Bowing down to growing pressure from animal rights groups, including PETA, many cosmetics companies made move to end animal testing on their products in the late 80s and early 90s. Among those that made this newsworthy decision were beauty giants Estee Lauder, Avon and Mary Kay.
These companies graced numerous ‘cruelty-free’ lists for the past 20 years, building a reputation in the cosmetic industry based on this classification, however, this is no longer the case!
In order to meet the rules and regulations associated with selling their products in China, these three companies have relaxed their stance on animal testing. While the companies still do not use animal testing on the majority of their products, an exception has been granted in the country where local laws require additional safety testing on animals is performed.
Some may argue that the company themselves are not actually carrying out the testing, but the devil is in the details. The government is technically the one both calling for and conducting the tests in the country, however, the companies have been made aware that this would be happening should they want to sell non-Chinese made products within the country, and are permitting it to happen with their products.
The fact that the companies want to make the move into China is understandable in and of itself. Business analysts have said that China is expected to be “One of the most valuable markets for beauty and personal care [and account] for around one fifth of global value growth for the world’s beauty and personal care market.”
One has to wonder, however, at what point does a company make the decision to sell out on the moral beliefs that they have so vehemently built their company’s reputation on for two decades solely for financial gain.
For those that may believe that the animals don’t actually suffer in this process, let’s paint a quick picture. Rabbits are regularly used for cosmetic testing due to the fact they have no tear ducts, and thus products are not washed out. In order to test for sensitivity, the chemicals in question are smeared into the eyes of the rabbits to gauge a reaction. If the animals do survive the testing period, which not all do, they are almost always euthanized at the conclusion of the testing.
While many will read this, and immediately move to boycott the companies, it is important to note that Estee Lauder is an extremely extensive brand, operation under a number of different names. The Estee Lauder group includes:
“Aramis, Clinique, Origins, Le Labo, M.A.C., Bobbi Brown, La Mer and Aveda. It is also the global licensee for fragrances and/or cosmetics sold under brand names, such as Tommy Hilfiger, Donna Karan, Michael Kors, Tom Ford, and Coach.”
Of the brand names listed above, the most alarming are Origins and Aveda. These brands, specifically, are favorites of many that specifically shop for and use ‘natural’ products. Well-known mind-body physical Dr. Andrew Weil has even associated himself with these brands, with his own line of products for Origins.
It is up to the consumer to decide where they are going to spend their hard earned dollars, and education is key. Take the time to learn the facts and familiarize yourself with the number of countries that still require animal testing in order to sell imported products. Learn which companies are carrying out their own animal testing, which are standing by permitting others to carry out testing on their products, and which companies are still holding their ground refusing to allow their products to be associated with such a barbaric act.
There is power in numbers, and if we, as the consumer, stand by our morals, purchasing only from companies that are genuinely ‘cruelty-free’ we will make our message known.