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Frequently Asked Questions

There are several FAQ’s which we encounter. 

  • How can you be called Beauty Without Cruelty when there are vegetarian brands listed on the humane guide?
  • ANSWER: BWC was established in South Africa in 1975, with the focus on fur, ivory and cosmetic testing, when veganism was certainly not well known, but vegetarianism was. BWC has never accepted animal protein, ie albumen, for example. Our name is our name, just like the recently named Cruelty Free International, which has the Leaping Bunny list, and is accepted as the international gold standard. The www.humaneguide.co.za  was, and remains, first and foremost about animal testing. We do not look at fair-trade, organic, country of origin, alcohol or chemical content, as we expect people who accept or reject certain criteria will make those decisions when purchasing. We have however, updated the criteria and all applicants from 1 April 2018 will be listed and permitted the use of the registered BWC logo only if they are 100% plant based. Those vegetarian brands currently listed remain so, as there is a binding contract in place. New vegetarian applicants which adequately proven their no animal testing claims will receive a certificate which they may use for marketing, but will not be listed or permitted to use the registered BWC logo. To our knowledge, our criteria is the most stringent, world wide.


  • My brand says they don’t animal test, but they are not listed on the BWC Humane Guide or on the Leaping Bunny guide. Why shouldn’t I believe them?
  • ANSWER: Every brand says they don’t animal test. While the company itself may not test, what of the ingredients they choose to use? Even those who blatantly do test, but claim not to, use loopholes such as “we test only when required to do so by law”, because they choose to use ingredients which legally require mandatory animal testing for pharmaceutical or food use, for example. Sales people are usually completely unaware, or understandably believe the company line. The only way to know for sure, is through independent verification, and BWC is a recognised authority in this field.


  • Brand X says you charge too much to be listed 
  • ANSWER: There has never been a cost involved to consumer, or company, for any part of the process, including the use of the registered BWC logo, once a user agreement has been signed. This is a public service we provide.


  • Doesn’t cruelty-free mean vegan?
  • ANSWER: So called ‘cruelty free’ is only about animal testing and always has been. Vegan or plant based is about the ingredients. Vegans usually read or double check labels, which is the norm. The guide clearly shows which brands are plant based, which are vegetarian. Several brands are mostly plant based with a few items which are vegetarian.


  • Why does BWC not accept so called ‘cruelty free’ brands if they are owned by an animal testing company? Surely we should buy so they can see that ‘cruelty free’ is the way to go?
  • ANSWER: If a holding company wished to change, they would. Purchasing an animal testing free brand owned by an animal testing company is putting money directly into the latter’s hands. We know of no holding companies which animal test, which have changed tack. They purchase a ‘cruelty free’ company to greenwash their marketing and because they believe it is financially expedient, that is all.


  • You say that BWC has of the strictest criteria regarding animal testing. What does this mean?
    1. ASSURANCES: As virtually all substances have been tested on animals at some time, BWC requires companies to initiate a self-imposed fixed cut-off date with regard to the use of animal tested ingredients, which is at least five years before the date of application and the company must guarantee that the chosen date will be strictly adhered to in the future. Failure to comply with the fixed cut-off date will result in immediate removal from the BWC approved product guide.
    2. Products may not contain animal ingredients or by-products. BWC can suggest alternatives to such ingredients. We will certainly audit a brand, regardless, and verify that no animal testing has taken place. While the brand will not appear on the humane guide or use the BWC registered logo, a certificate of non-animal testing compliance will be issued, which can be used for website, store and marketing.
    3. Written assurances must be obtained from the ingredient supply companies, that individual ingredients supplied to your company, have not been tested (by them) on animals after the cut-off date. The only raw ingredients that don’t need such assurance are those that are obtained directly from the farm, such as herbs, plants, flowers etc. If these have been changed through any pharmaceutical or other process, assurances must be supplied.
    4. Parent companies and their subsidiaries too, must comply with these testing criteria.
    5. The company may in no way fund animal based research.
    6. The company may not make use of other’s animal based research data information.

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