The European cosmetics and personal care market was valued at 77.6 billion euros in retail sales in 2017, making it the largest in the world. This industry provides over 2 million jobs across Europe, but just how many animals are tortured or lose their lives in aid of it?
It is estimated that between 100,000 and 200,000 animals endure cruel testing procedures across the world each year, many of which die as a result.
I have always been an animal lover and believe in equality for all, no matter what species. In turn, one issue which has bothered me since my early adult years when I began to take an interest in cosmetics is the practice of testing such products on animals. What bothers me even more is the fact that consumers like myself, are being misled by many popular makeup brands regarding their stance on animal testing, who incorrectly state that they are ‘cruelty-free’. For example, Estee Lauder have said that they are “committed to the elimination of animal testing”, leading to the assumption that their products are cruelty-free when this is not the case.
Before we go any further, it is notable that the European Union has and continues to strive for the elimination of such animal testing and tries to find alternative methods in this regard. EU Directive 76/768EEC (Cosmetics Directive) which came into force in 2013 provided a testing ban and a marketing ban which makes it illegal to test a finished product or its ingredients on animals in the EU and also prohibits the marketing of such products. This may look like the complete elimination of any cosmetics within the EU which are not ‘cruelty-free’, but this is not the case. A brand may state that they are cruelty free but the reality is that if that brand retails in mainland China, then it cannot be considered cruelty free. Why is this you might ask, well it is simply because Chinese law mandates animal testing on all foreign cosmetics, so even if a brand does not test their products on animals within Europe, if they sell their products in mainland China, they are consenting to their products being tested on animals. Estee Lauder, as I’ve previously mentioned, do test their products on animals ‘where required by law’.
Unfortunately, this is not the only popular and successful cosmetic company who are associated with animal testing and many may be surprised to discover that their favourite brands are participating in this archaic and cruel practice.
NARS cosmetics has gained popularity in recent times and it is easy to see why; their products are of good quality and do exactly as they say on the tin, NARS has however joined the Chinese market and has in turn lost its status as a cruelty-free company. L’Oréal, MAC, Benefit, Maybelline, Rimmel London, Revlon, MaxFactor, Bobbi Brown and Bourjois, to name but a few, all retail in China and are therefore in the same position as NARS.
All hope is not lost however, as there is an equally long list of cosmetic companies who do not test their products or their ingredients on animals and do not retail in mainland China; NYX, Stila, Marc Jacobs Beauty, Urban Decay, Smashbox, GOSH, Wet n Wild and E.L.F Cosmetics are all cruelty-free companies which provide top-quality cosmetics while not hurting our furry friends!
With so much conflicting information and misleading statements, it can be difficult for consumers to recognise which cosmetics test on animals or pay for such testing and those who do not. A great way of finding out exactly which brands are cruelty-free is by downloading the free app ‘Bunny Free’ which allows you to search for companies by name and tells you whether or not they test on animals. PETA2 also have a free app via which you can keep up to date with animal rights issues and find out ways you can help.
With a more environmentally conscious, human-rights aware and conscious decision making society living in our world today, it is fair to say that animal rights is becoming an important issue and with more and more cosmetic companies becoming PETA certified and 100% Vegan, we can hope for a brighter future for our animal friends where they are no longer exposed to degrading and cruel practices.