“Cruelty-free” has become a well-known phrase these days. It’s used mainly in relation to cosmetics or personal care and household products, and, if a product has a certified “cruelty-free” logo, it basically means the finished product has not been tested on animals.
While testing on animals may be a requirement in some countries, in the U.S., it’s considered a pretty outdated and cruel practice, and neither the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) nor the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission requires animal testing to be carried out for cosmetics or household products.
Whether you’re vegan or you’re just making the switch to cruelty-free products, you may have noticed in recent years that more and more brands are marketing themselves as being cruelty-free.
One of the biggest brands on the market is Dove, offering everything from soap bars to shower gels to hair products.
In this article, we’ll discuss whether Dove is cruelty-free, as well as the difference between cruelty-free products and vegan products.
Is Dove Cruelty-Free?
If you’re making a conscious effort not to buy products that are tested on animals, you might find yourself wondering whether or not Dove is cruelty-free?
You’ll be pleased to hear that Dove was added to PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies cruelty-free companies list back in 2018 after it banned all testing on animals for its products globally.
Dove is owned by Unilever, which also banned all tests on animals that are not required by law for the rest of its products and was subsequently added to PETA’s list of companies who are “Working for Regulatory Change.”
These businesses only test on animals when explicitly required to do so by law, and are transparent in their actions and why they are required to do so while aiming to promote the “development, validation, and acceptance” of non-animal methods.
What Dove says on their website
On their website Dove claim that they’ve “taken a global stand” by enacting a policy prohibiting the approval of any projects worldwide if they are subject to animal testing laws.
While animal testing for cosmetic products has been banned in the EU since 2004, as well as testing for ingredients the cosmetics contain since 2013, this is not the case in many other countries worldwide, such as China.
Dove claim they’ve “made key decisions on how and what products it sells in countries where animal testing may still be a mandatory requirement”, as is the case in China. Therefore, any future new products launched by Dove will not be subject to animal testing by Chinese authorities.
Controversy surrounding Dove
You may have seen various blog posts insisting that Dove isn’t cruelty-free, however, this is down to some confusion over Dove’s presence in China.
China requires animal testing to be carried out on “imported personal care products & makeup“, however, to avoid this, Dove has instead started manufacturing their products in mainland China to avoid this restriction.
It’s also worth noting that some cruelty-free beauty bloggers avoid Dove because they are owned by Unilever, and Unilever, while “Working for Regulatory Change”, are not yet 100% cruelty-free. So some people would consider this as a bit of a gray area and would rather avoid all Unilever products.
What’s the difference between cruelty-free and vegan?
It’s important to note that the terms “vegan” and “cruelty-free” are not interchangeable. While most vegan products are going to be cruelty-free, not all cruelty-free products are vegan, because they may still contain animal byproducts even if they’re not tested on animals.
“Vegan” refers to products that are completely free from animal byproducts, such as gelatin and honey. “Cruelty-free” means the products haven’t been tested on animals.
While vegans are going to want both of these boxes ticked, many people who are not vegan or vegetarian are switching to cruelty-free products, as the practice of testing cosmetics on animals is increasingly seen as a cruel, outdated, and largely unnecessary practice.
“Leaping Bunny” certification
The Leaping Bunny is a symbol used to mark cruelty-free products and is an internationally recognized symbol. There are also a few other widely-recognized cruelty-free symbols such as Peta’s bunny logo and Cruelty-Free International’s logo.
It’s important to note that any products that don’t feature a certified symbol by an accredited third-party are probably not actually cruelty-free.
According to Leaping Bunny, there currently is no regulation in the United States or Canada for the term “cruelty-free“.
This means that some companies may claim to be “cruelty-free” or “not tested on animals” or even feature a bunny logo on their packaging, which may only refer to the finished product. In reality, nearly all animal testing occurs at the ingredient level.
Alternative means of testing products
Some people may believe that products that haven’t been tested on animals are not fit for human use, however, this isn’t true at all.
As Leaping Bunny explains, there are a host of alternative methods that are considered just as reliable as animal testing. These include testing on cell tissue cultures and using sophisticated computer and mathematical models.
It’s also worth remembering that only new products need to be tested, so any ingredients which have been tested in the past are also considered safe to use in new products.
Is Dove vegan?
The answer to this question is no, Dove is not vegan.
Some of Dove’s products may be vegan, but they’re not a certified vegan brand. The reason for this is some of their products contain animal by-products such as gelatin, beeswax, and honey.
Despite some controversy surrounding Dove, the brand is cruelty-free certified by PETA.
However, the main “gray area” is around the company that owns Dove, Unilever, as they are yet to commit to being cruelty-free, though they do feature on PETA’s list of companies Working for Regulatory Change.
While no Dove products are tested on animals, even the ones sold in China, Dove products are not vegan currently.
With more and more companies committing to vegan alternatives, there’s hope that this could change in the future.
The main thing is that Dove has stopped testing on animals, and hopefully more big companies – and Unilever – will follow suit.