Trying to figure out whether a brand is cruelty-free is not always easy and Weleda’s animal testing policy is definitely not an easy one to crack!
When you read Weleda’s animal testing policy, it all sounds peachy and clear that the company is against animal testing. However there have been rumours of Weleda selling their products in mainland China where animal testing is required by law. The response I got from Weleda addressing the sale of their products in China is unlike anything I’ve heard before.
Short Version: Yes, Weleda products are sold in mainland China. Are they cruelty-free? It’s a matter of your own personal judgement.
But here are the facts.
Weleda’s Animal Testing Policy (US Website)
On Weleda’s US website, it states how “Weleda currently does not carry out any animal testing in the manufacture, development or quality control of its natural and organic cosmetics, nor does it commission such testing. The company is fundamentally opposed to the use of animal testing”
In their US policy, it doesn’t say anything about selling in other countries or whether or not they sell in countries that may require animal testing, I’m specifically looking for answers about selling in mainland China.
Weleda’s Animal Testing Policy (2015)
To address the rumours about Weleda selling in mainland China, I reached out to them and they responded with a statement confirming YES, some of Weleda products are sold in mainland China through an online shop and in regular shops.
Here is a snippet of their statement which was dated on May 22nd, 2015:
In Mainland China, cosmetics sold online through shops located within free trade zones in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Ningbo and Tianjin do not require registration involving animal tests, and the same applies to cosmetics delivered from Hong Kong. For this reason, Weleda is able to sell an assortment of its natural and organic cosmetics through a Chinese partner and a local online shop without compromising its position in regard to animal testing. Our local partner also runs the website www.weleda.com.cn.
In addition, there are still cosmetics for which registration involving animal tests is not required for sale in regular shops outside these zones, such as soaps and dental care products. Weleda sells a small assortment of these products through its local partner.
As of today, some of Weleda products are still available for sale in mainland China and those products include:
- Calendula Toothpaste
- Children’s Toothgel
- Plant Toothgel
- Ratanhia Toothpaste
- Ratanhia Mouthwash
- Salt Toothpaste
- Calendula Soap
- Iris Soap
- Rose Soap
- Rosemary Soap
So… Is Weleda Cruelty-Free or Not?
What we know for sure is that some of Weleda products are sold in mainland China and the company claims that none of these products are required by law to be tested on animals, as per Chinese laws.
However, this article says otherwise and states “a company cannot provide a 100% assurance of no new animal testing for the Chinese market. New animal testing can still be required or undertaken for new ingredient notification, and/or post-market surveillance by provincial [Food and Drug Administrations] or related authorities, who will conduct sampling inspection including animal testing randomly, no matter [whether] the submitted data is animal test reports or safety assessment reports.”
What does that mean for the “small assortment” of Weleda products that are sold in mainland China? According to the statement above, those products can still be required to be tested on animals and often done without the company’s knowledge. The fact that authorities can just randomly pick a product off the store shelf and test it on animals, without even telling the company is beyond shady to me.
Can we believe Weleda?
Here is what worries me about Weleda.
Weleda is not certified cruelty-free by a third party (like Leaping Bunny or PETA), so there is no one else looking into or substantiating their anti-animal testing claims.
Therefore, the answer of whether or not Weleda is cruelty-free really boils down to your personal judgement and if you personally want to take Weleda’s word and believe what they’re saying is true.
Maybe the fact that they are not certified cruelty-free by Leaping Bunny or PETA is suspicious to you and that is enough of a reason to not buy from them. Or maybe you appreciate their honesty and really do believe that they are doing everything in their power to making sure none of their products that are sold in China are tested on animals.
The only people who know the truth on whether or not the small assortment of Weleda products that are sold in mainland China are tested on animals or not –are the Chinese authorities who are administering such tests. Sadly, I’m pretty sure they’re not available for comment.
So what do you think? Do you trust and believe that the small number of products Weleda is selling in mainland China are not required to be tested on animals?