According to the FDA there is no legal definition for the label of “cruelty free” on cosmetic and skin products. Therefore, the meaning is determined by external organizations like PETA or the companies themselves. This creates quite a grey area when discussing the term “cruelty free”.
According to PETA Vichy is not cruelty free as they have been known to test on animals. Vichy does not label itself as cruelty free on their products or website. Vichy is owned by Loriel, a company that is also not cruelty free. According to Cruelty-free kitty (an organization that contacts brands directly to get their testing policies) either Vichy, their suppliers or a third-party company test on animals.
Despite the claims of PETA and Cruelty-Free Kitty the answer is not so straight forward. Why is it so difficult to determine if Vichy is cruelty free? Keep reading to find out.
What does cruelty free mean?
Most understand cruelty free to mean that a product or its raw ingredients are not tested on animals. However, it is lesser known that brands can label their products as “cruelty free” if they do not currently test on animals. The key word here is “currently”. This means that companies can use ingredients that have been tested on animals in the past, deemed to be safe for humans, and use them in contemporary products.
Cruelty free has also become synonymous with “not tested on animals”. However, just because a product or its ingredients have not been tested on animals does this mean that no animals were harmed during the process?
How “Cruelty Free” may be misleading?
Animals may be harmed in various other ways when a skin-care product is produced. For example, most products today are packaged in plastic containers that eventually end up in oceans or landfills. These damage the livelihoods of the animals that live in these areas. Furthermore, mining, and chemical runoff from factories pose risks to the natural habitats surrounding them. Finally, some ingredients are still derived from animals.
For example, squalene (a popular ingredient in moisturizers) is usually extracted from sharks. Yes, you may be putting shark on your face. It is also the second ingredient in most of Vichy’s Aqualia thermal line.
Is It Legal to Test on Animals?
Yes and no. Animal testing for cosmetic and skincare products is banned in many countries. A few states in the USA namely: California, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey and Virginia have banned animal testing.
While Vichy originated in France it is now produced and sold all over the world. According to Lo’ri’ek (the parent company of Vichy) 70% of Vichy products that are sold in the USA are produced there. It Is not known in which states Vichy suppliers are located. This means that the factories that produce Vichy may be in states that do not have a ban on animal testing. The other 30%, well, that’s a different story.
Why It Is Hard to Know to What Degree Vichy Tests on Animals?
It is difficult to determine to what degree animal testing is being conducted within Vichy. They do not mention where the other 30% of their products in the USA come from. Some suggest that the other 30% may come from their factories in China (which does not have a ban on animal testing). The company is also not transparent on where they source their ingredients from. It is not possible to determine who supplies their ingredients unless you are a supplier yourself.
How do we Know Vichy is not Cruelty Free?
While it is not possible to prove that Vichy tests its products on animals in the USA, we can reasonably assume that this is the case. Most brands will market themselves as cruelty free if they do not test their products on animals, as this is a huge selling point.
Younger generations have become more concerned about the ingredients and production practices of skin-care companies thus the emergence of cruelty free and vegan brands has increased within recent years. What this means is that if Vichy really was cruelty free, they would market their products as such.
Frequently Asked Questions
How will I know if a product is not tested on animals?
The example of Vichy shows us that it is sometimes difficult to determine the animal testing policies of companies. However, because there is no federal certification for cosmetic and skin care products other organizations have stepped up to the plate. You can search products on PETA’s website to see if they are cruelty free. Similarly, third party certifications from companies like Leaping Bunny mean that a product can be trusted to have not been tested on animals.
Is Animal testing illegal in the USA?
Animal Testing is illegal in some states but legal in others. California, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey and Virginia have banned animal testing.
If you are someone who is concerned about the ethics of animal testing, then Vichy may not be the brand for you.