In this blog post I want to clear up a few myths. Animal testing is something I get asked about a lot, and there seems to be a lot of misinformation out there on social media regarding Avon as a company, and its products. So here is an important fact:
Neither has any ingredient in that product. It would be illegal under both UK and EU law for any company to sell a cosmetic product that has been tested using animals. From 11 March 2009, the EU banned the testing on animals, within the EU, of cosmetic ingredients. It had already banned the testing on animals in the EU of cosmetic products. In addition, from 11 March 2013, the EU completed the ban on the sale within the EU of cosmetics animal-tested anywhere in the world. The ban applies to both cosmetics products and ingredients.
So you can rest assured that any Avon product you buy in the UK, or anywhere else in the EU, has never been near an animal testing facility anywhere in the world.
In addition to this, did you know that Avon was among the very first companies to commit to eradicating animal testing:
In June 1989 Avon announced a permanent end to animal testing of our products. Avon was the first major cosmetic company in the world to end animal testing. For more than 25 years Avon has substantiated the safety of its products without animal testing.
So why all these rumours about Avon and animal testing?
Avon is a worldwide organisation, with individual companies operating in specific countries under the Avon umbrella. (Indeed every single representative is a micro-business of their own!) Avon therefore operates and employs a workforce in many countries and cultures that have different opinions to our own, different views on product development or the use of animal testing.
China, for example, does not regard animals in the same emotive way as many Western cultures do, and does use animal testing for a number of different products - not just cosmetics. Because Avon sells products in China, although it has its own in-vitro non-animal testing procedures and laboratories, there are a few specific products that Avon provides in China that the Chinese government insist must be tested by their own facilities before sale, and that may include animal testing.
Avon, in partnership with other companies, through negotiation with successive Chinese governments, has managed over time to drastically reduce the number of products requiring these tests, so makeup and most skincare products do not require this testing any longer, but certain skin-whiteners, hair dyes etc do (there is a full list in Avon's official statement linked below).
So why doesn't Avon just pull out of China?
Believe me, there are days when I wish they would. But I can see their point. By remaining within the Chinese market they can change it from within, using their vast selling power and customer demand as a lever to encourage the Chinese government to end testing completely. As I said previously, they have had great success in reducing the volume of testing required. It will take time. But if they stopped trading in China in protest, the gap would soon be filled with less environmentally/animal-friendly producers and may well result in an increase in testing and possibly less regulation of those tests.
It is far easier to change a system from within than by standing on the sidelines shouting. China is a massive market - the largest in the world - and it would be far better to work with the Chinese consumer to educate them on the benefits of non-animal testing, to encourage an anti-testing movement from within the country itself. This view is also upheld by other organisations that operate in the Chinese market, not only those many companies that sell cosmetics, but also for those producing household cleaners, laundry powders etc, who are all bound by the same government policies. There are many many such companies, but unfortunately certain animal rights organisations seem to focus entirely on Avon because of their stated stance to permanently end animal testing all that way back in 1989.
Here is Avon's official statement on animal testing and animal welfare, which includes a Q&A section: http://www.avoncompany.com/corporate-responsibility/about-cr/positions-p...