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What does ‘cruelty free’ really mean?

Now more than ever, consumers want to know how their products are made and what ingredients are being used to make them. And, whilst there have always been cruelty free products available, the retail market has been flooded with products labelled ‘cruelty free’ in recent years, but what does it really mean? 


What does cruelty free mean?

In short, cruelty free means a product and its component ingredients have not been tested on animals. Cruelty free is often associated with beauty and cosmetics, but it can also apply to other goods such as household cleaning products, clothes, stationery, and candles.

A common misconception with cruelty free branding is that the product is vegan. Sadly, this may not be the case unless the brand clearly stipulate the product is both vegan and cruelty free. This is because often the product may not have been tested on animals but may still contain animal product. To be sure, it is best to look for both on labels when shopping for vegan and cruelty free items.


Why should you buy cruelty free products?

The rise in sustainable shopping practises and the increasing popularity and importance of going vegan has forced us to reflect upon how animals and their by-products are incorporated into our everyday lives. More people are also questioning how their everyday consumption impacts the environment and research shows that animal containing products are one of the largest contributors to climate change.


Cruelty free myths and facts

Although the term ‘cruelty free’ seems straightforward there are a lot of grey areas due to the fact there is no standardised legal definition of what counts as ‘cruelty free’. This gives companies licence to use the language how they best see fit for their product.

Brands can make some pretty broad claims without any major repercussions. In turn, this means the phrase can be used interchangeably with different definitions that some consumers may in fact not consider cruelty free at all. Some of these include, ingredients that have been tested on animals, but the final product has not, or the brand may have hired a third-party company to test the product on animals. Often brands who claim to be cruelty free do not test on animals unless it is required by law – which usually is the case for brands who sell in China as animal testing is a legal requirement there.

As always when shopping sustainably and ethically, it is important to do your research on a brand as, in some instances, brands may claim an item is cruelty free but this may not the case. For example, mink eyelashes can claim to be 100% cruelty free, by definition, as they are not tested on animals. However, you may wish to consider whether they are ethical aspects of this statement, as they are made from minks that are confined to small, cramped wire cages in highly unsanitary conditions.

Animal rights activists and advocacy organisations are continually striving for one unified definition of cruelty free – one which does not allow brands to use loopholes to sell to China or involve any use or harm of animals in the end to end making and selling of goods.


How can you find out if a brand is cruelty free?

Nowadays it is easier than ever to find out about a brand’s ethos and where they sit within the sustainable, cruelty free and vegan spectrum. Many brands are actively more transparent on social media and with a quick google search you can usually find a handy cruelty free guide to many popular brands too. If you’re shopping in-store many products are now clearly labelled cruelty free and tend to have recognised logo such as the ‘leaping bunny’ to affirm their status.

Is Ionian Kind cruelty free?

At Ionian Kind, we are proud to partner exclusively with brands who share our passion for animal welfare and ethical shopping. Many Ionian Kind products are vegan, vegetarian and cruelty-free. 

Some Ionian Kind products may include vintage upcycled leather, although when this is the case these products are labelled as such. Where these products are handmade, some can also be made without leather upon request. Please contact us before making an order.

That’s it for our guide to cruelty-free shopping. If you are unsure about any specific product, do not hesitate to get in touch with us via the contact page or our social media channels.