The term cruelty-free was first used in this way by Lady Dowding who persuaded manufacturers of fake furs to use the label Beauty Without Cruelty and went on to found the charity Beauty Without Cruelty in 1959. The term was popularised in the USA in the 1970s by Marcia Pearson who founded the group Fashion With Compassion. ~ Wikipedia
In research, animals such as dogs, cats, rabbits, rats, mice, and guinea pigs are forced to eat or inhale substances, or have a cosmetic ingredient rubbed onto their shaved skin, eyes or ears every days to see if they developed an allergic reaction. After the testing the animals were killed and dissected to examine the effects the ingredient has on internal organs. Even pregnant animals were not exempt from testing. And, in prolonged carcinogen tests, rats are force-fed a cosmetic ingredient over two years, monitored for cancer, and then killed. Sadly, the cosmetic industry has used this method of testing for years to earn FDA approval to bring their product to market.