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Cruelty- Free Shopping - Top 5 Frequently Asked Questions

 Q: Why are companies like Superdrug (who claim to be cruelty-free and are endorsed by other organisations) not endorsed in the Compassionate Shopping Guide?

A: Since the first edition of the Compassionate Shopping Guide, we have always taken the policy of the parent company into consideration. Superdrug falls into this category. Their parent company (AS Watson) is owned by Hutchison Whampoa – a multinational conglomerate based in Hong Kong that funds a 500m2 animal testing facility through their Chi-Med subsidiary.

Every Superdrug product you buy puts money into the hands of this corporation and, indirectly, those purchases can help fund animal testing. There are many other companies in a similar situation – to find out more, please refer to your Compassionate Shopping Guide, which includes the name of the parent company when applicable.

Q: Estée Lauder told me that they no longer test any of their products or any of their ingredients on animals anywhere in the world – nor do they delegate this task to others.  Are they now cruelty-free?

A: Sadly, no! On their website, Estée Lauder state, ‘We do not conduct animal testing on our products or ingredients, nor ask others to test on our behalf, except when required by law.’ This means that their products are still tested on animals in countries like China, where animal testing is a mandatory requirement for certain products. Furthermore, research by PETA US suggests that nine leading cosmetics companies may be quietly breaking UK and European law by continuing to sell products in the UK and EU that are also marketed in China, where they are subject to the above laws.  Estée Lauder admitted the apparent violation. Read the full article

Although we have used Estée Lauder in this example, the same response applies to many other international brands.

Q: How do I know a company is cruelty-free if it’s not included on the packaging/label?

A: We do not actively encourage endorsed companies to include the Naturewatch Foundation name and logo on their product labelling as the parent company or animal testing policy might change and would result in improper use of our name and reputation.  While the brand name may stay the same, the parent company can change at the speed of light!

Unfortunately, labelling terminology is not legally defined. This is why so many companies get away with misleading statements that make you believe the product and its ingredients have never been tested on animals.

Claims such as “We do not test on animals” are meaningless as other companies are often contracted to carry out the testing. “Against Animal Testing” tells you nothing about the specific product you are thinking of buying. “This product is not tested on animals” is also deceptive as the finished product might not have been tested, but the ingredients might have been.

For this reason, we encourage our supporters and cruelty-free shoppers to disregard any type of logo/statements and to use our Compassionate Shopping Guide when selecting their personal care and household products.

Q:Why is my favourite brand no longer endorsed in the latest edition of the Compassionate Shopping Guide?

A: Often this is due to company acquisition. There have been several high profile takeovers in recent years. The ones that generate the most interest are Dermalogica (Unilever), Bulldog (Edgewell Personal Care) and Urtekram (Midsona).

However, there are also companies that have let the animals down by moving their Fixed Cut-Off Date in order to profit from more recently tested ingredients. Other companies claim to be cruelty-free but refuse to confirm they have initiated a suitable policy.

Q: I bought a product from an endorsed company and then noticed that it was made in China. How can a product be manufactured in China and still be cruelty-free?

A: Although some cruelty-free products are manufactured in China, they do not have to be tested on animals as they are being exported and not actually sold in China.