Vegan Lifestyle

Difference between Vegan and Cruelty Free Products

Difference between Vegan and Cruelty Free Products

Difference between Vegan and Cruelty Free Products

Being a conscious consumer can lead to some restrictive – but ultimately important – shopping choices, and for those of us attempting to reduce the amount of harm done to the animals we inhabit this planet with, educating ourselves as to what’s what in the dizzying world of consumer goods can be tricky business.

Though it depends on where you are on this planet, you’ll hopefully have handy labels on each of your prospective products dictating whether or not they’re suitable for vegans, vegetarians and a range of other dietary restrictions, self-imposed or otherwise. The problem is these labels don’t always tell us the whole truth.

That’s why we’ve put together a guide of our own to help ensure that your purchases are both vegan and 100% cruelty free. Let’s start by breaking down these terms.

What does Vegan Mean?

If you’re concerned enough to search for this article, we’ll bet that you’re a vegan already. In short, you’re someone who doesn’t eat or use animal products.

This means that not only do you not eat meat or fish, but you wouldn’t drink milk or wear leather either, just to provide two examples of animal products that exist outside of the usual canine considerations.

Veganism seems like a pretty straightforward position, but what vegans eat may vary slightly from person to person. For instance, is honey vegan? We know it comes from the exploitation of bees. Or what about oysters? They’re also animals, though they lack a central nervous system and so cannot feel pain.

The growing popularity of veganism might give the impression that it’s a new thing, but it most certainly isn’t, and these questions have long been debated. What counts then, as general consensus, is an attempt to reduce the suffering of animals as caused by humans.

With this in mind – vegans are naturally incentivized to use cruelty free products. So what does cruelty free mean?

What does Cruelty Free Mean?

‘Cruelty free’ means that a product has not been tested on animals during any phase of its development.

You should know that in the USFDA doesn’t actually regulate the term, so a cruelty free label doesn’t necessarily mean that this is the case. A self-proclaimed ‘cruelty free’ cosmetic, for instance, may no longer be tested on animals, but draws from a formula that once was in the past.

For those in the EU, you’re generally okay – as cosmetics tested on animals are banned across the continent. This doesn’t apply to some other products, like drugs, however.

What’s the Difference between Vegan and Cruelty Free?

In the abstract: very little. In the world of corporate jargon and public relations – enough to make us take a closer look. Some products that have a cruelty free label (and bear in mind again that this isn’t regulated) might not actually be vegan. For example, a lip balm may not have been tested on animals, and yet was derived from honey, an animal product.

The same applies in reverse – a product may have been made solely from non-animal sources, and yet was tested on animals during its development.


So how can we ensure that our products are both vegan and cruelty free? In the UK, a label from the Vegan society ensures that that is the case. Elsewhere, it might be worth doing your own research. There are plenty of sources available online who have independently verified whether a product or brand is committed to both. It’s a bit more work, but we’re sure you’ll agree that it’s worth it.

Why Vegans Do Not Wear Leather And Silk


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