Many of you probably wonder if cruelty-free products made in China undergo animal testing.
China requires skincare and cosmetic companies to submit to compulsory animal testing in government labs before approving products for sale in the country. These regulations mean either allowing animal testing, or losing access to a market worth $29 billion, according to Euromonitor.
According to Troy Seidle, Director of Research and Toxicology at Humane Society International, China’s Food and Drug Administration requires all imported cosmetics, new cosmetic ingredients, and “special-use” cosmetics such as hair dyes, deodorants and sunscreens, to undergo animal testing before being sold. Companies are required to submit finished product samples to the government for testing in a CFDA-recognized laboratory. Once approved for sale, provincial authorities also conduct post-market inspections of cosmetic products, which can include a further layer of animal testing.
Humane Society International estimates that as many as 500,000 animals are still being used each year around the world in cruel and outdated tests for cosmetic ingredients and products, animals who are then killed after a test.
What types of products require mandatory animal testing?
- Nail Products
- Hair Products
- Hair Dye
- Whitening Products
However, not all Chinese companies agree with such policy. JOMEYO, Diversity & Globalization of E-commerce Enterprise company became a core driving force of China Cross-Border E-commerce Ecosystem to help Brands open China market quickly and enhance brand visibility.
“Animal experiments are cruel, unreliable, and even dangerous “, said Frank Huang, CEO of Jomeyo . “As we know, there are many countries which support against animal testing. Nowadays, Chinese government are trying to implement some policies to replace animal testing. This is a good news for our import companies. As animal testing is like a trade barrier which blocked foreign companies outside China. We firmly support Cruelty free and against the use of animals as research tools”.
PETA has been working with the Chinese government to embrace non-animal cosmetics testing methods. Last year, the Chinese government signed a new memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the nonprofit Institute for In Vitro Sciences, Inc. (IIVS)—which helps industry and governments internationally accept innovative non-animal tests—to continue and expand this work in China.
Based on undercover investigation, cosmetics testing in China involves horrors like the archaic and painful eye irritant test—in which substances are dripped into rabbits’ eyes, causing redness, swelling, discharge, ulceration, hemorrhaging, cloudiness, and even blindness.
Does this mean that Cruelty Free products sold in China have to meet the same requirements?
Absolutely not! Many well-known brands found almost anywhere such as Wet N Wild are made in China but are not tested on animals. Only products being imported to the country require animal testing.
A way to identify whether a product is actually cruelty free is by looking for a Leaping Bunny logo. Also, certain animal groups have begun to provide “cruelty-free” endorsements for Chinese companies.
Major foreign brands like L’Oreal, Estee Lauder, Shiseido, and Proctor & Gamble undergo animal testing for their products to be sold in China.
In recent years some companies with long histories of not testing on animals have agreed to have their products tested on animals in order to sell them in China. Such companies include Estee Lauder, Avon, Mary Kay, and L’Occitane. In 2012 Urban Decay, known for its motto “We don’t do animal testing. How could anyone?” made a decision to begin selling its products in China. However, they later reversed the decision after controversy from existing customers.
Two Faced sold the company to Estee Lauder who continue to sell their products in China. According to PETA:
Too Faced remains committed to its cruelty-free founding principles under Estée Lauder’s ownership. Additionally, the company has pledged not to enter any market, such as China, where animal testing is required for cosmetics.
When parent companies see that more cruelty free cosmetics are popular, it may lead to a decision to reject animal testing permanently.
Companies, like LUSH have refused to sell their products in China because of the law that China requires to have their products be tested on animals. LUSH only tests on human volunteers when developing a new product.
At Lush, cruelty-free means only using vegetarian ingredients and adhering to a strict anti-animal testing policy. We never test our finished products on animals and won’t buy ingredients from suppliers who conduct or commission animal tests either. In this way, we’re using our buying power to support like-minded suppliers which results in fabulous cruelty-free cosmetics.
The European Union began banning the testing of cosmetic products on animals in 2003.
The Cosmetics Directive provides the regulatory framework for the phasing out of animal testing for cosmetics purposes.
Specifically, it establishes:
- Testing ban – prohibition to test finished cosmetic products and cosmetic ingredients on animals;
- Marketing ban – prohibition to market finished cosmetic products and ingredients in the EU which were tested on animals.
The same provisions are contained in the Cosmetics Regulation, which replaced the Cosmetics Directive as of 11 July 2013.
Let’s only hope China will decide to join in permanently making the right decision to end animal testing for good.