What does "Cruelty Free" really mean?

So many brands make this statement, but is this enough?
Does saying a brand is “cruelty free” (not tested on animals) really guarantee animals are not harmed in the process?

For starters, if a brand is not vegan, just because it is not testing on animals doesn't mean it's not harming animals.
Any brand using animal ingredients is producing products from animal farming industries, which almost certainly expose the animals to an unnatural life that takes years off their normal lifespan, and robs them of their freedom.
Not to mention that many ingredients like Marine Collagen and Hyaluronic Acid actually KILL the animal to obtain it!

So yes, some brands claim "Cruelty-Free" but just because they are not testing on animals, doesn't mean they are respecting the life of the animal and allowing it the full life span and freedom from fear all living beings deserve.

Then there are the "sub brands" of the large parent companies who conduct animal testing on one of their brands and not the other, so you think you have choice, but actually are supporting the very companies you want to black list because of their ethic.
Other brands trick people into thinking they have a certain ethic as a company, but they are simply implying this ethic. They may promote and feature one product as “vegan” or “not tested on animals” but it’s a token that isn’t reflected as an entire company ethos with other parts of their range.

What about the brands that sell into China?
Did you know that EVERY company that sells skincare into China is supporting an industry where mandatory animal testing takes place on their products?
Chinese legislation for skincare entering the country is that ALL skincare must first be tested on animals.
So just because the company itself isn't testing on animals, doesn't mean they are not allowing guaranteed mandatory animal testing to happen to their products by third parties when they choose to sell into China.

iKOU has been approached many, many times to sell our products in China. This market loves Australian Organic product, and there is a big demand for our products there. We just won't do it however, because of the animal testing they would do to clear our products.

I think this is the true test of a companies genuine care of animals... When they will say "No" to business and stand up for the animals by raising their voice in opposition of this cruel practice.
We do not test on animals, we will NEVER sell iKOU into countries conducting mandatory animal testing, and I will always ensure none of our ingredients ever come from animals.

On a deeper level, as Paul and I are both animal-loving vegans ourselves, we also extend this principle to our entire business.
All staff travel meals, events/functions and company expenses are supplied as vegan options exclusively, and we also regularly financially contribute funds to organisations like “Animals Australia” and the “Worldwide Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA)” to support the protection of animals.

This is the life we live and believe in, and our personal ethos extends to all aspects of our business.
x Naomi
iKOU Founder