Thursday, 6 September 2012

Animal Testing, China and pussy footing around.

I received an email from PETA this morning stating the following:

London – Is Revlon paying for tests that poison animals in China? The cosmetics giant has refused to answer this question, despite repeated attempts by PETA US to uncover the truth. Now, Revlon has to contend with PETA US as a stockholder.

The animal rights group has purchased stock in the New York–based company, which will allow PETA US to attend annual meetings and submit resolutions calling for transparency in Revlon's animal testing policies. The company's refusal to state whether it is paying for these deadly tests – which the Chinese government currently requires for almost all cosmetics products marketed in China – means it cannot be endorsed as a non-animal testing company by PETA US or PETA UK.

"Since Revlon won't come clean to consumers, maybe it will answer a shareholder", says PETA UK Associate Director Mimi Bekhechi. "If the company is breaking its 1989 ban on poisoning animals, then PETA US will find out in the boardroom, if necessary, and then shout it from the rooftop."

A pretty bold move for PETA and one which I'm sure will be applauded by their supporters. But honestly? What will it change in reality? Revlon are not about to pull out of China. It was announced today that they are cutting 250 jobs. They need the money.

To be clear, I don't support animal testing and support PETA's cause - always have, I am by no means radical, I just know from working with brands over the last 15 years that it is completely unnecessary in 2012 to test any product on an animal. 
Why make animals suffer when all products can safely be tested on real people? - which at the end of the day is your end consumer. A rat has no need for a red lipstick or anti-ageing cream. This message however, is still to be heard loud and clear in Beijing.

Cosmetic companies though, don't answer to me, or you. They answer to shareholders. And even then it is in a trickle down basis. If PETA owned 51% of Revlon stock they could in all reality, call the shots. But to my knowledge, they don't. Mr Perelman is still the dude at the top.

So I wonder: Where do you draw the line? I regularly see on twitter and other blogs the fury that comes with knowing that a brand tests on animals or plans to sell to China. 
Avon, L'Oreal and Estee Lauder all sell in China - and that means the Estee Lauder Group - not just the original house. 
So has it stopped you buying Tom Ford? Will it stop you buying Aerin? MAC?
Has it stopped you buying Mitchum deodorant (same group as Revlon)? Chanel? Caudalie? YSL? Garnier? Christian Dior?
Wal-Mart has been in China for years. Wal-Mart own Asda. Do you shop at Asda?

If Stella McCartney (from one of the possibly most widely known and respected vegan families) clothes are sold in China - are her fragrances sold in her stores? I don't know. I'm just showing how easy it is to take it further and further.

Urban Decay? Gave in to pressure from their fans and PETA? Or made a very quick turnaround in light of the fact that they sold their company within the same month and the controversy would have affected the price? Call me cynical...

Avon is China's no.2 brand (L'Oreal predictably No.1) - they had 6000 stores (they have outlets rather than door-to-door) in China 8 years ago. 8 years ago! Avon own Liz Earle. How long before the inevitable happens?
Proctor & Gamble have been in China for nearly 25 years. Do you use Fairy washing up liquid? Use Pampers on your baby? Gillette on your legs? Head and Shoulders? Aussie? Frederic Fekkai???? 

All I know is this: China is going nowhere and neither are shareholders and corporate money.
  • China has 100 million urban (beauty buying) women. 100 MILLION. And that's less than a quarter of the estimated total of women living on the mainland.
  • China is the largest internet beauty market in the world with sales of over $8 billion last year. That's the tip of the iceberg. 
  • The Chinese online beauty market did nine times more last year than the USA online market.
I am not trying to justify anything or anyone - I have merely been wondering recently how far we genuinely, if we are being really honest, care enough to change our ways? And how often we knowingly turn a blind eye while giving a beautifully-applied-Chanel lip service to the opposite effect in public?

Thoughts?


Some source and  further info if you're interested... 





31 comments:

  1. I personally don't like the idea of animal testing. I wish fewer companies would do it? However, I can't say it has truly affected my buying habits. Perhaps animal testing isn't as important to me as, say, the politics of certain men on top. eg. I don't buy from EL or any EL subsidiaries because I dislike the man behind it. But that's just it -- it depends on how important the principle is to you. PETA finds it important, so... good for PETA. It's not that huge a deal to me, so I'm not going aflutter over it.

    I think if a company is forthright about what they're doing, there is at least that honesty I can respect. Just don't pull an UD-like stunt involving moral high ground on me! At the end of the day, it is incredibly hard to live by our principles, in an age of huge conglomerates. In an ideal world, I'd be only purchasing from little farms, have electricity from eco and independent sources, wear locally made clothes, etc. But reality? Not so pretty.

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  2. It's a really difficult topic. I agree with you that no cosmetic product needs to be tested on animals. But the problem is that China has over a billion people and is an increasing economic power in the world.
    As such they hold an enormous amount of power over companies who want a slice of that buying power. Now unless every single shareholder revolts against selling in China (which they won't do as it would mean they earn less from their shares) or the entire world stops buying from any company that sells in China (never going to happen) the best that we can hope for is that China come to their senses and stop testing on animals.
    I know that sounds defeatist but unfortunately we are pretty powerless to fight this one. And I am a firm believer that the Urban Decay U-turn was a very badly planned publicity stunt.

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  3. I totally dislike with animal testing, I think it's toally unnecessary. I try to buy all products that aren't tested on animals. I wouldnt buy a product no matter how much I wanted it if i know the brand test on animals.

    I also warn my mum sister etc which brands not to buy.

    I can't see these big companies like l'oreal or Avon changing their ways so I pray china will soon change their laws.

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  4. The only thing I despise more than animal testing for cosmetic purposes is body shaming and exploiting, terrorist supporting anti-pet kill shelter promoting PETA. And yes the sheer scope of the chinese market is going to continue to put them in the commercial driving seat. Thanks for the post.

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  5. i'm not really aquainted with the business, but from a total newbie point of view i'd prefer testing on animals rather than people, to be honest. i love animals, but i love people more. if it's better to test lipstick on people, then what harm could it bring to animals then? if it's harmful and poor animals are suffering, then.. um... i don't want it to be tested on people. i know it's kind of a deletant point of view, but honestly? i don't wanna get into that. i love animals, but prefer giving money to the fund that helps people, if you know what i mean.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry to put in my two cents, but it's not the point that the products being put on the animals will cause the suffering, although some will. It's more the fact that they are kept in tiny, tiny cages, see no daylight, and are only let out of their cages to be tested on.

      Plus, we choose to put make up and products on our faces and bodies. They don't.

      Delete
    2. I suggest you do your homework before you make an ignorant statement like that. There are alternatives to testing on animals which DO NOT involve harming humans. They can test on human cells in a lab as one option. No humans harmed. No animals harmed. Nobody harmed. Or we could be of the opinion that killing thousands of animals every year for the sake of sheer vanity is disgusting and unacceptable.

      There's also the issue of humans having a CHOICE to participate in testing (not to mention getting paid to do so). Animals do not have a choice. Animals were not put on this earth for us to do whatever we want with them. Also the way they test on humans is very different to how they test on animals as Lady Liquor Vintage mentioedn above. Tiny cages, not treated if they become ill or injured, they are born, live a horrendous 'life' and die depressed, terrified, alone, and in extreme pain so that you can have shinier hair or new lipstick.

      Delete
  6. Well said Caroline. A very rational view. When the UD thing broke along with all the other brands apparently only just selling in China, my first thought was that this has been going on for years and years.
    Unfortunately the way politics works in China means it is very very difficult to.change the government's policies on things unless there is a wholesale shift in Communist Party policy, and looking at history those do not come along that often. The Chinese government also rarely bend to pressure, particularly from Western groups and definitely not home grown pressure groups (if such things even manage to.exist). What people have to understand about the issue is that it isn't a simple.case of lobbying democratic government like it was when animal testing for cosmetic purposes was banned in the UK.
    I don't know the answer and I'm also not justifying it but I do agree that it is a tricky issue.

    Maybe if companies released more information about the tests they were asked to perform consumers could judge better.themselves.

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  7. Really informative post Caroline, I think it is EASY to say I am against Animal Testing but not so easy to actually be against it, if you know what I mean.

    I don't boycott a lot of those companies mentioned I admit and yet am still against testing on animals

    I'm now very confused and need a lie down

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  8. Hi Caroline

    I find a lot of people who are against animal testing are hypocrites and just do it to jump on the band wagon to ease their conscience. How many people say they are animal lovers, own a dog or pet and say they are against animal cruelty and cosmetic testing yet happily and hungrily eat dead animal flesh everyday. Dogs are your best friends here but over in china theyre dinner. Cows are dinner here yet sacred in other countries. Infact rabbits are pets yet ppl eat them here, weird.

    Anyway, I show my love for animals by not eating them and using a lipstick which is tested on animals is minor compared to killing an animal for food. So if u wana jump on a band wagon, go for the meat industry and not the cosmetic, there's far more cruelty going on for your hungry tummies than your lippy!

    Krishna

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    Replies
    1. Maybe you need to take a look at the process of testing products on animals. It is cruel and painful. Admittedly factory farming is very cruel but you cannot compare, say humanely killing an animal which has lived a lovely life (for food) to having an animal living in a laboratory enduring a life of torture. Animal testing does not just entail applying lipstick on a rat or primate or beagle.

      Delete
  9. It is so hard to be truly cruelty-free, like you say so many brands that you might think are cruelty-free are owned by a bigger brand that isn't. I remember a few years ago there was a big thing about boycotting Nestle and there were spoof Nestle ads that said something like "you can't boycott us, we own everything." xx

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  10. I also agree that we shouldn't test cosmetics on animals however I eat meat, wear leather/suede clothing and shoes and use prescription drugs. I would be a total hypocrite if I got incensed every time some makeup company went to China!

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  11. @Krishna..... are you talking about halal meat? Because yes that is more cruel. Its fucking barbaric and even more unnecessary than animal testing. If you're talking about regular meat then you can get off that bandwagon because people are never going to stop eating meat. Plus the deaths are beyond humane and dont involve torture like animal testing.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Happy Enigma. Well I was on about meat in general and yes obviously I agree with you about Halal and you're right, I respect that not all people are going to stop eating meat. But not all people are going to stop smoking either....but look at the massive drastic drop in smoking since the 70s with a bit of education. However my point was just something people can think about, show some perspective (food for thought if you like) and make their own choices about whether torturing animals is as bad as murdering animals. You wouldn't confuse torturing animals and murdering animals if you replaced the word animals with humans. I bet a lot of people wouldn't eat meat if they had to kill animals themselves and then they would see first hand the unnecessary pain and suffering they're causing.

      Anyway..sorry Caroline, gone a bit off topic from your regular beauty blog.......!

      Delete
  12. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  13. Great post. Your blog is stunning <3
    Would you maybe like to follow eachother?
    Love, Anne

    www.movieanne.com

    ReplyDelete
  14. To the Anonymous commenter - I won't publish comments abusing Chinese people as a whole. Its a Communist state - not exactly fair to sweep everyone up in to one group - or call them racist names.

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  15. I understand that what I do with my humble litte creditcard doesen't matter to China.
    Or l'oreal. Or MAC. Or anyone.
    Or even the animals being tortured for the sake of lipstick in China.
    But it matters to me.
    I don't know what else to do really, but to boycott all tested products.
    It takes a lot of researching into companies (and products),
    but I know in my heart it's the right thing to do.
    If we all just keep on looking the other way because "well, they outnumber us so...whatchagonnado?"
    it makes you part of the problem as opposed to part of the solution. (sorry)
    I don't work with cosmetics, I have no beauty blog, but I know of some that are in fact cruelty free.
    Not as glamourous as YSL and their pals I suppose...but hey, let's change that!
    If there's a greater need for cruelty free cosmetics then there will be new brands of cosmetics
    because we all know that where there is a demand there is money and where there is money...well, you know...
    To change anything in the world is difficult but not impossible!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Sandra,
      Nicely said!
      So what cosmetic companies get your seal of approval?

      Delete
    2. From Oregon Animal Rights Promoter:

      This makes me SICK!!! We finally make PROGRESS in U.S. with these greedy abusive cosmetics companies, and THEN THE COWARDS TORTURE INNOCENT ANIMALS in CHINA??!!!!

      Tell the media and get the word out. Maybe they can con the Chinese buyers but WE KNOW BETTER!!! Thank you for telling us in the U.S.

      Delete
  16. Could not agree with you more! This has been going on for way too long and it's about time one of the big brands gets its a** handed to it.

    I'm no radical either, but surely Revlon has crossed the line here and should be punished accordingly.

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  17. I know I am late to the party, but I just wanted to say what a fantastic, thoughtful and educated post on a complex subject. Great to read a blog that tackles the background issues of beauty. Good work lady.

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  18. I know I'm a little late on this post but I have recently made the switch to being 100% cruelty-free in my beauty and hygiene product choices. IT IS NOT HARD AT ALL!

    Anyone who believes it is...I'm sorry but that's just lazy. BUAV stamped products are not tested on animals, the ingredients aren't tested on animals, the brands don't sell to China and aren't owned by a parent company who test on animals. I can name at least 40 BUAV brands off the top of my head right now. The people who have the power to end animal testing are NOT shareholders...it's us. Shareholders want products that will sell. If no one will buy animal tested products, no one will sell them. End of.

    PS. China is currently planning to end its compulsory animal testing legislation in 2014.

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  19. It can be quite hard to find the information but I try my very best to buy from companies that don't test on animals and don't sell in china. It isn't impossible. I believe that every little bit helps, and the more people talk about it, the more word spreads.

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  20. Yes, I won't buy from any of those companies until, either, China changes its policy and these companies resort back to their cruelty-free status before entering The Chinese Market or they pull-out of China. It's as simple as that. These companies and their shareholders made their choice and so have I. Soon, it will be illegal to sell any cosmetics products that have been currently tested on animals, in Europe, so if China continues it's ignorant and archaic policy, they will find their own brands relegated only to a domestic market and the brands listed, above, will not be allowed to introduce the same products they develop for The Chinese market, into The European one.

    There are plenty of beauty options available for anyone capable of doing ten minutes of research online. All of us can accentuate our beauty and we don't have to accept cruelty, to do it.

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  21. I appreciate you addressing the issue of animal testing Caroline. However im sorry but i have to disagree with you on a couple of points. I believe each and every person can make a difference in this world. I know it can seem an impossible task going up against so much power and money but if everyone has that defeatist attitude then of course nothing will change. Yes, most companies will be driven by profit so if everyone boycotted their products then their profits would quickly nosedive and they would quickly change their policies (Eg. UD). But of course this is where the problem lies- few people in this world are willing to stand up for what is right. I hate animal testing for anything and whilst animal testing for medicines, etc is not able to be phased out yet (although there are some amazing companies working on solutions to this), i see a distinction with makeup and other beauty related items. I do my utmost to research the products i spend my consumer dollar on and at the moment that involves NOT buying from any Estee Lauder company, Loreal, Avon or Proctor and Gamble (amongst others). And believe it or not I still have a HELL OF A LOTTA awesome products i can still buy. Obviously you don't care enough about the issue or have the belief in the power of one as you continue to promote products which are tested on animals, but just think how powerful you could be working for the other side!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Anonymous,

      Kudos to you for standing strong in your morals. I'm very aware that one person taking a stand can achieve a lot. I also think you choose your battles. It's not that I 'don't care' - I genuinely love animals - it's just that I have other preferred first choices of 'causes'. Mine in particular is women and children's rights, hence Give and Makeup.

      I will always try and support brands doing their bit - hence my Paul Mitchell interview. I wish you and our furry friends lots of love. :)


      Delete
  22. I'm very late to this post... Sorry but I only found your blog recently.

    I work in animal welfare. Recently I found out about the Chinese requirement for cosmetic testing when I found out that the brand I'd used almost exclusively for nearly 30 years (Clinique) resumed animal testing for the Chinese market.

    I felt horror, grief, anger, you name it.

    I downloaded PETA's list of DO test on animals and DON'T test on animals and started to look up all the brands in my cupboards. Horror! Most of them were listed on the DO list. Most of the ones that weren't, weren't listed on the DON'T list either, which according to PETA means they probably DO.

    So I started researching skin care and make up alternatives. Which is indirectly how I found this blog.

    And now I'm so excited at all the options available to me, at all the new knowledge I'm gaining, and all the new techniques I'm learning. I'm almost GLAD that Clinique is no longer an option for me!

    Getting back to "I work in animal welfare". My organisation campaigns for people to choose meat and eggs that are farmed appropriately. One of those things is battery farmed eggs. It isn't lobbying government that changes these things (although we do that too) - it is a shift in consumer habits. Education and awareness. And there has been an amazing shift in the amount of free range and barn laid eggs being sold in our country. Governments are now getting on board, because they see that the consumers are bringing about change.

    We had a discussion at work about cosmetics being tested on animals. Most of my colleagues were not aware that most of the big, well known brands test on animals due to China. We all talked about where we personally draw the line. Some people won't touch anything owned by a brand that tests, e.g., Estee Lauder owns Urban Decay so they won't buy UD. I have drawn my line at not buying the actual brands that test on animals, so I will buy UD. My feeling is that I don't want to put products on my face or body for which animals have suffered. And if, say, UD became more popular than Clinique (also owned by EL) perhaps that would tell the bigwigs at EL something? Who knows.

    Ultimately, China has to change and that isn't something any of us can really do. But we can draw our own lines about where we are comfortable and where our moral values sit. I eat meat but I won't buy leather clothes and most of my shoes aren't leather. I eat meat but not veal. I buy free range pork and chicken. Australian beef and lamb are farmed in reasonable conditions so I eat them but not a lot. I always buy free range or barn laid eggs.

    Skincare and makeup are vanity products. Medicines are not (mostly). I can accept that animals are used for testing on things that save lives. I can't accept that animals are tortured for the sake of our vanity.

    I am a corporate-dressing, makeup-loving middle aged accountant who wants to look her best. But this is important to me so I do what I feel comfortable with.

    ReplyDelete

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