Why compassionate shopping matters for animals

You might be forgiven for thinking that most personal and household products are ethical these days. So many brands now use logos or make claims about their cruelty-free credentials. And, of course, some are entirely genuine.

But unfortunately, some companies and brands aren’t as squeaky clean as they appear, because although certain products in their range aren’t tested on animals, parent companies or their subsidiaries could still be involved in testing for other purposes.

That’s why we started the Compassionate Shopping Guide over thirty years ago, so that ethical shoppers can have complete peace of mind that their money isn’t supporting animal experiments – whether directly or indirectly.

Isn’t testing cosmetics on animals banned?

The UK banned the testing of cosmetic products and their ingredients on animals in 1998, and the EU did the same in 2013. Other countries are following suit and a growing number of US states have also introduced bans. However, cosmetic testing isn’t prohibited everywhere in the world yet. So, whilst products might not be tested for the UK and other places with bans, companies may still comply with testing requirements in other parts of the world so they can sell their products in as many countries as possible.

Even if a company doesn’t test its cosmetics on animals, that doesn’t always guarantee they’re not involved in testing. It can be common for big companies to own or be part of a group of brands; other parts of the whole company’s supply chain could be involved in testing for regulatory purposes.

We only endorse cosmetic companies that are completely cruelty-free because we check a brand’s parent or subsidiary companies, too.

What about household products?

The UK banned finished household product testing in 2015, but testing ingredients on animals can still take place to comply with other regulations, such as the chemicals regulations, REACH.

Household products include detergents, polishes and cleaning products, laundry products, household cleaners, air fresheners, toilet cleaners, descalants, deodorisers, adhesives, paints and varnishes, sealants, caulks and other decorating materials. Sadly few other countries have initiated household testing bans on either finished products or their ingredients.

We don’t endorse any household product companies that test their products on animals or that have links to testing through their parent or subsidiary companies.

How are animals used to test products?

Rats, mice, rabbits, guinea pigs and fish are typically used to test household and cosmetic ingredients. They are usually exposed to substances orally, onto the skin, or via inhalation.

Depending on the method, animals can experience pain, seizures, bleeding, ulceration, inflammation, and more. The distress of being handled, restrained and shaven further adds to their horrendous experience.

They are usually killed to assess the toxic effects on their bodies or reused for other experiments. It’s simply not acceptable that animals are still experimented on for the sake of everyday products.

What you can do

The most effective thing you can do is vote with your pound. Use the Compassionate Shopping Guide to find brands that live up to your values and tell your friends and family about it, too.

There are other schemes out there that endorse brands, but remember, not all of them take account of the whole supply chain. So, whilst a product could be labelled cruelty-free, the company could still have ties to animal testing via a parent or sister company.

All the brands in the Compassionate Shopping Guide are completely cruelty-free.

If there’s a brand you’d love to see in the Guide, please ask them to join us. It doesn’t cost anything for companies to become endorsed, so there’s really no excuse (unless, of course, they have something to hide).

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