Still MadPosted: February 21, 2012
My last post about Avon, Estee Lauder, and Mary Kay allegedly testing on animals made me angry enough to delve further into the issue of these companies’ stance on animal testing. I discovered on their websites pledges from all three companies to end the practice of testing cosmetics on animals (the ares in bold italics are highlights added by me):
From Avon’s own Frequently Asked Questions page:
- Does Avon test on animals?
Commitment to Science —
Respect for Animal Welfare
The safety of our consumers is of primary concern to Avon. We are committed to selling only safe products, using only safe ingredients in our cosmetics products and complying with applicable regulations in every country in which Avon products are sold.
• On June 2, 1989, Avon announced a permanent end to all animal testing of our products, including testing done in outside laboratories. Avon was the first major cosmetic company in the world to end animal testing.
• Our approach to safety evaluation utilizes data from in vitro (test tube/cell culture) or clinical tests (on human volunteers) as well as referencing existing animal-testing data.
• Avon does not conduct animal testing on any of its products or raw ingredients and does not require that suppliers of raw ingredients and finished products produced for Avon conduct animal testing on our behalf.
• Avon will conduct animal testing only when required by law, at the request of government health or medical authorities, and only after having first attempted to persuade the requesting authority to accept non-animal test data.
Avon has been at the forefront of the development and implementation of alternative test methods since the 1980’s. Our efforts were recognized in 1993 at the World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences: Education, Research and Testing. In 1993, Avon was also presented with a Recognition Award from the Johns Hopkins University Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing. We received this Award for our commitment and dedication to the principles of the 3 R’s (refinement, reduction, replacement) and the use of alternative tests for safety evaluation.
Development of Non-Animal (Alternative) Tests
Avon will continue in our leadership role to support the development and validation of new alternatives to animal testing. To this end, Avon is a partner with other cosmetic companies in efforts organized by the European cosmetic industry trade association (COLIPA) to identify and develop new alternatives. Similarly, Avon is a long-time supporter of research into alternatives conducted by the Fund for the Replacement of Animals in Medical Experiments (FRAME) in the UK and the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing at Johns Hopkins University in the United States. Ongoing research on new/existing alternative methods is conducted by scientists in our Cell Biology and In Vitro Toxicology Laboratory at our Global Research & Development Center in Suffern, NY.
From Estee Lauder’s Customer Service FAQs:
- DOES YOUR COMPANY TEST ON ANIMALS?
The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. is committed to the elimination of animal testing. We are equally committed to consumer health and safety, and bringing to market products that comply with applicable regulations in every country in which our products are sold. We do not conduct animal testing on our products or ingredients, nor ask others to test on our behalf, except when required by law. We evaluate our finished products in clinical tests on volunteer panels. Estée Lauder fully supports the development and global acceptance of non-animal testing alternatives. To this end, the Company works extensively with the industry at large and the global scientific community to research and fund these alternatives.
From Mary Kay’s Company Quick Facts:
- Mary Kay® does not support animal testing. Mary Kay® is committed to the elimination of animal testing and is a strong advocate of utilizing alternative methods to substantiate the safety of ingredients and products. We do not conduct animal testing on our products or ingredients, nor ask others to do so on our behalf, except when absolutely required by law. For more than two decades, we have been a global leader in helping to develop alternative testing methods for product safety. This commitment continues today, in partnership with global regulatory agencies that manage cosmetic safety, with animal advocacy groups and with leading animal alternative researchers, in an effort to gain global acceptance of these new approaches.
Note all three companies admit they will test on animals only “when required by law,” as certain categories such as pharmaceuticals and other health-care related industries still require testing on animals, but this seemed to serve merely as a disclaimer. In my opinion, the desire to sell products in a foreign country that requires animal testing by law doesn’t count. An article in today’s Daily Mail gives Avon’s side of the story as well. Technically, Avon is staying true to their commitment as stated above: “Avon will conduct animal testing only when required by law, at the request of government health or medical authorities, and only after having first attempted to persuade the requesting authority to accept non-animal test data.” Since China won’t accept non-animal test data, does it make it okay for these American companies to test on animals again?
It’s sad that these companies would backtrack from the commitments they made just to sell their products to a country with a less-than-stellar human-rights record, that still doesn’t support a democratic government at home and who supports dictatorships abroad in their fights against democracy. China has a population of one billion people. One billion people who need moisturizer and lipstick and fragrance. I guess that’s good enough reason in the minds of company executives to decide to start testing on animals again. But China has a huge gender-imbalance due to China’s one-child-per-couple policy, with men vastly outnumbering women. In a few generations’ time, where will the target demographics that appeal to Avon, Estee Lauder, and Mary Kay be then?