[caption id="attachment_515" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Cruelty Free Consumer makes shopping for Leaping Bunny certified cruelty free products easy[/caption] Think that scrumptious smelling shampoo you’re using is cruelty-free? Maybe it is. Or maybe some unfortunate rabbit had to sit in a restraint for hours while a substance was dripped in its eye to see what happens. It’s actually pretty hard for conscientious consumers to make heads or tails of all the ‘no animal testing’ labels on products (i.e. is it just the final product or its ingredients too?), especially since there are no federal guidelines in place to assess the validity of these claims. That’s where Leaping Bunny comes in. This cruelty-free certification program provides the best assurance that a product is free from any new animal testing. What does that mean exactly? Well, in reality, most substances (even water!) have been tested on animals in the past, so the Leaping Bunny Program requires companies and all of their ingredient suppliers to sign statements of assurance promising that no new animal testing is conducted or commissioned on any ingredients, formulations, or finished products. Leaping Bunny goes one step further and also requires companies to be open to independent audits to make sure they are in compliance with their strict rules. So who makes up this Leaping Bunny Program? Well, Leaping Bunny a.k.a. the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC) is actually comprised of eight animal protection organizations including the Humane Society of the United States, the Doris Day Animal League, and the American Anti-Vivisection Society. When confusion about cruelty-free labeling became rampant in the 1990’s, the CCIC formed and worked together to develop their Standard. CCIC partnered with the European Coalition to End Animal Experiments to develop an internationally recognized Leaping Bunny Logo to represent companies meeting this high standard. To date, the program has certified more than 500 personal care and household products companies including The Body Shop, Burt’s Bees, Seventh Generation, Method, Molton Brown, and Mrs. Meyers. They publish and distribute their Compassionate Shopping Guide, available both as a wallet-size insert and a free iPhone/Android app that lists all of their cruelty-free companies. Plus, they regularly work with these companies to offer their supporters great discounts and freebies on their Facebook and Twitter pages. Until cruelty-free labeling guidelines exist, the Leaping Bunny Program provides the best assurance that the aforementioned shampoo truly is cruelty-free. So next time you’re in search of personal care or household products that are free of animal testing, look for the Leaping Bunny! Guest post by Kim Paschen, Communications Manager of the Leaping Bunny Program, which has been connecting compassionate consumers with cruelty-free companies since 1996.