Cosmetics and Animal Testing: Avon, Mary Kay
and Estee Lauder Are Not Cruelty Free
by Sárka-Jonae Miller
See more articles by Sarka_Jonae Miller
(The Best Years in Life)
Many caring individuals rely on labels that state that products are cruelty free
to make compassionate decisions. When companies like Avon, Mary Kay and Estee
Lauder put that label on their products, they are making a promise to consumers
that their money will not go toward supporting cruel testing on animals. More
than two decades have gone by since these three companies made that promise and
now they are breaking it. Even worse, they are not changing their labels to
truly reflect their shift away from being cruelty free.
Cosmetics and Animal Testing
There is a long history of testing on animals for cosmetic and personal care
products. Animals are routinely injected untested substances and forced to
endure burning chemicals being dripped into their eyes and rubbed on their skin
just to see what happens, or even to confirm what researchers already know.
Thousands of ingredients have already been tested on animals and people.
Companies like Avon have a huge range of formulas known to be safe and yet
continue to tweak their formulas and add a new ingredient or two purely for
marketing purposes, just so they can say that they have a new formula that could
draw customers in.
Consumers could at least rest assured that when companies who are cruelty free
release new products, thousands of animals in laboratories did not suffer for
the small possibility that a cosmetic product might work a little better. Now
that assurance is being tested because China has a law that all products must be
tested on animals to be sold in the country. It does not matter if a product
comprises ingredients that are known to be safe and have gone through
cruelty-free testing procedures. China won't budge and instead of sticking to
their compassionate principles, Avon, Estee Lauder and Mary Kay began testing on
Despite supporting animal testing, the companies still claim to be cruelty free.
Their original pledge to not test on animals made around 20 years ago included a
loophole. The companies said that they would not perform animal testing unless
the law demanded it. However, no one is forcing them to sell to China.
Alternatives to Animal Testing
More than 1,000 companies sell cosmetics and personal care products that never
test on animals. Israel has banned animal testing completely for personal care
and household products. Even products tested on animal in other countries are
not allowed to enter the country. The European Union may soon follow suit.
Companies have around 8,000 safe ingredients to choose from and there are
compassionate alternatives to animal testing that still lead to safe products
for people to use. In vitro testing allows scientists to see how human tissue
reacts to ingredients in a test tube instead of on bodies. Three types of in
vitro tests have already been validated by the European Union but there are
more. These include two tests for skin corrosion and one for photo toxicity.
China may yet adopt these compassionate practices.
Being cruelty free should not be a marketing ploy or a way for companies to
appear compassionate when they do not really care. Mary Kay, Estee Lauder and
Avon may not be the only companies who say they do not support animal testing
and yet pay labs to test their products on animals. Consumers need to be savvy
with their shopping.
Sources for this article include:
One Green Planet
The Conservative Papers
The PETA Files
About the Author
Sárka-Jonae Miller is a health and fitness expert. She began working in the
fitness industry in 2000 while pursuing a BS in journalism at Syracuse
University. She became certified as a personal fitness trainer and group
exercise instructor in 2003. She has also received training in massage therapy.
Sárka also writes fiction. She is the author of the chick lit novel,
Boyfriends. Get more health and wellness tips on Sárka's
Natural Healing Tips
blog or join her on
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