Animal Testing & The Beauty Industry: What You Need To Know

Would you give up your ethics for a price? Most of us would like to say no, but say the figure offered was around several billion dollars (yes, billion with a b). Are you feeling a little more flexible now? Many cosmetics companies have recently been subjected to this same question when considering entering the Chinese market. China, which presents a sizable opportunity for many beauty brands, legally requires brands to test on animals in order to retail in the country.
As if the cosmetics industry and animal testing didn't have a complicated enough history, things are now starting to get really twisted. While it should be a given that once a company is deemed cruelty-free, it will stay that way, unfortunately, it's not so simple. A company that enacts humane standards in one country may not have that same control in another. Yves Rocher, Mary Kay, and L'Occitane are just a few of the brands that have decided to sell in the China, going against their initial cruelty-free stance in the name of global sales.
Thankfully, not all companies are making such moves. One brand that hasn't traded moral principles for profits is Urban Decay. Devotees of the company know that it, as its representatives put it, "don't do animal testing — how could anyone?" Urban Decay recently reinforced its devotion to animals by deciding to not sell in China until the country makes some changes to their procedures for testing beauty products. We, for one, commend Urban Decay and founder Wende Zomnir for the commitment to being truly cruelty-free. While we understand that makeup brands are businesses and need to look out for bottom lines, we don't think that should come at the cost of subjecting animals to cruel and unnecessary testing.
Since brands aren't obligated to notify consumers of their practices in other countries, it can be hard to tell if your favorite brand is 100 percent cruelty-free. We recommend checking out the Leaping Bunny web site for a complete list of brands that adopt a no-tolerance policy on animal testing in all of the countries where they retail. Any brand that has made the decision to sell in China will be removed from the Leaping Bunny's list. And once you're done there, do us all a favor and sign the Humane Society's Be Cruelty-Free Pledge to let your voice be heard and hopefully help put an end, once and for all, to this inhumane practice.

Photos: Via Urban Decay, PETA

More from Makeup

R29 Original Series