Did you know that laws in China require testing on animals for all cosmetics before they go on shelves? Brands we once trusted to be cruelty-free are now giving into the demands of the hugely profitable market that is China.
According to the DailyMail.co.uk, cosmetic sales in China increased by 18 percent to £10 billion (more than 15 billion US Dollars) last year, and many companies are having a hard time saying no to these barbaric practices, it seems.
Beauty brands who’ve decided that their bottom line is more important than the treatment of animals are still sporting the cruelty-free bunny label on their packages. When questioned about their contradictory messaging they reply with deceptively placating languaging to quell customer concerns that it’s not the brands themselves who are to blame, because they aren’t doing testing on animals, it’s (that pesky) China and their testing laws, and (gee whiz) they are sure sad about those laws and are working hard to help change those practices. Umm hmm…
Case in point: In March 2013 the New York Times reprinted this statement, “Estée Lauder said it does ‘not test our products or ingredients on animals, nor do we ask others to test on our behalf, except where required by law.’ ”
So that means they are being tested on animals because they are selling products in China, where it is required by law.
Estee Lauder owns quite a few global brands including the perceivably more natural brands Origins and Aveda. Other companies that have jumped the cruelty-free ship to sell in China include Jurlique, L’Occitane, Yves Rocher, and Caudalie. At least Jurlique comes right out on their website and admits they sell in China, where animal tests are conducted.
On the complete flip-side, the European Union‘s 27 countries took a massive stand toward the end of animal testing on March 11, 2013. The EU voted to pass a complete ban on cosmetics companies which conduct animal testing, making the selling of them illegal.
Meanwhile the U.S. is staying in “neutral” territory. It neither requires nor penalizes companies for animal testing. Frankly I find it a bit shameful how the EU consistently works toward adjusting industry standards with safety and ethical regulations to protect all living beings, while the US sits back in apathy.
This is not a subject to be apathetic about! I’ve chosen not to post any images of how awful these practices are because they are quite upsetting. So if this is a new subject for you, I encourage you to do a search on Google images for “animal testing,” as it will be quite revealing.
As consumers we can’t be make assumptions either, so I thought I’d just double check products I’m using on PETA’s website. Sadly I found that Green Works (a brand I use in my home) was listed as testing on animals. I wanted to hear what they had to say for themselves, and as PETA predicted, Green Works sent me this very well crafted reply:
Our Green Works products are not tested on animals.
At Clorox, we are committed to providing consumers with products they can trust when used as directed. Before reaching market, our products undergo rigorous safety testing and careful evaluations by highly qualified, skilled scientists. Except where mandated by law, using non-animal product safety evaluations is the norm at Clorox and animal testing is the exception. The vast majority of our products reach the market without testing on animals.
To further demonstrate our commitment not to use live animals, we recently updated our product safety testing policy to require senior management approval of any discretionary animal testing. Rare exceptions to the no animal testing policy, if any, will only be considered when all other efforts have been exhausted to establish a product’s safety profile. The updated policy may be found on our Web site at www.TheCloroxCompany.com in the Corporate Social Responsibility section.
For more than 20 years, Clorox has been assessing alternatives to animal testing and working with industry groups and regulators on the issue. We believe that the science today firmly supports the efficacy of alternatives, and are committed to working toward a future where animal testing has no role in product development.
So that’s nice, but it still boils down to the fact that they WILL test on animals.
Incidentally the reason I chose Clorox is because they also own Burt’s Bees, a trusted green brand that’s been around a very long time. Many people don’t realize that Burt’s Bees was sold in 2007 to Clorox for more than $900 million. While that doesn’t make Burt’s Bees an unacceptable green brand, it does surprise a lot of people who still associate it with its “mom and pop” roots. What most people also don’t know is that Burt’s Bees went to rather extensive lengths over many years to develop their presence in China by using local manufacturing and reportedly eliminating the need for animal testing- something they couldn’t have done without the deep pockets of a company like Clorox. (Take note other brands — this is how it’s done!).
Now that they’ve paved the way, maybe the bigger brands will take notice of their example and choose another route for entering China. That might include educating Chinese scientists about cruelty-free testing methods, just like PETA did with their $33k grant late last year.
If you are interested in affecting change in the US and gloabally, please check out the amazing work of organizations such as PETA who is actually offering grants to give Chinese scientists training in non-animal testing methods.
I’d love to hear your comments and thoughts on this subject too, and how it will affect your purchasing decisions. Please write to me below!
Feature photo by flickr user Jlhopgood