Boots No 7 Animal Testing Policy Details

UPDATE 1/17/14: From reader Terri, an article about Boots Expanding in China


I know many of us have questions about Boots No 7′s animal testing policy, so I contacted them. I asked whether ingredients or finished products are tested on animals, whether a third party conducts animal tests on Boots’ behalf, whether they sell in countries that require animal testing, and whether Boots plans to become Leaping Bunny certified or listed by PETA. They responded quickly to my questions – within 24 hours. Their response:


Thank you for contacting Boots.

We do not use animals to test our products, nor do we have animal testing conducted on our behalf or by anyone else. Instead, we ensure product safety through state-of-the-art testing methods on human volunteers. Lanolin is derived from sheep’s wool, and as such is an animal by product. Of course the animal is completely unharmed. Thank you for your interest.

We are looking into several markets, such as the CCIC or LEAPING BUNNY PROGRAM, as part of future packaging artwork changes. Though we have always been cruelty free and done our testing on people, over 50,000 volunteers each year, we understand that more people are wanting to see this stated on the packaging.

Sincerely, Boots Customer Service


Initially, I felt this was an encouraging response. But I realized the one point they did not address is whether Boots No 7 is sold in countries that require animal testing.

I asked PETA and the CCIC if they knew anything. From PETA, I got a standard response form. The CCIC (who are incredibly helpful) said they couldn’t vouch for Boots No 7, because they aren’t currently part of the Leaping Bunny Program. They reiterated that, until a company is part of the Leaping Bunny Program, we can’t be sure of it’s animal testing policy, either way.

In the Alliance Boots 2009/10 Annual Review, they state (on page 8): “We also have pharmacies in Thailand and our associates and joint ventures operate pharmacies in Switzerland, China, Lithuania and Italy.” As we know, animal testing is required on cosmetics sold in most areas in China.

It looks like Alliance Boots’ involvement in China is with Guangzhou Pharmaceuticals Corporation. As I understand it, this is a pharmaceutical company which provides medical supplies to Chinese hospitals. I couldn’t find anything that indicated whether Boots No 7 sells their beauty and skincare lines in China.

Ultimately, this is all just information that may or may not be accurate and the decision of whether to support Boots No 7 is up to you. At this point, I just don’t know for sure that they’re cruelty-free, so I am personally opting not to continue recommending Boots No 7 products on this blog until they are certified by either the Leaping Bunny or listed by PETA.

  • Moxie

    Wow. Thank you. I haven’t tried anything from their line, but I really appreciate you looking into this so thoroughly. I agree, if they sell in China, they are not cruelty free.

    • Catherine

      Of course! A few people had asked me about Boots and I just felt I needed to look into it more. ♥

  • Rebekah

    Thanks for this post! I’m was going to start my own investigation in No7 and Boots products since a few of my blog readers have asked about it, but seeing this I know its already a lost cause. I will definitive be directing my readers here.

    I hate when I receive a response from a company where they do not answer all the questions they ask them. Do you have any advice for how to deal with this besides doing independent research? I assume if I email them again I will probably get the same pre-written response.

    • Catherine

      Hi Rebekah! It is really frustrating, especially when the rest of their response seems reassuring. But I guess it goes back to the old saying – lying by omission is still a lie. Unfortunately, aside from just following up, I haven’t found a better way to handle it yet. When I have gotten a second response from companies (often I don’t), it almost invariably doesn’t really make sense. Things like “we don’t qualify for PETA certification because our products contain animal ingredients like wax”…
      I actually did get an additional response from PETA a few weeks after I contacted them, they provided a bit more information. They recommended I contact the company’s CEO directly and if they answer all questions indicating they really are cruelty-free, to ask them to sign a statement, then mail it to PETA. I’m planning to try that. I’d be more than happy to forward the PETA email to you if you’d like, just send me an email at and I’ll forward it on. I don’t know what effect directly contacting the CEO would have, but at a minimum it reinforces that this is an issue consumers really care about.
      Also – your site is terrific! ♥

  • Hotashi

    How interesting, they sent me a different response when I emailed them in July. Most of it was the same as what they told you but for me they didn’t mention anything about trying to get certified by an impartial organization. In fact they said the following:

    “No animal testing of any kind is undertaken or commissioned by Boots or its subsidiary businesses. We recognise that until satisfactory replacements are available, some animal tests will be carried out by others to meet regulatory requirements and protect public health. These safety tests sometimes involve ingredients used in products manufactured and sold by subsidiary businesses.”

    To me they came off as saying they don’t conduct animal testing themselves but their actions were apathetic to animal testing by their suppliers. I’m currently avoiding them, but will give them a chance if they get certified by Leaping Bunny.

  • Alice

    I will avoid them too.

  • shadowman

    its hard to judge a company just by a possibly biased opinion which has not even been proved by any evidence nor been disproved. We cannot judge Boots until the evidence is clear in either way.

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  • A

    I’ve been using Boots No. 7 for years but recently realised it was time to be more aware of the products I use so thank you for this article. I’m sad that i’m going to have to find elsewhere to buy my make up, but it’s worth it to support a more compassionate company.

  • Catherine

    Thank you so much for chiming in, Alexis! I have no doubt that there are many instances in which sheep are sheered without harm. I’m also sure that in many large factory-style organizations, they are harmed. I’m so grateful for small farms like the one you grew up on where the sheep are treated with respect and in their best interest ♥

  • Lisa Grossman

    For vegans- using lanolin is the end of the discussion. You are being sucked into lies if you think cruelty free can include anything taken from an animal. NO animal product is dirived humanely as they are all captives farmed for their body parts. DISGUSTING AND IMMORAL.