Research Methods

Determining the cruelty-free status for a company.

We realize that many people and organizations have different criteria for what makes a company cruelty-free and that the users of the Cruelty-Cutter app want to know where we draw the line. Please read the following statements to get a better idea of how the app works!

The Cruelty-Cutter app provides users with easy access to information about whether or not a company tests on animals. We do not yet report on whether a company is vegan. Each product has a barcode that relates to both the product itself and the company who produces it. Our database links these barcodes to company profiles that include information about their animal testing status, as well as individual brands and subsidiary companies. This is a large and expanding database that includes many cruelty-free companies who may not appear on PETA’s or the Leaping Bunny lists as they may not have registered for their programs.

We are rigorous in evaluating these companies; we independently research their practices as well as directly request statements from them, and compare to other cruelty-free authorities when available.

Companies who sell in China:
Many companies publish a policy stating that they “do not test on animals, except in the rare case where required by law”. Such statements are designed to reassure consumers while removing accountability for their continued use of unnecessary animal testing. The U.S. does NOT require animal testing of cosmetics/personal care items and the European Union has outright banned it. However, there are certain foreign markets, such as China, that mandate animal testing on all imported cosmetics. International companies that continue to sell in China are agreeing to test on animals (either in-house or by secondary laboratories) and are thus listed as NOT cruelty-free in our app.

Usually a smaller company will be listed under a larger parent company and it is that parent company’s status that is reported in the app itself. There are some rare cases where a subsidiary company is actually Cruelty-Free, despite its parent company’s testing practices. In these cases, we ONLY list them as Cruelty-Free if a) they have provided us with substantial and clear documentation that they will NOT test on animals, b) nor use ingredients/raw materials obtained from suppliers who test on animals, c) nor sell in China, and d) must pledge not to do so in the future. Some notable examples are: Tom’s of Maine, Burt’s Bees, and The Body Shop. Each is owned by a parent company that tests on animals, but they have satisfied the above criteria and are listed separately in the app.

We have tried very hard to make the most ethical decisions about how to represent these companies in the Cruelty-Cutter app.

Pharmaceutical Companies:
There are certain consumer care products/brands that are cruelty-free made by divisions of companies who also make pharmaceuticals. Pharmaceuticals and prescription medications are under the purview of the FDA and are currently required to be tested on animals prior to human trials. In these cases, the barcodes are all linked together and the product is listed under the company’s entry in the database as being Tested on Animals.

Pet Food:
There are 2 main reasons why a particular pet food company is listed as Tested on Animals: 1) If they are owned by a parent company that tests other products on animals; 2) If the pet food company has facilities with kenneled animals for testing (vs. in-home testing for taste and fecal/blood work). If a company uses ingredients that are already known to be healthy and safe for animals, there should be no reason to keep them caged up for testing. We believe that most studies on diet and palatability can be done with animals in loving homes.

Please Note:
We do NOT report data for (human) Food, Beverages, or Prescription Medications as they are under the purview of the FDA, which may legally require testing.

Please contact us for more information about specific products, status discrepancies, or questions! We encourage our users to take an active role in research and truly appreciate the feedback as this is a constantly evolving and expanding database.