Why does PETA include companies in the cruelty-free company section that utilize animal-derived ingredients or byproducts?

PETA uses the term “cruelty-free” to denote companies that do not test their products on animals. The purpose of our Caring Consumer Project is to persuade companies that produce cosmetics and household products to stop testing on animals. If companies stop conducting animal tests, they meet the criteria of this campaign and qualify for inclusion on our list of companies that do not test on animals. While nonvegan companies that do not conduct animal tests are, of course, not 100 percent cruelty-free in the fullest sense of the word, they have taken a significant step toward eliminating animal suffering by changing to a policy that does not include animal testing. We feel that it is important to recognize the meaningful steps that any individual or company takes to help animals. Furthermore, most consumers are not vegan, and many are only interested in putting an end to the cruelty involved in cosmetics testing. 

We would prefer that consumers buy products that are not tested on animals rather than products that are tested on animals, regardless of the type of ingredients. However, we would also prefer that consumers purchase vegan products rather than nonvegan products. Therefore, PETA’s cruelty-free lists clearly indicate which companies offer product lines that are entirely vegan, and we hope that our reference to this issue will encourage readers to consider the cruelty involved in animal ingredients and, ultimately, help them to take their compassion a step further.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind