(Original post by splunket)
They may well have been, when they started out. A few years ago they were acquired by PZ Cussons though.
Yes, original source has the vegan society stamp of approval on the back, but please be aware that this refers to the sourcing of the ingredients only. Any processes they may have been through, or practices employed by the company ie. animal testing, bear no implication on the vegan stamp present.
The article I have linked to from April 2009 points out that Cussons' animal testing policy makes no mention of ingredients, thus leaving them free to test any individual ingredients on animals all day long, just not the finished product. A quick trip to Cussons website reveals that they must have sinced changed the wording of their policy, as it now reads:
"The Group does not conduct any animal testing or commission others to conduct any animal testing. We continue to support the development and acceptance of alternative methods which reduce or replace the use of animals in product safety evaluation and we work with our suppliers to ensure that our values on this subject are shared and, where feasible, that they work to similar standards."
The key is being able to deconstruct such a statement and read between the lines. A very solid looking statement, the main change since last year is from "none of our products
are tested on animals" to "the group
does not conduct any animal testing". This would eliminate any testing of individual ingredients carried out by Cussons themselves. The second half of that sentence: "or commission others to conduct any animal testing" would seemingly also eliminate animal testing from anything else Cussons use. It doesn't - just that Cussons aren't paying third parties to specifically carry out this role for them. What it does mean is that any ingredients they purchase from third parties will have used animal testing at the third party's own discretion, without Cussons' money and regardless of their views on the subject.
The remainder of the statement, about how Cussons fund research into alternatives to animal testing serves only as a red herring, and one commonly used in such statements. I could both eat meat and fund the marketing of soy products, the latter makes no difference as to the killing of animals for meat.
You can be sure then, that from their policy on animal testing, that PZ Cussons buys, uses and profits from animal tested ingredients. There is no reason why a multi national company such as theirs would suddenly grow a conscience, and indeed if they had, you can guarantee they would be shouting about it; the declaration of a cruelty free product leads to no loss of any consumer demographic, only new people to sell to.
This is why I do not buy Original Source products anymore. Of course, whether others do or not is up to them and depends how far you want to take your own consumer responsibilities. Others in this thread have expressed how they would still buy products from a parent company they disagree with, as long as the individual product is cruelty free. As to whether Original Source is, I doubt it, but will never know for sure. Anyone who does wish to abstain from Original Source products should be aware that there are plenty of alternatives out there, which are just as delicious, from Lush, Jason, Aveda, Weleda and others.
Also, if interested in parent companies which are in direct tension to some of the products they offer, check out Alpro soymilk now owned by dairy giants Dean Foods: