stop the press, and stop the clocks

(in memory of innocent non-human animal lives unnecessarily abused, wasted, and lost)

With thanks to fellow MUAers for bringing this to my (and lots of other people’s) attention: amarantha, avironneur, troodos 🙂

PETA released a statement earlier today regarding the cruelty-free status of Avon, Mary Kay, and Estee Lauder. The statement:

For more than two decades, Avon, Mary Kay, and EstĂ©e Lauder have been among the largest mainstream international companies on PETA’s cruelty-free lists. Avon banned all tests on animals following PETA’s massive “Avon Killing” campaign, and Mary Kay pledged to go cruelty-free after cartoonist Berkeley Breathed mocked the company in his popular Bloom County comic strip. Since then, all three companies have enjoyed the support of PETA and millions of consumers who choose to buy cosmetics from companies that don’t harm animals. But now we have learned that all three companies have been paying for tests on animals at the requirement of the Chinese government—and they did not inform PETA or consumers that their policies had changed. We have no choice but to downgrade them by placing them on our list of companies that test on animals.

When we learned that the Chinese government requires tests on animals before many cosmetics products can be marketed in China, we immediately contacted all three companies. While we understand that China is an enormous market that these companies aren’t willing to ignore, we had hoped they would take action to eliminate this requirement or push for non-animal test methods to be accepted. Mary Kay had taken some steps to work with officials in China, and at our urging, promised to continue this effort—but Avon and EstĂ©e Lauder appear to have gone along with the painful animal tests without objection.

PETA is financially supporting the efforts of the Institute for In Vitro Sciences (IIVS), which is putting together a coalition of corporate experts, providing training for scientists in China in the use of non-animal test methods, and working with officials there to promote the acceptance of non-animal methods that are used in the U.S., the European Union, and much of the world.

Fortunately, there are still more than 1,000 companies on our “Don’t Test” list whose products consumers can buy with a clear conscience.

Please take a moment to let Avon, Mary Kay, and EstĂ©e Lauder know that you are disappointed in their backsliding and that you will no longer buy the companies’ products as long they are tested on animals.

The Estee Lauder official position, on their site:

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.

Commentary online today:

Older comments (for this is not new news):

To Happy Vegans (exceprts):

In a massively significant move, it has been illegal to test cosmetics (and their ingredients) in the  EU since the 11th of March 2009. The legislative act also establishes a prohibition on the sale of products tested on animals elsewhere in the world in the European Community by 2013 (to ensure testing is not relocated to third countries). However, there will remain on the market products that have been previously tested on animals before the EU ban and sadly animal testing for household products is allowed to continue.

We prefer to support only companies with a fixed cut-off date (FCOD). If a product has ‘not tested on animals’ on the label be aware that this may refer to the final product and not necessarily the ingredients. Companies adopting this policy will not use ingredients, or procure from suppliers ingredients that have been tested on animals since a specific date. They also do not test their finished products on animals.

Launched by a coalition of animal protection groups including the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection, this standard is the world’s only internationally recognised scheme which uses a leaping bunny logo to allow consumers to easily identify products that have been made cruelty free.

To receive approval to use the logo, not only must the company no longer conduct or commission animal testing, they must also adopt a fixed cut-off date (which must never be moved) for ingredients and products. In addition to this they must also agree to an independent audit of its supply chain to ensure compliance with all of the above.

The BUAV endorses a fixed cut-off date policy because they believe it will eventually reduce the need for animal testing and eliminate it from household products industries.

Companies using this policy will not use ingredients that have been tested with a five year period. However as this is a ‘rolling’ rule something which was tested say in 2003 will not be permitted for use during the five year period to 2008, but may then be introduced in 2009. This policy does nothing to discourage animal testing and may also deter the development of alternative research methods.

C/o Makeup Geek:

Re: Animal Testing

by maggie18 on Fri Sep 30, 2011 1:18 pm

Estee Lauder Inc actually did start testing on animals, as they are now selling in China, which actually legally requires cosmetics to be tested.As per their own e-mail to me when I asked them about this (and also on their info page):

We do not conduct animal testing on our products or ingredients, nor ask others to test on our behalf, except when required by law. … sting.html

And this was confirmed by PETA, when I emailed them about it:

Thank you for writing to us about EstĂ©e Lauder. EstĂ©e Lauder announced an end to animal tests in 1990 and has been on PETA’s list of companies that don’t test on animals since that time. But recently, the company weakened its policy by adding the stipulation that it won’t test on animals unless “required by law.” PETA is currently trying to clarify the company’s policy, but it is our understanding that EstĂ©e Lauder is paying for tests on animals in China. This means, of course, that EstĂ©e Lauder no longer qualifies to be listed as cruelty-free, and we have removed it from our list of companies that have permanently banned all tests on animals.Because tests on animals are required by the Chinese government before many cosmetics products can be marketed in China, PETA is now working with scientists to help Chinese scientists and officials accept the non-animal test methods that are used in the U.S. and much of the world. We are urging EstĂ©e Lauder to step up its role and combine forces with other companies to hasten this process.

Ethically: this puts these companies in a worse position than P&G and the like. At least the latter were straight about their testing policy. Here’s how it goes.

  • Two companies both test on animals. Net result for animals: they die. It’s even, 1-1 on cruelty and ethics.
  • One company has been honest, the other has not. Whethe they lied or fudged. Net result: 1-0 to the first company.

Pragmatically: you might as well be using any of the following cheaper drugstore brands:

  • Cover Girl, L’OrĂ©al, Maybelline

Practicalities: not so fussed myself about Avon and Mary Kay: never used their stuff, disliking that sort of pyramid-sales business-model, and disliking its potential for anti-feminist abuses. Estee Lauder, however, I do care about.

  • Clinique mascara, especially Lash Power
  • Bobbi Brown No Smudge mascara and gel eyeliner
  • Origins Fringe Benefits mascara

On the why: my own comments coming up later today. I scribbled some notes, will type up, prior to emailing EL and the subsidiaries whose products I’ve used. I’ll also be adding notes to the top of every MUA review I’ve written for EL-group products.

A first quick comment (which I posted up on the MUA Skin Care Board first thing this morning):

If you’ve been buying ethical (and avoiding otherwise good stuff from non-ethical companies), conscientiously and in good faith, this is a big slap in the face.

I mean, most people have to take a company’s word on their practices (even if that includes being cautious and emailing them anyway), few people are able to go out and check for themselves in situ.

I’m pissed off.

UPDATE (2014-05): see also

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