Revealing the pros and cons of some of the alternative animal testing policies adopted by other cosmetics companies
Each company selects their own cut off date – this means that they cannot buy ingredients that have been tested since that cut off date. Raw Materials can be bought from any company that can sign a declaration to say that they have not tested that material since the stated cut off date for use in cosmetics.
The many schemes with a fixed cut off date providers a framework for companies to come together to encourage suppliers to stop testing, to lobby for change, to provide a united front to governments and suppliers, to promote non-animal testing to customers and to find non animal testing methods.
It targets the most frivolous of animal testing – that which is solely conducted for cosmetic ingredients.
The fixed cut off date schemes run by animal organisations, have a clear logo for customers to look out for. These recognizable logos mean customers who wish to buy cruelty free don’t have to write to and check out each company themselves.
It looks at things only one ingredient at a time, not an ingredients company’s wider practices. So if you want to buy an ingredient under this rule, the ingredient you buy must not be animal tested – but the Raw Material Suppliers you buy it from can still animal test their other raw materials on animals. For example, if you want to buy glycerine from a company, they only need to have not tested the glycerine since the stated cut off date. They could however be testing other raw materials on animals, just not the one your want to buy. It only looks at animal testing for cosmetic purposes. A Raw Material Supplier could also, for example, be animal testing glycerine for us in food products and this would still allow you to buy it from this supplier and to say that it had not been tested since your cut off date if you are using it for cosmetics.
So under most fixed cut off date policies a raw materials supplier that tests on animals could still enjoy the business, and profit that this brings, of companies that have a cruelty free business.
If a raw materials supplier decides to stop all its animal testing they still cannot sell any of the materials to cruelty free companies that they tested since that companies fixed cut off date – this means that there is no financial incentive for a supplier to stop testing as they will not be able to gain any sales from it in the near future.
Several Cruelty Free companies adopted a fixed cut off date for their ingredients. At the time there was no governing or licensing body so each company chose a date that suited their individual business/ethics. This policy became the accepted norm and anti vivisection organisations promoted it as the better alternative versus the 5 year rolling rule. Many companies that adopted an animal friendly policy started to display a ‘bunny’ logo on their products to provide a quick eye catching guide to customers looking for this type of policy.
The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection ( BUAV ) and other groups got together and formalised these practices. They put together a set of guidelines to work to, so that companies could sign up to something that customers could understand and the companies would then be able to all display a licensed ‘Leaping Bunny’ logo that everyone could get to know and trust. They called this scheme The Humane Cosmetics Standard. To make it easy for lots of different businesses to sign up and come under the same umbrella they needed to make the policy have broad appeal. So they allow companies to decide their own cut off date, and then expect the company to abide by a set of rules and guidelines. The BUAV ( the licensing authority ) checks annually that they are sticking to these rules.
The policy is worldwide, and is overseen by BUAV in the UK and partner animal organisations across Europe and North America.