No animal lover wants to think that a rabbit, mouse or rat suffered so they can have a lipgloss or shampoo. So many of us try really hard to make sure to shop carefully, but companies are not always straight forward with their cruelty-free claims.

Misleading Wording

Some companies are claiming to be cruelty-free but test on animals in countries that require it by law. One such country is China. Although China has now banned testing on animals for cosmetic products manufactured within China, anything imported into mainland China must still be tested. For the most part, companies are well aware this goes on and pay for it to be conducted as part of their registration fees. Testing can be extensive – even a different color eyeshadow will have to be tested separately.


There is also the potential for random animal testing for products already on sale. This means that any product on sale in the Chinese market could at any time be animal-tested. Tests could involve gruesome, cruel, painful and distressing procedures such as chemicals put on the skin and eyes of rabbits and mice, and lethal dose tests where they are force fed substances.

So it’s clear – any company selling to the Chinese market cannot declare themselves cruelty-free.

Some brands, like Avon, claim other excuses such as “abandoning a market does not help bring about a solution.” But, adhering to the status quo and paying for animal testing certainly won’t bring about change. Indeed, if the Chinese government believed they might lose trade over the animal testing issue, it might force them to act.

No company that’s genuinely committed to cruelty-free has any business selling to the Chinese market until regulatory changes are made. Truly ethical companies should take a stand, as some well-known brands have done, and refuse to sell their products there until animal testing ends for good.


Watch Out For Claims Like These:

L’Oreal says: L’Oreal no longer tests on animals any of its products or any of its ingredients, anywhere in the world. Nor does L’Oreal delegate this task to others. An exception could only be made if regulatory authorities demanded it for safety or regulatory purposes.

AVON says:  Avon does not conduct nor request animal testing in order to substantiate the safety or efficacy of any of its products or raw ingredients. In some countries, some products may be required by law to undergo additional safety testing, and this may include animal tests.


Estee Lauder (makers of MAC, Clinique, Bobbi Brown and others) saysWe do not test our products or ingredients on animals, or ask others to test on our behalf, except where required by law.

In New Zealand, last year we succeeded in banning cosmetics tested on animals. However, products tested overseas can still be imported, so SAFE has our SAFEshopper cruelty free list. Internationally there are other great resources which have done the hard work for you to help make sure you’re truly shopping cruelty-free, such as Leaping Bunny and Choose Cruelty-Free in Australia.


Lead image source: Brent Moore/Flickr