What does Cruelty Free mean?

Posted by Shannon McGough on

In order for a product to be deemed cruelty free there must not be any form of animal testing at any point during the production process of the products i.e. both the products ingredients and the finished products must not have undergone animal testing either by the company itself or by third parties. Cruelty free also means that the company does not purchase it’s raw materials from suppliers who conduct animal testing. Lastly cruelty free means that a company doesn’t test on animals under any circumstances even when required by law. In China it is mandatory that all products are tested on animals so in order for a company to be fully cruelty free they must not sell to the Chinese market.

According to the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) there are no legal definitions for the terms “cruelty free” and “not tested on animals”. Some companies use these terms to claim that their finished product is not tested on animals, however these brands may rely on raw material suppliers or contract laboratories to conduct animal testing.  

If you are not sure if a product is cruelty free then I would advise contacting the company via social media or email. Make sure you ask specific questions such as do your products undergo any animal testing throughout the production process either by yourself or third parties? Do you sell your products in China? Some companies that test on animals will give you an indirect answer and will often say that they are cruelty free since they don’t test on animals but they get a third party to test their products as is required by law when selling to the Chinese market. If you get an unclear or vague response then I would advise avoiding the brand to be on the safe side. Most companies who are cruelty free will be happy to give you a direct response. Another good way to check is to look on a brands website in the FAQ’s section but if there is no mention of whether or not they sell in China or if you’re not satisfied with what they have stated then definitely contact them for clarification.


Cruelty free doesn’t necessarily mean that the product is vegan and vegan doesn’t necessarily mean that the product is not tested on animals. The best thing for those of you who want to cause the least amount of harm to animals would be to look for products that are BOTH cruelty free AND vegan. There is so much cruelty involved in animal derived ingredients such as egg, dairy, carmine and lanolin so by purchasing products that are cruelty free but not vegan, you are still supporting cruel industries. However, every step you take whether it’s buying cruelty free products, reading labels and looking for non vegan ingredients, eating less meat, not wearing fur and so on is a massive step in the right direction and you are doing an amazing thing for the animals so do as much as you can do! I know how overwhelming it is at first but I promise you that overtime it’ll become second nature! I am also always happy to help in anyway I can so please comment or message me if you have any questions or if you’d like me to discuss anything in particular!

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