How did CrueltyFreeMalta.com start?
When I started my cruelty-free journey, it was difficult to find products that are against animal testing in Malta. Let’s call them “cruelty-free” for simplicity. The most popular brands in Malta turned out to be in some way supporting animal testing. This was frustrating to me. I used to buy a product from a drugstore or supermarket, thinking that it’s cruelty-free and later find out that it’s not. At the time I had a Nokia 3310 so I could not use 3G or wifi to Google before purchase. I could not memorise brands that are in foreign cruelty-free lists as most of the brands they listed were not available in Malta.
So I decided to create a guide for me and anyone else who is starting a cruelty-free lifestyle in Malta. I started with the Facebook page and eventually grew it into a blog. With the ban on animal-tested cosmetics in Europe, I thought it would mean the end of this blog. So I was already thinking of evolving it into another ethical topic. However, the ban did not cover brands that support animal testing. As usual, large companies manage to find a loophole. They look cruelty-free to the European authorities and still sell in countries where animal testing is required. So it was not yet the time to say goodbye CrueltyFreeMalta.com yet. Till today CrueltyFreeMalta.com is still useful for exposing these brands that support animal testing. I also offer similar cruelty-free alternatives to such brand.
How do I verify whether a brand is cruelty-free?
Before 2021, I was just listing brands that did not sell in Mainland China and weren’t on the PETA animal testing list. However, the regulations in Mainland China are improving. Additionally I recently have been noticing shady uncertified brands claiming to be cruelty-free. Lastly, there are brands that have official bunny logos marked on their products but they are not really certified by reputable organisations. So I changed my verification process.
If a brand is certified cruelty-free i.e. it is on the PETA or Leaping Bunny list, it is cruelty-free. No doubt about it.
If a brand is not certified, I send a questionnaire to the company to verify. The questionnaire contains questions like:
- Does your brand or a third party test on animals, for ingredients, during the production process or finished products?
- Do your suppliers test on animals? How do you ensure this?
- Do you sell in countries where animal testing is required by law?
- If yes what measures are you taking to avoid animal testing?
As you can see it is not as easy as asking whether the products are cruelty-free. Neither asking whether it sells in China is enough. It goes deeper than that as the company might be sourcing from animal testing suppliers or third parties might be testing on animals for them at any stage of the production process. Also now there are ways to avoid animal testing in China.
Some uncertified companies that I contacted till now either did not bother to reply or gave me answers to half the questions. When I asked for answers to the rest of the questions they did not answer at all, so I treat such brands as grey area brands. Brands that surely are not cruelty-free yet but at the same time, I can’t say that they support animal testing cause it is unclear. It might seem unfair to some representant of these brands but it is such a delicate matter that it is not ok to close one eye.
Which brands are cruelty-free?
As I am no longer based in Malta, I have created 3 cruelty-free lists. One for Malta, one for Germany where I am currently living, and one for Europe which basically is a merge of the Malta and Germany lists.
If the brand you are looking for is not in the above lists, it might be that it is listed on the brands that support animal testing list. In case it is not there either, contact me it could be that either I haven’t discovered the brand or haven’t verified its cruelty-free status yet.