I care for any animal I meet, it is the passion that drives me!

/end sentimental portion

I was in the drug store earlier today, and that’s what sparked my desire to write this entry for you all. I needed to buy mouthwash, and unfortunately the shelves were dominated by the likes of Colgate and Crest. I picked the Tom’s  of Maine baking soda mouthwash. Love this stuff!

I’m always trying to reform the choices I make, and to keep up with what is and isn’t cruelty-free. I wanted to buy some tea, and I reached for some Lipton black tea with lemon, then realized it was Unilever (duh, Alyson!). This is NOT a cruelty-free brand. The product may just be tea, but on some level it is funding the company’s continued abuse of animals.

I think it’s high time, and extremely useful, to be able to provide my readers with a collection of reliable animal welfare organizations, who all compile their own shopping guides aka lists of brands that DO test, and that DO NOT test. For the longest time, PETA was the most common organization to do this.  Unfortunately, their reputation has been compromised, and they no longer seem to be a commonly considered reliable source for cruelty-free consumers.

And here are the organizations I will recommend you take a look at! Click on their logos to visit their websites and begin browsing for cruelty-free brands!

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There are more of these organizations out there, so I would appreciate it if people commented below with links to more. Each of these organizations have their own unique standards, but overall, they are quite consistent with their anti-testing policies.

There are many little things people can do, whether it is switching their brand of toothpaste, or choosing not to consume meat from factory farms. All of these efforts work to limit, and hopefully eventually bring an end to needless suffering.

My darling Stella (pictured above) thanks you for reading, and hopes you will consider to make cruelty-free choices in your future.

Leaping Bunny’s Response Re: Yves Rocher’s Status

I promptly received a response from Kim at Leaping Bunny, and suspicions about Yves Rocher have been confirmed! Here’s the response below (with my own emphasis):

“Hi Alyson,

Thanks for your email. Our European partner, the European Coalition to End Animal Experiments removed Yves Rocher from our list after it became clear some of their products/ingredients were being tested on animals in accordance with Chinese law in order to legally sell their products in this country. Because we keep the same list of cruelty-free companies, we removed them from our list as well. I hope this information is helpful!

Best,

Kim
Communications Manager
Leaping Bunny Program

Here it is, folks! From Leaping Bunny themselves. Yves Rocher is NOT cruelty-free, because they’ve decided to allow for testing on some products/ingredients, in order to sell in China. And who is to say the products they sell outside of China are still guaranteed cruelty-free? Without having a cruelty-free certification, what is their incentive to keep any of their products cruelty-free? They’ve clearly been deceiving the public.

Here are 6 Reasons to choose the Yves Rocher brand, as they claim on their website. Number 4 is “Respect for Nature & Safety”. They continue to claim their products are never tested on animals.

Lies, Yves Rocher, all lies!

Feel free to extend your thanks to Leaping Bunny for continuing to maintain their standards, and ensuring we have a reliable source of cruelty-free consumer information!

Please await my entry where I post the response I received from One Voice.

A Letter to Leaping Bunny; re: Yves Yocher’s Animal Testing Policy

Hi, everyone! I know that the status of Yves Rocher’s animal testing policy has been a major concern. Ever since I posted the first entry about Yves Rocher in 2011, it has remained a constant topic; a topic that I also agree is very important and necessary to discuss. Despite the article from 2010 confirming Yves Rocher’s cruelty-free certification from One Voice, speculation has remained.

Here is the email I sent to Leaping Bunny; I also sent a similar version to One Voice.

“Hello!

I run a cruelty-free blog (https://theclassyanarchist.wordpress.com/), and have regularly consulted your website regarding cruelty-free companies. One company, in particular, has come to my attention. One of my most regularly consulted posts has been about the animal-testing policy of Yves Rocher. I have always suspected their integrity, which is why I initially posted this: https://theclassyanarchist.wordpress.com/2011/03/21/yves-rocher-what-is-your-animal-testing-policy/ , and have since received much response. At the time I posted this, apparently Yves Rocher was on your list of cruelty-free companies, but I notice they are no longer there.

Can you provide some insight on this, so I can post the information on my blog and let others know? If Yves Rocher is no longer certified by Leaping Bunny, then I feel it is very important to inform as many as possible about this.

Thank you for reading,

Alyson R
The Classy Anarchist
https://theclassyanarchist.wordpress.com/

I plan on posting a generic letter format that anyone can use to send to companies to consult them about their animal-testing policies, or to consult an organization such as Leaping Bunny or One Voice, to check up on the status of a company. This is a very important issue, and the more people who contact these companies, the more likely things will change.

Thanks for your help!

Yves Rocher responds..

After several days of waiting, I received a delightful response from an Yves Rocher representative.

Dear Madam,

We were very interested in your question concerning our position on using animals in testing beauty products and thank you for your enquiry.

We hope we can enlighten and reassure you on this matter.

The Yves Rocher Brand entered the fight against using animals in testing beauty products at a very early stage.
As a pioneer in this fight, in 1989, and by replacing testing on animals with alternative methods, Yves Rocher encouraged other important players in the economy to follow suit.

In 1992, the S.P.A. (Society for the protection of animals) awarded us the gold medal for our action towards animals.
Yves Rocher is also listed with the association ‘One Voice’, which is a reference in the fight against experiments on animals .The French association One Voice is the French representative in the « European Coalition against experiments on animals » whose international standards (Human Cosmetics Standard) are totally respected.
The One Voice label, which certifies products which are not tested on animals, is recognised as one of the most demanding. It is the guarantee that none of our formulas or product’s ingredients involves experiments on animals.

In line with our commitment, we openly admit to never using or encouraging animal testing whether it concerns our finished products or their ingredients.
If we develop a plant extract which requires testing on animals in order to prove its safety, then we guarantee that this extract will never be used in our products however beneficial it may be.

Moreover we invest in research programmes on alternative methods to testing on animals. We are working closely with a National research institute on two new methods for measuring allergies in vitro as an alternative form of testing.

Our Internal charter on the ingredients in our products is extremely strict: we refuse to use any raw materials of animal origin.
For example, we refuse to use a pigment frequently found in eyeshadows called cochineal coming from an insect with the same name which produces carmine acid to protect it from its predators and is used as a scarlet dye.

Yves Rocher has been committed for 50 years and will continue to fight for nature in all its forms through its Brand and its Foundation.

We hope that this information has answered all your questions.

Yours faithfully

Stéfanie Comtois
Customer Service
Let me just say that a) I am extremely impressed, and b) I’ve looked up the One Voice association, and it is legit. Here‘s some more information about One Voice, for anyone who is interested.

Now that we’ve got the question of animal testing out of the way (and I plan to respond to her and recommend they promote this information more in stores, because if I don’t see anything on an individual product about a policy against animal testing, I tend to assume animal testing is part of their policy.

Also, while I am more likely to give their products a chance (I did end up picking up a travel size coconut perfume for about $6 that smells lovely), I do still feel the quality is lacking in a lot of their products, especially their make up. If anyone has had a positive experience with Yves Rocher’s products, particularly their makeup, please let me know, I would love to hear about it!

Yves Rocher, what in the @#*% is your animal testing policy?!

**ATTENTION READERS: THIS IS MOSTLY SATIRE (minus the part where I actually sent them an email, and my opinions of their products overall). If you cannot take a joke, and are just going to get all huffy and red-faced angry and protective (Yves Rocher is doing just fine – RELAX), please skip these Yves Rocher entries**

I’ve only got a conclusion to write for this ridiculous research paper that has been stealing my precious time, so I figured I’d take a much needed break while I let my face mask do its work!

I went into Yves Rocher this past Sunday with my mother, who has always been drawn in to their stores by the cute displays, their spa they have in the deep-dark-depths of the back of their store, and of course the ridiculous display of deceptive “50% off all makeup!” signs. I have never been very impressed with their product quality, but there is something that disturbs me even more about Yves Rocher.

Can they be any more ambiguous as to whether they conduct animal testing on any level? You question the sales associate, who’s makeup is just horribly done (she forgot to put on blush — HELLO, CONTOURING; her mascara barely shows — it must be one she bought with her staff discount), and she smiles at you with this look of robotic cheerfulness, saying, “animal testing? Oh, no. Never.” (hey, Stepford wife, get back in that movie!) Am I a bitch for feeling this way? Nuh uh, that crazy sales bitch is lying!

Okay, so maybe she isn’t a crazy bitch. But a company like Yves Rocher, that prides itself on being a bountiful haven of botanical beauty, one that is eco-friendly, and oh-so good for you (so you should buy this, and this, and this..), does not make it obviously certain that animal testing is not conducted in any shape, form, manner, or tweezer. Customers who are already concerned about the quality of such products would certainly find this information valuable. Of course, there are those people who don’t care, but that’s what a good selection of products at the drugstore are for.

Here is the one place, on their website, where they indicate that animal testing is not part of their policy. Reason number four, to shop with Yves Rocher, states that “[o]ur natural plant formulas are all clinically tested, but never on animals”. Well that may be enough reassurance for some, but why is it that they fail to appear on PETA’s List of Companies That Do Not Test on Animals, a major source for people who want to shop ethically? There is also major debate on the internet about the truths to what they claim. Why do none of their products reaffirm this statement against animal testing? It only makes sense that they would use that to promote their enviro-loving image even further.

If Yves Rocher truly doesn’t test on animals, then great. I decided to send them an email asking some questions (I was polite) about their policy. Here is a copy of what I sent them:

Hello!

I was recently in one of your stores, and I could not help but be curious and question your animal testing policy. It seems to be extremely ambiguous; while the sales representative denied claims of the use of animal testing, and your products seem to promote this natural, environmental-friendly, and botanical image, I have yet to see an explicit statement denying or ensuring the customer that your products are free of animal testing. Your company is also not on PETA’s list of approved companies that do not test, and I would really like to know what the policy on animal testing really is, and if you do not test, why is this not indicated on your products? People who purchase cruelty-free products(myself included), feel this is very important in choosing what we purchase. If a product does not indicate they are not using animal testing, it is best assumed that they do conduct such a practice.

Thank you for reading,

Alyson R.

I sent this on Sunday, so let’s hope I get a response by the end of the week. I will post it here if I do.

Oh, and what did my mother buy? Well, in between me swatching different colours of eyeshadow and looking horribly disappointed, she had decided (or rather, was convinced by that space-case sales associate) to purchase a retractable kabuki brush. The casing looked very cute. As for the brush, when she got it home and we were comparing it to my E.L.F. studio brushes (which were approx. $1.35 a piece — 55% off sale, baby!), there was simply no comparison. I told her I would pick her up a few E.L.F. brushes for the price of that one, and she agreed to return this Cousin-It of a makeup brush.

See, the problem with Yves Rocher, is that even if they don’t test on animals, I have never been satisfied with their product quality, and I have given many of their products a try. Don’t waste your time, go to the health food store, or the organic section at the drugstore. If any of you lovely readers have found an Yves Rocher product you enjoyed, please inform me!

Until then, Yves Rocher, you are dead to me.