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The Business of Cruelty-Free

The Business of Cruelty-Free


When it comes to our cosmetic products, we care for the ethnical and environmental impacts. However, did you know that most cruelty-free companies still use an outdated approach to determining if a product is cruelty-free? Taken from's criteria, it's considered not cruelty-free if a brand is sold in China.


It is widely known by the cosmetic industry that China has shifted away from animal-testing for imported cosmetics since May of 2021, except certain products, such as products with special claims such as products with medical claims and those intented to be used by children.


Cruelty-free companies like Cruelty-Free Kitty sell their products and market their subscription box as "guilt-free" beauty. This is a dangerous and deceptive marketing tactic since most brands are cruelty-free. Cosmetic manufacturers and brands have moved away from animal testing on raw materials and finished goods. Getting registered these companies is an unnecessary step created by money-making motives.


On leaping bunny's website, it states that registration does not cost anything. However, licensing their logo on the packaging will cost from $500 - $4,500, depending on the company's annual sales.

After reaching out to a representative from the Leaping Bunny, we were told if a brand sells its product in China. They have to go through the China Qualification Program, which consists of auditing and costs about $10,000 a year and $1,350 per product overall. If a company that sells in China, which no longer requires animal testing, gets certified by these cruelty-free companies can cost up to $20-30k upfront and more than $10k per year, depending on their portfolio.


As a consumer, your voice is essential. That's why many major retailers will ask for brands certified by organizations like Cruelty-Free Kitty and Leaping Bunny.

However, as someone who worked both on the brand and the manufacturers' side, all the brands I have worked with have adopted a cruelty-free standard on their raw materials and finished goods.

In fact, Europe banned animal testing as early as 2004, and European regulation banned "cruelty-free" claims on packaging since the statement is redundant. With selling in China moving away from animal testing for general cosmetics, we hope that the "cruelty-free" claim exacerbated by greed can be a thing of the past.

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