The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) operate under a five year rolling rule, which means that a company must sign a declaration saying that they have not tested the material in question on animals in the last 5 years for use in cosmetics. This was a good policy many years ago when non animal testing was a new consideration. It got people thinking about issues and providing an easy way for raw material suppliers and cosmetic manufacturers to start producing things that were not tested on animals.
However it does not provide a strong incentive for companies to cease testing. With many new raw materials and some cosmetic products taking more than five years to develop, companies could just carry on animal testing knowing that by the time they got their new product on the market 5 years would have passed and they could advertise it as ‘cruelty free’ under the five year rolling rule. Therefore what started as a genuine effort to reduce animal testing could end up being used as a marketing ploy for unethical companies to make themselves look good.
Another thing to consider is that BUAV charge for the service of licensing. Companies go through a vetting process and inspectors may be sent, which of course costs money, the credibility of the bunny stamp is ONLY available if a company is willing to hand over money. The STEAMCREAM policy is based on the premise that customers do not want their money to go to companies that test on animals. The Fixed Cut-off Date policies cannot give that assurance to customers.