The Bunny Logo Lie: Your Favourite Cosmetic Brands Might Not Be As “Cruelty-Free” As You Think

The Bunny Logo Lie: Your Favourite Cosmetic Brands Might Not Be As “Cruelty-Free” As You Think

A probe into the beauty industry by CHOICE has discovered that many leading cosmetics brands are engaging in cruel animal testing. Their labelling, meanwhile, continues to assert that the products are “cruelty free” and sometimes carries a meaningless bunny logo.

Rabbit picture from Shutterstock

“While major cosmetic companies are purporting to be ‘cruelty-free’, a CHOICE investigation has found their websites, packaging and sales staff are failing to inform Australian customers that their beauty products are tested on animals in China,” the consumer Watchdog said in a statement.

Chinese legislation requires skin and eye irritation tests to be conducted on animals before cosmetics can be sold to humans. This has caused many western brands, including SK II, Lancome, Dior, Clarins and M.A.C, to conduct animal testing in the region without informing consumers worldwide.

During its investigation, CHOICE found that only a fraction of companies that claimed not to use animal testing were actually certified by an independent third party. Some brands carried logos of rabbits to give the appearance of official certification, but these were “simply nice drawings.”

CHOICE also found that sales staff in Australia were often ignorant about the testing practices of the brands they sold. Perfume employees at David Jones and Myer claimed their products weren’t tested on animals and that animal testing was illegal around the world.

“Cosmetic brands need to be upfront about their animal testing whether it be on their websites, packaging or via employees at cosmetic counters. They are bound by law to give consumers the correct information and we have found many of them are not. CHOICE will be referring this issue to the ACCC,” said CHOICE researcher Zoya Sheftalovich.

“Australian consumers who oppose animal testing of cosmetics should be able to make informed decisions about which products to purchase, and this ability is being compromised across the board.”

Below is a (non-exhaustive) list of companies whose products are tested on animals according to PETA. Is your current brand of choice on this list?

Bobbi Brown
Bumble and Bumble
Clean and Clear
Donna Karan
Elizabeth Arden
Estee Lauder
Giorgio Armani
Head & Shoulders
Helena Rubinstein
Herbal Essences
La Mer
Mary Kay
Max Factor
Michael Kors
Mitchum Deodorant
Old Spice
Shu Uemura
Vidal Sasson

[clear] [clear]

Would you stop using — or encourage your wife/girlfriend to stop using — a makeup brand that tested on animals? Or is the guilt worth the price of looking fabulous? Let us know in the comments section below.

Animal testing labelling [CHOICE]


  • Hang on, are you talking about evidence presented by CHOICE (whom I trust to provide good analysis) or PETA (whom I don’t)? Also, please provide your source articles.

    Also, if you want to write something interesting about animal testing, can you do an article on what tests are actually done on animals? I mean, are they rubbing eyeshadow on a rabbit to see if there’s a bad allergic reaction, or that the colour stays good, or what? What are they testing? (And don’t ask PETA please, they aren’t scientists.)

    • The research was by CHOICE — the list of brands that engage in animal testing was supplied by PETA. The CHOICE research surrounds ‘skin and eye irritation tests’, so it doesn’t sound like much fun.

  • Can’t say I’m surprised about this. Companies being sneaky and shady about their products/advertising, etc isn’t anything new. There are brands in that list which I normally buy, but I would think about switching if offered another brand from a company that I know for a fact isn’t being as sneaky as these guys.

    Having said all that though, I personally don’t believe half the stuff PETA say about anything, so for all we know some of the companies on this list could be outright lies.

  • Phew! Giorgio Armani is on the list. Good to know its tested properly before I use it.

  • so if they sell a product in China they are REQUIRED by LAW to test on animals which lands them on the list from PeTA and as a virtue of that are named by CHOICE in the suit with the ACCC ?

    • Correct. The issue here is that the companies should not claim their products are not tested on animals when they are. Nobody is forcing them to sell to China.

  • I won’t decry CHOICE being a legitimate source of information, but I DEFINITELY decry PETA as a credible source.

    I really think CHOICE should do some further investigation before they put forth PETA as an organisation to be taken seriously in any way when it comes to presenting factual data.

    Sorry, but as a lady who regularly wears coloured liquids and powders on her face AND works in the animal care industry, I call multiple amounts of bullshit on PETA’s findings and credibility.

  • Although I don’t agree with most of what PETA says, this time they “should” be right. The companies listed by PETA sell their cosmetic products in China. China has a law requiring them to be tested on animals first. Hence, the list would be accurate.

    The cosmetics sold in Australia specifically, may have not be tested on animals, but the cosmetics sold in China have, thereby requiring the said products to remove the “not tested on animals” label. The “not tested on animals” label applies to the company and not the product.

  • I notice that people don’t realise the harm of testing cosmetics on animals. Testing on animals doesn’t mean putting a bit of eye shadow on a rabbit, it means putting the actual chemical/s that’s in the shadow or whatever into the eye or orally to see what happens.

    Type into google images animal testing cosmetics and there are pictures of what I’m talking about.

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