This is going to be a complicated post regarding Burt’s Bees and Clorox. Burt’s Bees is a company approved by Leaping Bunny. However, Leaping Bunny lists Burt’s Bees with a little purple square signaling that they are owned by a parent company that does animal test. Clorox is Burt’s Bees animal testing parent company.
For a full list of The Clorox Company’s other subsidiaries, click here.
Burt’s Bees is readily available across the US in places ranging from cosmetic shops to grocery stores and my own university’s book store. It is clearly labeled as cruelty free with both the Leaping Bunny image and an additional “We do not test on animals.”
In the FAQ section of their website they state:
“Burt’s Bees does NOT conduct product or ingredient tests of any kind on animals. A few of our products contain ingredients derived from animals such as beeswax, royal jelly, milk and carmine.”
I like how quickly they communicate their policies and let consumers know that they carry vegan products. I emailed their customer service to see what additional information they could provide me and received a lengthy reply:
“Thank you for contacting us with your inquiry. Burt's Bees has never and will never test on animals. We respect animals and don't believe they should be used in this way. It isn't necessary for the development of our products, and it isn't in harmony with our commitment to The Greater Good. We also ask all of our suppliers to uphold our core beliefs, which include no animal cruelty and no animal testing. Additionally, we are certified under the Consumer Information on Cosmetics' (CCIC) Leaping Bunny program. One of the core requirements of the Leaping Bunny program is that the company and vendors are both investigated to achieve certification.
Please note that Burt's Bees operates as a semi-autonomous business unit of the Clorox Company and they are aware of, and fully support, our position on animal testing, as they are also committed to the welfare of animals. For Clorox, animal testing is a rare exception, used only when required by law or when all other efforts have been exhausted to establish a product's safety profile. If you would like to read Clorox's full policy on animal testing, please use the following url: http://www.cloroxcsr.com/products-safety/.”
Let me first say, I like that they were upfront about being a subsidiary of a company that animal tests. As you will see later in this post, the second paragraph essentially summarizes the animal testing statement on Clorox’s website. The information provided in the link basically says that they do test but apparently not finished products.
I emailed Clorox’s Customer Service because I was unable to find any information regarding their animal testing policy (I emailed Burt’s Bees and Clorox at the same time so I had not yet been sent the link with this information).
“At Clorox, we are committed to providing consumers with products they can trust when used as directed. Before reaching market, our products undergo rigorous safety testing and careful evaluations by highly qualified, skilled scientists. Except where mandated by law, using non-animal product safety evaluations is the norm at Clorox and animal testing is the exception. The vast majority of our products reach the market without testing on animals.
To further demonstrate our commitment not to use live animals, we recently updated our product safety testing policy to require senior management approval of any discretionary animal testing. Rare exceptions to the no animal testing policy, if any, will only be considered when all other efforts have been exhausted to establish a product's safety profile. The updated policy may be found on our Web site at www.TheCloroxCompany.com in the Corporate Social Responsibility section.
I do like that Clorox is upfront about the fact that they do animal test (even if it is “the exception”) because so many companies try to hide this information under paragraphs of misinformation. On the other hand there are two major issues for me. Why does this email specify that Clorox does “not want to use live animals?” I’m not any more alright with Clorox if they kill animals and then test on them. Secondly if they believe in “the efficacy of alternatives” why do they still animal test even when it is not “mandated by law?” (Simply because it is not “the norm” doesn’t mean that Clorox only tests for legal reasons.)
I no longer purchase Burt’s Bees products and will now stop purchasing from all of Clorox’s subsidiaries. Although Burt’s Bees is cruelty free, the money I give them goes to Clorox. I would rather spend my money supporting companies and brands that are 100% cruelty free on every level.
This is clearly a case of how comfortable you feel when buying cruelty free products, and I suggest that everyone seriously consider whether or not they believe giving money to Burt’s Bees funds Clorox’s animal testing.