Thursday, 12 July 2012

Confusion about Original Source

My Benjy is also wondering if Original Source are genuinely cruelty free.

It’s so difficult to figure out if products are cruelty free or not unless they carry the leaping bunny logo. I realised that recently when one of my Twitter friends tweeted about Original Source’s products because their items were available in UK supermarket chain Asda for a pound each.

These items all carried The Vegan Society logo, so they must be cruelty free.

Well, vegans don’t use any animal products at all including beeswax and honey, so why would they use products that were tested on animals?   

Always delighted to find new cruelty free companies, I headed over to their website.

On the Original Source site, it says ‘We never test our products on animals,’ but there’s no mention of the ingredients, which always rings alarm bells for me.

There was also no listing for them on the most comprehensive and reliable source for cruelty free accredited companies and products. It’s the one with a list of companies, which carry the leapingbunny accreditation.  
The fact they carry The Vegan Society logo and say they work closely with The Vegan Society would lead you believe that the company are cruelty free.

But, I always thought that Original Source products were made by an animal testing company PZ Cussons, who are mentioned in Uncaged’s informative piece on How to Spot an Animal Testing Company Surely, if that information were wrong they'd ask the site to take it down?

Scroll, further down that page on Uncaged and you will see this –

PZ Cussons makers of 'Original Source' products say:

“None of our products are tested on animals. We support the development and acceptance of alternative methods which reduce or replace the use of animals in product safety evaluation.”

So, I emailed The Vegan society, but they didn’t reply. I tweeted them and they sent me a tweet back that said they didn’t endorse companies but ‘individual vegan suitable products.’ See the pic below.

This means that the company who make the product carrying The Vegan Society logo can test on animals, but that particular product and its ingredients were not tested on animals.

Hey, wait a minute if I see a symbol on a product to me that's an endorsement of that company. If I see Andy Murray guzzling from a bottom of Vittel at Wimbledon, I’ve got every right to think that he’s endorsing that brand of mineral water.  

Original Source posted this on Facebook -
‘At Original Source none of our products are tested on animals and the lovely ingredients which go into them are bought only from suppliers who share our values. (Actually, this is true of all our owners' - PZ Cussons' - products.) Sorry if we haven't explained our commitment to cruelty free products as well as we should - we'll try to make it clearer in future!’ 

What does 'share our values' mean exactly?

In response to this, I wrote –
‘Thanks. Very informative. Just surprised that you haven't gone for the leaping bunny accreditation as they do checks to show a company is completely cruelty free. Is that not something you could try in the future?’

This was their reply -
At Original Source we do not test any of our ingredients or products on animals and we do not have any 3rd parties testing on our behalf. The Leaping Bunny accreditation is something that we could look at, but our association with The Vegan Society demonstrates that we do not test on animals or include any animal ingredients. Hope this helps answer your question. Team OS.

Another alarm bell - Why's that not on their website?

Can you be sure Original Source are cruelty free?
In my opinion no. Products from a company that don’t have a fixed cut off date – a date from which they stopped all animal testing - can't be relied upon.

I also have a problem with - ‘ingredients which go into them are bought only from suppliers who share our values.’

What does that mean? Does it mean they don’t test on animals at all? How can they be sure? Do they simply take a supplier’s word for it?

Why do they not say 'our products and ingredients are not tested on animals?

There's no bunny on Original Source, so I won't be buying.
Unless the product carries a bunny logo, I won’t be buying.

And that's how veggiegirl2011 sees it.
Footnote -
Being cruelty free to me is all about doing the best you can to ease animal and human suffering. None of us is perfect and what may seem as ‘going too far’ by some people may be seen as not going far enough by others. All we can do is our best.

UPDATE - To confuse the matter even more, Original Source replied to a further email I sent them with this:  
'We are pleased to advise that we, PZ Cussons (UK) Ltd, do not test any of our products on animals, nor do we commission any third party to do so on our behalf.
In order to ensure compliance with the legal requirements of the Cosmetics Directive, we also work closely with our ingredients suppliers to ensure that no animal testing takes place, either on our behalf or that of the cosmetics industry, and that ingredients are of the highest quality. We have always been anxious to avoid unnecessary animal suffering, and we support research into alternative testing methods.
We strive for the highest safety standards for our products, and ensure this only by appropriate testing on human volunteers.'
Yet, again you have to ask - why isn't this written on their website?
Has that made things clearer? Sadly no. Still no mention of a fixed cut off date.


  1. I think you may be looking into it too much they said "‘At Original Source none of our products are tested on animals and the lovely ingredients which go into them are bought only from suppliers who share our values." By that it's pretty obvious to me that they are saying they themselves do not test on animals and they only buy from suppliers who do't test on animals either.

  2. Thanks, Oddity-1991, but unless a company clearly states that their products and the ingredients are not tested on animals by them or their suppliers you can't be completely sure. That's the point I was making. The only true cruelty free logo, because it's heavily vetted is the Leaping Bunny log.
    Maybe original Source should clarify the situation? Until they do, I won't be buying their products.

  3. I'm a vegan and i'm always really careful about what I buy, but because it held the vegan society logo I thought I was fine :/

  4. So pleased someone else has spotted this, I bought some original sources few years back and as soon as I saw it was made by PZ cussons I stopped because that company test on animals. Glad you investigated it. No leaping rabbit no buy!
    Thank you.

  5. I think the issue here is more with the VS. I'm also surprised they would endorse one product from a company that wouldn't otherwise be compliant.