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Ouch! Avon, Mary Kay and Estee Lauder no longer cruelty-free Facebook campaign

Lucky bunny
Patricia Sullivan

Was your lipstick tested on the backs of beagles? Was your laundry detergent poured in the eyes of bunnies? A new campaign being spread globally on Facebook broadcasts the message that leading cosmetics giants Avon, Mary Kay and Estee Lauder are not worthy of the Cruelty - Free label – a blow that may force a tumult among shareholders as they contemplate a mass exodus of customers towards cosmetics made by companies who do not test on animals.

The announcement on Facebook sparks new attention on the revelation made by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in February 2012 that the skincare products are no longer “cruelty-free” as they are being forced to follow regulations enforced by the Chinese government.

“Your company has violated the trust of loyal customers, and you have disrespected consumers like me who have counted on your brand for decades largely because of your cruelty-free policies. I will no longer be purchasing your products, and I will be sharing this disturbing information with everyone I know.” ~ Facebook campaign letter

Some confusion exists about the cruelty-free designation, for example if a product displays a logo on a product package or company website claiming “not tested on animals”, does that mean the final product is not tested on animals, or that neither the final product or the individual ingredients are not tested on animals? Clarification of that issue can be found on the PETA website.

London-based BUAV, the trading name of The Campaign to End All Animal Experiments, whose vision is to “Create a world where nobody wants or believes we need to experiment on animals” claims to lead the campaign to end all animal testing. BUAV sponsors the Leaping Bunny logo campaign and others correlated to ending animal cruelty, including Cargo Cruelty, an international effort to stop airlines transporting primates destined for research, and the REPLACE campaign which attempts to persuade regulators to accept validated alternatives to animal testing. More recognizable is the benign leaping bunny of The Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics’ (CCIC) Leaping Bunny Program which “administers a cruelty-free standard and the internationally recognized Leaping Bunny logo for companies producing cosmetic, personal care and household products.” offers a Compassionate Shopping guide

You can search a 28-page list of cruelty - free products and companies, and take a pledge to be cruelty- free at PETA’s site here. Avon, Mary Kay and Estee Lauder are not on PETA’s “Companies that don’t test on animals” list, but Estee Lauder’s Aveda line is.

As an example of the power of the cruelty-free logo product designation, on June 6, 2012 Leaping Bunny campaign announced that Urban Decay products would no longer be certified as cruelty-free, and a mere month later, on July 7, 2012, Urban Decay regained designation after the company made the decision to cancel plans to sell its products in China—where animal testing is required.

AAVS American Anti-Vivisection Society, working to end the use of animals in science, makes this statement on their website’s Types of Research page:

“The fields of psychology, military and space research tend to be particularly cruel for the animals involved. Researchers use animals because they can manipulate and experiment with animals in ways that are not acceptable in humans…” (i.e. dripping toxic irritants in eyes, forcing animals to ingest substances or applying the substance on the skin or fur) “…However, animals are not ‘little people’, and they suffer greatly in these studies, both physically and psychologically. Genetic engineering further aggravates the situation, consuming an excessive amount of animal life and promoting the view that animals are little more than ‘tools’ or ‘commodities’ that can be manipulated at will.”

Stay tuned to see what outcome the Facebook campaign produces with Avon, Mary Kay and Estee Lauder.


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