boycott Procter & Gamble
HOW TO SPOT AN ANIMAL TESTING COMPANY
Many cosmetics companies misleadingly claim their products are ‘not tested on animals’ but are not so keen to admit that they still use animal-tested ingredients. In these crude poisoning tests, chemicals are force-fed to animals, injected into them, dripped into their eyes and rubbed into their raw skin. Here is an overview that explains how to recognise the companies that try to give the impression they are cruelty-free, when they're not!
Cosmetics companies can, broadly speaking, be divided into three categories with regard to their animal testing policies.
Chemical-producing companies that test on animals themselves or pay researchers to carry out animal tests on their behalf e.g.
Procter & Gamble
They tend to be larger companies and often have a raft of different cosmetic brands, for example 'Dove' and 'Organics' are Unilever brands. 'Herbal Essences' and 'Max Factor' are P&G brands. 'Garnier' and 'Lancome' are L'Oreal brands, the Body Shop are now owned by L'Oreal too. So rule number one is always look to see who the parent company is. More recently (in 2012) several previously cruelty-free companies (Caudalie, L’occitane, Yves Rocher) returned to testing on animals in order to sell their products in China and Russia – where they demand animal data.
The second category are cosmetics companies that tend not to test on animals themselves but continue to buy, use and benefit financially from chemical ingredients that have recently been tested on animals by their suppliers. Many cosmetic brands fall into this category e.g.
Most of them are very clever at deceiving the public with the claims they make about animal testing.
The final category consists of companies that adhere to a Fixed Cut Off Date scheme. This means that the company will not buy or use ingredients that have been tested on animals by themselves or their suppliers after a set date (e.g. 1995). This is the only method by which manufacturers can send a clear message to their suppliers and the rest of the industry that the company is not prepared to profit from animal tested ingredients. Most animal testing for cosmetics takes place on "new to the world" chemicals. There are already thousands of chemicals with a proven safety record available.
You may be wondering why these companies are so keen to have access to new chemicals, especially when the majority of consumers are against animal testing for cosmetics? Well it's so they can market their products as ‘new’ and ‘improved’ - basically so they can make more money. For example P&G claim that their Olay Regenerist moisturizer beautifully regenerates skins’ appearance - thanks to their new Amino-Peptide Complex. And that their Total Effects moisturizer contains an exclusive VitaNiacin formula (the science part!). P&G and others are filling their products with all sorts of new chemical ingredients. It's to boost their marketing hype and P&G are recognised as world leaders. These companies are taking a gamble on the fact that most consumers assume that cosmetics are no longer tested on animals or are unable to see through their cleverly worded ‘animal testing policies’.
How To Interpret Cruelty-Free Claims
If you look at a product that makes no mention of animal testing - be suspicious. If a company can make a claim, no matter how meaningless, they usually will. It's hard to believe but there are no laws to prevent companies from deliberately misleading consumers about their animal testing practises.
PZ Cussons makers of 'Original Source' products say:
“None of our products are tested on animals. We support the development and acceptance of alternative methods which reduce or replace the use of animals in product safety evaluation.”
Notice they mention product testing but not ingredients. Many cosmetic companies also add statements about how much they support and invest in the development of alternative methods of testing - which is a ploy to distract consumers from the fact that they also still test on animals.
“In 1987, Clarins was the first French company to cease product testing on animals.”
Again no mention of ingredients.
Estee Lauder say:
“We do not conduct animal testing on our products or ingredients, nor ask others to test on our behalf, except when required by law.”
“Avon does not test products or ingredients on animals, nor do we request others to do so on our behalf. Avon will conduct animal testing only when required by law.”
Seemingly strongly worded statements like this are made by many companies - and it sounds very comprehensive. But they are not being completely honest because they do still buy and use 'new to the world' ingredients that have been tested on animals during their development. Any legal requirement to test on animals only arises because of the companies desire to use new chemicals in the hope of increasing their sales. Many companies also include rabbit logos on their packaging - but this is no guarantee that the item is genuinely cruelty-free either.
It's not just cosmetics, many household cleaning products also contain animal tested ingredients.
For up-to-date guides see:
All of the information about P&G’s animal testing correct at the time of archiving - November 2012. If these pages are still here – it means P&G still test on animals – we will remove this section only if they stop animal testing.