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… 

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