**UPDATE** Urban Decay has decided to pull out of the Chinese market, see post here.
So as you may know, the cruelty-free world has had some controversial news: some highly respected cruelty-free companies such as Estee Lauder (owners of many brands, including MAC and Bobbi Brown) and Urban Decay are expanding into China. “So what?” you ask. Chinese law allows the government to test products going onto the market without the knowledge of the companies, according to Urban Decay’s press statement. And yeah, those would be animals they would be testing on. This has pretty much pissed off a bunch of people that supported the brands because they were cruelty-free. I don’t really like the fact that these products in China may have been tested on animals at some point (Urban Decay still does not test on animals themselves, but by expanding into the Chinese market they open themselves up to the risk), but I also see this as a good opportunity, as does Urban Decay. As I have said before, I do not want my money being used to test on animals. However, I do want my money to go for making a change in the way things are run. Apparently the Chinese market is a very closed market, so the only way to change the policies regarding animal testing would be from within. From what I have heard, it seems like Chinese consumers really don’t think about it at all, there is very little awareness of the horrible things that are done in the name of beauty. I am willing to support these companies expanding into China if they will try to promote cruelty-free testing methods to the Chinese government. And according to their press statement, that is exactly what they plan to do. OK, so Urban Decay is going to try to work some changes, but is Estee Lauder? I have not found a statement regarding promoting change in China in particular (it may exist, though, I just haven’t come across it), but in the FAQ section of their website where they state their policy regarding animal testing, they do stress the point that they work hard to promote alternative testing methods. There really cannot be enough promotion out there, so if a company is doing their fair share, I am not going to boycott them and endanger their campaigns.
And China is already starting to change. PETA sent out a press release that stated that the Chinese government is in the last stages of approving their first-ever non-animal test for cosmetic ingredients, and are working with scientists from the Institute of In-Vitro Sciences, a program which PETA supports. Whether this step has anything to do with Urban Decay or Estee Lauder is hard to say, but nevertheless it is still great. If nothing else, this is a brilliant stepping stone for the companies to use to jump-start their campaigns.
I, for one, am willing to continue to support these companies, but you may not. It is your decision to make, and I am not going to push anything on you, I merely ask for you to do your research before you condemn anyone. For those that have decided to revoke support of these companies, in my list of non-animal-testing companies, I have specially marked out all the brands who have expanded into China, or are owned by a company expanding into China. Where possible, I will suggest alternatives from brands who have not expanded into China, so no matter what your beliefs on the subject, you can still look and feel fabulous.
PETA Press Release:
Urban Decay Press Statement (found on Temptalia.com)
Urban Decay Chinese Expansion Q&A (also on Temptalia)
Estee Lauder Animal Testing Policy