The cosmetic brand, Avon took a lot of heat over the years when they were called out and removed from PETA’s cruelty-free list. PETA found out that Avon products were sold in China and were required by law to be tested on animals but Avon didn’t bother to tell anyone about these changes to their animal testing policy. Now Avon is considered to be like the poster child of a company that continues to mislead customers into thinking that they care about animals.
On Avon’s corporate website, they have an incredibly long statement of their “Respect for Animal Welfare“. And if you ever get the chance to read the essay, you’ll find that Avon never blatantly comes out saying they test on animals. Instead, they have a talented PR team that have oh-so-carefully worded their animal testing policy with misleading claims and suggestive statements.
At the end of the day, what you need to know about Avon’s current stance on animal testing is that their products are retailed in China and therefore they must pay to have their products tested on animals, making Avon not cruelty-free. I also wanted to take the time to walk you through some of Avon’s statements to show you how a company can easily mislead customers into believing that they’re cruelty-free.
The Truth About Avon Animal Testing Policy
“Avon was the first major cosmetic company to end animal testing nearly 25 years ago and we do not test on animals today.”
THE TRUTH: Avon theoretically may have stopped testing on animals 25 years ago, but they admit that they currently sell in countries that require animal testing by law. Although Avon may not be doing the testing themselves, but they’re authorizing and paying local officials to do it for them.
That to me, doesn’t sound like Avon has ended animal testing.
“Avon does not conduct nor request animal testing in order to substantiate the safety or efficacy of any of its products or raw ingredients. Our approach to safety evaluation utilizes extrapolations from existing data as well as from computational modeling, in vitro (test tube/cell culture) testing and clinical tests on human volunteers.”
THE TRUTH: This is textbook PR talk, they’re essentially trying to downplay the use of animal testing in their studies by substantiating their use of non-animal testing methods.
It all sounds great, but what they should be emphasizing more on is this sentence here, “in some countries, some products may be required by law to undergo additional safety testing, and this may include animal tests.”
Whether animals are used to test 100% or only 1% of their products, it’s still called animal testing.
“.. in some countries where we do business additional safety testing is sometimes required by law”
THE TRUTH: It’s annoying how Avon never comes out and just say that they sell in China. When asked which countries require animal testing, their response is that they don’t believe they’re “in a position to call out specific countries and governments.” Clearly, their loyalty is to the Chinese consumer market rather than the welfare of animals. It’s implied over and over in their policy that Avon does sell in China when they keep bringing up China’s animal testing laws.
“Avon, in partnership with other organizations, works to help advance government acceptance of alternative non-animal testing methods. But if a compromise cannot be reached, we must comply with the testing required by local law.. “
THE TRUTH: Avon is trying to demonstrate that they are working with government officials to end animal testing and want us to commend them on the great work that they’re claiming to do for animals. Whether this statement is true or not, it doesn’t justify their actions to test on animals. Just because someone (or a company) claims to be working towards resolving the issue, doesn’t mean it’s acceptable for them to carry on doing it.
It’s like saying, I hunt and kill wildlife animals but it’s OK because I also advocate and campaign for other animal welfare issues.
“..we also have a deep respect for animal welfare”
THE TRUTH: If Avon respects animal welfare issues, then they shouldn’t be conducting business in a manner that contradicts their values and that includes selling in countries that jeopardizes their animal testing policy. Avon chooses to sell in these countries because they are putting profits before animal welfare and that’s clearly not respectful to the animals.
I hope that by clearing up some of Avon’s statements will bring to light how companies put a lot of thought into carefully wording their animal testing policy to make it sound like they’re cruelty-free in the sense that they don’t do the testing themselves; they’re working with government officials to end animal testing; they only use non-animal testing methods; or that animal testing only happens in certain countries.
Using animals to test the safety of cosmetics and personal care products is NOT required in Canada and the U.S. and is merely a choice that cosmetic companies choose to support and sadly, Avon has made up their mind and shouldn’t be considered as a cruelty-free brand.