I don't normally post about things like this on my blog as I like to keep my blog a happy place, free of controversy. However, after hearing about this a couple of days ago I was annoyed, as it involves one of my favourite make-up brands.
Before I start, I will be the first to admit that although I do not condone animal testing in any way, I am not as precarious in making sure that I only use products from cruelty-free companies as I should be. However, I highly respect the companies who sell themselves as strictly cruelty-free and show that testing on animals is unnecessary, and Urban Decay has stood out to me as one of these companies and has been my favourite high-end make-up brand for its eye shadows and primer potion for the past four or five years. A few days ago, Urban Decay announced that they are expanding their market in to China, where the policies on animal testing are not as strict. This has resulted in the brand being de-listed by Leaping Bunny. Read Urban Decay's full statement here.
"For 16 years, we have been committed to two key causes: women’s rights, and the fight against animal testing. Our dedication to those causes will not waver".
Right, I can't help but think that Urban Decay are contradicting themselves from the get-go here. By allowing their products to be sold in China they are also allowing for their products to be tested on animals. They state themselves that “the Chinese government reserves the right to conduct animal testing with cosmetic products before the products are approved for use by Chinese citizens”. They argue that the brand themselves are not testing on animals, but Chinese government might. Does this make the situation any better that they should be let off?
“If we don’t go to China, other companies without our beliefs will, and the culture will never change. We want to encourage a culture of consumers who care enough to buy cruelty-free product”.
“Our foray into this market is also about participating in an amazing time of change in China. We don’t like animal testing (and neither do the 13 dogs in our office), but we are trying to change the world… even if it is one eye shadow at a time!”
What? Oh, Urban Decay, you as a company alone are not going to change the cultures and policies regarding animal rights in China, especially as a company that will be mostly or entirely new and unheard of to the Chinese population.
"Yes, we are a for-profit company. And yes, we would eventually like to make money in China. But we don’t stand to turn a profit in China for quite a while, partially because the market isn’t quite ready to sustain an untraditional brand like ours. If it were only about the money, we would wait a few years".
Hm. Then why not expand to other countries such as Australia and New Zealand instead, where the brand is more heard of and the rights of animals is more widely supported instead of a country that “isn't quite ready to sustain an untraditional brand”. Are you sure that it has nothing to do with the 1.3 billion population that China has?
I hope that Urban Decay sees sense and decides not to expand their market to China, although regardless, this statement has marred the trust I previously had for the brand. Like I said at the beginning of this post, I am not trying to make out as though I am a strictly cruelty-free consumer myself, and I raise my hand to not doing much research on the matter before I go out and purchase products, but none-the-less I feel more disappointed that Urban Decay are turning their backs on what they stood for in the first place. I feel that they are essentially harming the relationship they have with their current customers, especially those who are vegetarian and vegan who may have looked up to them for being a cruelty-free brand, in order to spread themselves across to a highly populated country where the chances of making a profit are high. Please stand up to your cruelty-free status, Urban Decay!
How do you feel about Urban Decay's decision to expand to China?