Ever since disturbing images of rabbits injured for product testing purposes surfaced a couple decades ago, this animal has come to symbolize ‘Cruelty-Free.’ But what do all these rabbit logos really mean? And what’s to stop companies from creating their own bunny graphic and slapping it on their packaging along with the words ‘Not tested on animals’? Because there is no federal regulation in place for cruelty-free labeling, companies can essentially make any animal testing claims they want. So how is the conscientious consumer able to discern which products are truly cruelty-free?
In an effort to put a stop to the misinformation, leading animal protection groups banded together in 1996 to form the Leaping Bunny Program, administered by the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC). CCIC is comprised of American Anti-Vivisection Society; American Humane Association; Animal Alliance of Canada; Beauty Without Cruelty, USA; Doris Day Animal League; The Humane Society of Canada; The Humane Society of the United States; MSPCA’s Center for Laboratory Animal Welfare; and the New England Anti-Vivisection Society.
The Leaping Bunny Program developed an internationally recognized Leaping Bunny Logo (which is also used by its European counterpart, the European Coalition to End Animal Experiments) along with a single, comprehensive standard that consumers can truly trust.
To become Leaping Bunny certified, a company must agree not to conduct or commission animal testing of any kind after a fixed cut-off date. In addition, the company must get all third-party manufacturers and suppliers to individually agree not to engage in animal testing for its products. This system ensures that a product is scrutinized throughout the entire manufacturing process. In addition, all companies must be open to independent audits to ensure that all of the Leaping Bunny’s cruelty-free standards are upheld. To date, there are over 300 Leaping Bunny certified companies. They range from national brands like Method, Seventh Generation, and Burt’s Bees to small startup companies.
Leaping Bunny has made it easy to shop without cruelty. We publish the Compassionate Shopping Guide, a handy wallet-sized brochure mailed to over 200,000 people annually, which lists all of the Leaping Bunny-certified companies. There is also an iPhone app of the guide as well, available for free through iTunes. Our Facebook page is liked by over 8,500 people and has the largest following of any organization dedicated to ending animal experimentation in the personal care and household products industry. In addition, we are working towards the goal of getting 100,000 people to sign our pledge to go cruelty-free. To take the leap yourself, visit Leaping Bunny Pledge .
Label scrutiny on all levels is long overdue. Consumers should be able to understand exactly what ingredients go into making a product as well as how it was manufactured and then choose accordingly. Full disclosure is a hallmark of the Leaping Bunny Program, considering it was created to dispel confusion and fallacies and Personal Care Truth is another step in the right direction of empowering people like you and I to make informed choices. Because, make no mistake about it, every time you buy personal care and household products, you are, in effect, endorsing the practices of the company that produced, packaged, and marketed it. Animal testing will continue as long as people support it with their purchases, so let your wallet do the talking and look for the Leaping Bunny! It can mean a huge difference in the life of an animal.
This guest post was written by: Kim Paschen, Marketing Manager of Leaping Bunny Program