Very rarely do we ever hear a company just come out and say that they test on animals.
Although it would make our lives so much easier if companies just confessed to testing their products/ingredients on animals, but companies know that it’ll hurt their bottom line if customers knew what they were doing.
Most of the time, it feels like an uphill battle trying to figure out if a company is cruelty-free or not. It also doesn’t help when there are conflicting and confusing animal testing statements surfacing the interweb.
I want to mention 3 companies that have been scrutinized through the years as they claim they do not test on animals “except when required by law” but at the same time, they’re all also certified cruelty-free by PETA.
UPDATE (MAY 21, 2018): I’m happy to report that since the original publication of this post, Smashbox and Aveda have removed the disclaimer “except when required by law” from their animal testing statement and both brands are also still certified cruelty-free by PETA.
I’ve noticed many cruelty-free shoppers feel conflicted on whether to support these 3 companies or not and I respectfully understand why.
Let’s get into it!
Smashbox Animal Testing Statement
Smashbox is a cosmetic brand owned by Estee Lauder.
Estee Lauder is not a cruelty-free brand and admits to testing on animals.
Smashbox has assured us that none of their products are sold in mainland China where it is required by law to test on animals. However on Smashbox’s website, they state “We don’t test on animals, nor ask others to test on our behalf, except where required by law.”
UPDATE (MAY 21, 2018): Smashbox has removed the disclaimer “except when required by law” from their animal testing statement. Smashbox’s current statement reads “Is Smashbox Cruelty-Free? Yes! We live for lipstick and are serious about primers—but we also really care about animals. That’s why we are a cruelty free makeup brand. We test our products on human volunteers, not animals.”
Bath & Body Works’ Animal Testing Statement
Bath & Body Works is a popular American retail store mall brand.
On their website, they state “Bath & Body Works policy prohibits the testing of our branded products, formulations and ingredients on animals except in rare cases when required by government regulations.”
Bath & Body Works have also denied that they sell their products in mainland China.
EDITOR’S NOTE (MAY 21, 2018): Bath & Body Works still has the same animal testing statement.
Aveda’s Animal Testing Statement
Aveda is known for their spa and salon products. Aveda, like Smashbox, is owned by Estee Lauder (a company that does test on animals)
On Aveda’s website, they state “Aveda does not conduct animal testing, nor ask others to do it on its behalf, except when it is required by law. “
Aveda has also claimed that none of their products are available for sale in mainland China.
UPDATE (MAY 21, 2018): Aveda has removed the disclaimer “except when it is required by law” from their animal testing statement. It now says, “Do you perform testing on animals?
Aveda is a cruelty-free brand. We do not test on animals and never ask others to do so on our behalf. Our products are “people-tested.” Being a cruelty-free brand is an important part of our mission to care for the world we live in and for those we live with, and has been since our founding in 1978. To learn more, click here.”
Is it required by law to test on animals in US and Canada?
By now, you may have noticed a trend between these 3 animal testing statements. Despite PETA verifying that these companies do not test on animals, how is it possible that they can continue to state in their policy that they support, condone, and commission animal testing “when required by law.”
Currently in the US and Canada, there are no laws that require cosmetics to be tested on animals for consumer safety. But at the same time, it is also not banned in the US and Canada. Therefore it is ultimately up to the company to decide if they wish to use animal or non-animal testing methods.
“The FD&C Act does not specifically require the use of animals in testing cosmetics for safety, nor does the Act subject cosmetics to FDA premarket approval.” (Source: FDA)
When is it “required by law” to test on animals then?
According to Tashina at Logical Harmony, there are some rare instances where animal testing may be required by law:
- All imported cosmetics in mainland China are required by law to be tested on animals
- The FDA and EPA require animal testing on some chemicals used in household products and cosmetics
- In other cases that are not related to consumer safety (like worker health and environmental toxicity)
Despite some online articles and blogs claiming that Bath & Body Works, Aveda, and Smashbox are sold in mainland China, I have not received written confirmation from these brands that they do in fact sell in China. When I asked PETA about Smashbox, they have reassured me that Smashbox products are not sold in China.
So in what “rare cases” are they required by law to test on animals then?
All three companies have failed to respond to me with further clarifications on what they meant when they added the disclaimer “except when required by law” to their animal testing policy.
At this point, many ethical and caring consumers have personally decided to boycott Aveda, Smashbox, and Bath & Body Works despite that they’re PETA approved and because they believe these brands are supporting, condoning, or commissioning animal tests on their products/ingredients in some form or another.
How do you feel about these brands that claim they do not sell in mainland China and that they do not test on animals “except when required by law” but at the same time, they’re all PETA approved cruelty-free.
Do you choose to continue to support these brands?