By Guest Blogger Kim Paschen of Leaping Bunny
Ever since disturbing images of rabbits injured for product testing surfaced a couple of decades ago, the rabbit has come to symbolize Cruelty-Free. 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.” Since there is no federal regulation in place for cruelty-free labeling, companies can essentially make any animal testing claims. So how are you, 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 the American Anti-Vivisection Society; American Humane Association; Animal Alliance of Canada, Beauty Without Cruelty USA, Doris Day Animal League, Humane Society of Canada, 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 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 start up companies.
Leaping Bunny publishes 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 the iPhone app and Android app of the guide as well, available for free. We have even created a special promotions page in conjunction with many of our Leaping Bunny certified companies to offer special discounts on their products for supporters of the Leaping Bunny Program. 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, click here.
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; let your wallet do the talking and look for the Leaping Bunny! It can mean a huge difference in the life of an animal.