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Avon, Mary Kay, Estée Lauder Resume Animal Tests

Written by Michelle Kretzer | February 16, 2012

After two decades of touting their “no animal testing” policies, Avon, Estée Lauder, and Mary Kay have quietly resumed paying for cruel tests on animals—without letting consumers know about this stunning about-face. After confirming with each company that chemicals are being dripped into rabbits’ eyes and that substances are being rubbed onto animals’ skin because of requirements of the Chinese government in order to market products in that country, PETA has downgraded the companies to our “do test” list.

All three companies were among the first large international cosmetics manufacturers to ban all tests on animals after being targeted by PETA. Avon was the first in 1989, following PETA’s “Avon Killing” campaign, a play on the company’s then-slogan “Avon Calling.” Mary Kay came next, after being publicly lampooned by cartoonist Berkeley Breathed in a series called The Night of the Mary Kay Commandos in his hilarious Bloom County comic strip. Estée Lauder soon followed suit.

For each test required by the Chinese government, superior non-animal methods are available. Mary Kay had taken steps to work with Chinese officials on the acceptance of these tests, but Avon and Estée Lauder seem to have agreed to the tests without objection. PETA has jump-started the effort for non-animal test validation by awarding a grant to the Institute for In Vitro Sciences, which is working with scientists and regulatory bodies to replace animal tests in China.

Please let Avon, Estée Lauder, and Mary Kay know that you won’t buy their products until they are 100 percent cruelty-free once again. Fortunately for animals, you can still choose from more than 1,000 companies in PETA’s online searchable database of cosmetics and personal-care companies that don’t harm animals at home or abroad.

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  • Trudi Bubb says:

    I am so glad that I work alongside Forever Living Products who do not test on animals for any of their products, in fact, the products assist animals in their health and wellbeing. I am shocked at the video and in this day and age surely it is time for these companies to find an alternative which is to not test on animals! If other skin care companies dont do it why to they? Shame on you Avon, Mary Kay and Estee Lauder!

  • Chantal says:

    @ Maria Marsala– That is the biggest CROCK I have ever read. If Avon wanted to help change the laws..Then they should go about it differently. Selling Avon products in China or elsewhere–as a means to help change laws..?? That Avon can’t break the law?? That’s ludicrous. This is all about a PROFIT..This has nothing to do with helping laws. What makes you think they the Chinese government care what other governments think? They NEVER have. You know as well as I do, they do AN-Y-THING to turn a buck. Eat Dogs, Cats, Use LEAD in baby toys..harmful ingredients in animal food. AND knowing each one of their intended actions will eventually take its toll…Oh sorry about kitty..oh sorry,little Tommy can’t take lead..? It’s nothing for them to kill and torture animals..They mean nothing..It’s an end to their means. A-VON will NEVER change that.

  • Robert says:

    @Maria – the thing is, people will still buy – just from *another* USA-based company. So crying loss of jobs/GDP/etc in the USA is nothing buy whining. The fact is, if AVON can’t uphold the same principles that other companies do, then people will support and grow the companies that do, and people leaving AVON will be able to get jobs at those firms. Just like I’ll never buy another Chrysler or GM product due to the bailouts I did not support, but will buy a Ford. I’m so sick of everyone rolling over on their morals for the Chinese/Indian markets. Sure they are huge, but they exercise extremely protective controls on imported products that they don’t require for their domestic production which I find hypocritical. Last I checked, 2/3 of the world is not from those countries, and in fact most Chinese and Indians cannot afford these products anyway as they are living below poverty level.

  • Chantal says:

    I think this has everything to do with BB creams..In Asian markets they are incredibly popular.. For them to sell it up to China’s standards..and be popular..all the same..Basically..a quick buck..You watch..once the hype dies down..They’ll go back to non animal methods..By then..though..[If I’m right]…it’ll be too late..for many consumers.

  • Marie L. says:

    I have plenty of Estee Lauder make up, now with this i shall turn my sight to another brand; what really upsets me is that they don’t even told us; and we bought from them because they were against testing on animals! I cannot throw away all the products because it took me months and years to buy some of them, but i am defnitely no buying again from them, Even if they support PETA again; our trust was betrayed.

  • Jelena says:

    I’m from Hungary, and last month when I saw in a video about animal testing the logo of Solutions (Avon), amd i found this article (post?), I also stopped my Avon career. My manager didn’t believe me, because there are a lot of positive list on the web with Avon… But It’s her problem… (Sorry for my English, i have to practise:)

  • Morgan says:

    I am beyond horrified at this shocking news. I have written to all the companies in question and their affiliated brands. I keep getting the same pathetic response – “except when absolutely required by law.” and “Our commitment to the elimination of animal testing has never changed or wavered.” They forgot.. “except when it means a $$$ profit, then we couldn’t give a toss, let the bunnies burn.” Google Estee Lauder alone and see how many “cruelty-free” companies are on their list. If you allow your parent company to condone animal testing then you are JUST as culpable. Grow a pair! Do the right thing and withdraw from China till they change their laws. I have boycotted the lot of them for life! I am livid. I will never ever trust any of them again. Game over. Thank you PETA for bringing us the truth, though it hurts.. a lot. I’m so so sorry to all the bunnies I helped hurt, I didn’t know, I thought I was making good and honest choices. Forgive me.

  • Boo says:

    I am beyond horrified and have written to all the companies in question and their affiliated brands. I keep getting the same pathetic response – “except when absolutely required by law.” and “Our commitment to the elimination of animal testing has never changed or wavered.” They forgot.. “except when it means a $$$ profit, then we couldn’t give a toss, let the bunnies burn.” Google Estee Lauder alone and see how many “cruelty-free” companies are on their list. If you allow your parent company to condone animal testing then you are JUST as culpable. I have boycotted the lot of them for life! I am livid. I will never ever trust any of them again. Thank you PETA for bringing us the truth, though it hurts.. a lot. I’m so so sorry to all the bunnies I helped hurt, I didn’t know, I thought I was making good and honest choices. Forgive me.

  • Zoe says:

    I just noticed that the Nature’s Gate has also started to sell their products officially in China. Does that mean that the Chinese government has already allowed non-animal tests in cosmetics importation?

  • Linda Robinson says:

    There’s no reason in the world for these companies to continue Animal Testing. Go to Living Nature website, all products Made from New Zealand 100% natural!!

  • Ashley says:

    I used to be an Avon rep and when I emailed my manager to tell her politely that I wanted to leave and why I was sent nasty email saying that she was offended that I wanted to quit Avon because of the animal testing, that Avon has actually worked with PETA and that if I quit Avon I would actually be killing animals because they will have less money to fight the animal testing laws in court. She actually had the nerve to say “the more you sell the more money goes to helping animals.” Why should China change it’s laws on animal testing if everyone just goes alone with it because they want the extra market. If Avon is against animal testing they should stay out of countries that require it, end of story. Thousands of animals are suffering and dying right now because of Avon’s decision to sell in China. If Avon really cared about animals and wanted to take a stand it would stop having half of it’s junk made there as well.

  • Maria Marsala says:

    “but Avon and Estée Lauder seem to have agreed to the tests without objection” Actually that statement is not true and a PETA reporter should update their information. Avon always attempts to persuade the requesting authority to accept non-animal test data. When those attempts are unsuccessful, Avon cannot break the law and therefore must submit the products requested. I think that it’s better that AVON gets into the country and helps them change the laws. Or else the laws will never be changed. In fact, why doesn’t Peta do something to get the law changed in China? Boycotting USA companies and destroying the livelihood of millions of women won’t help the Chinese change laws! Often, the all or nothing thinking of others, really is a detriment to USA based companies. As is not reporting all there is to report on the subject. Peta and others should be working together to get the laws changed. And not trying to harm a company who does its best to “do the right thing” – according to the law.

  • ashley says:

    I buy Alterra, here in Europe.

  • ashley says:

    Boycott Avon, Mary Kay and Estee Lauderas long they are tested on animals!!

  • Cindy says:

    I am so thankful that these type of articles and videos are being published, as so much has been hidden. I am more thankful that I had the opportunity to learn about ARBONNE Swift premium skin care, Health and Wellness products. Pure, Safe, beneficial products. Vegan ceritfied.

  • KellyC says:

    Am very proud to work for The Body Shop at Home due to it’s values and am disgusted at the other companies who are allowing this to happen! Withdraw from China if thats what it takes!!!

  • stephanie halford boudreau says:

    no way i’m gonna by those products after what i learned

  • Myra Moir says:

    I am so glad to represent wonderful Apriori Beauty. A company that will NEVER test on animals or use any harmful ingredients in their skincare, cosmetics and health products. Shame on these companies that do!

  • Jennie crabtree says:

    Just emptied my house of all avon products…have posted all over facebook DISGUSTED isnt even close to how i feel…awful beyond belief…would rather walk around with no make up on!!

  • Debra says:

    I am angry that Mary Kay has reverted back to animal testing. I have written a letter to thier company requesting a refund for every product I have of theirs because of this. I will post a followup to the response I get from them.

  • Jeri says:

    This video is so terrible. I am soooooo glad to represent a cosmetic line SeneGence for 13 years that does no animal testing, has no animal-by products, is cruelty free, and is LEAD free! Oh and did I mention is good for your skin too and stays on all day!?

  • Maria Foster says:

    To think i wanted to work for Esee Lauder as i admired the heritage and what the company stood for…NOT ANY MORE ! SHAME ON YOU….I am so happy that ARBONNE Came into my life, and i can honestly say that these are vegan approved and have had a vegan certification since day one..The founder Petter Mork from day one delivered Pure, Safe, beneficial products coupled with an amazing business opportunity….Scientifically advanced and results driven swiss premium formulations that tick all the boxes..

  • Kel says:

    Just one more reason to be proud that I share MADE IN THE USA, Cruetly-Free products like LipSense made by SeneGence. I’m so happy we have organizations like you to look out for the innocents. Keep up the good work!

  • gmm says:

    This has killed any thoughts I had about using any of the products from these companies ever again.Avon also owns Silpada (sp?) jewelry. Here is the list of their board of directors in case you want to boycott the products of their respective companies (ConAgra, anyone?): Here’s the link to Estee Lauder’s board member list (i didn’t realize Clinique was affiliated w/ Estee Lauder):

  • Leslie Bonnick says:

    I’m pleased to say Forever Living Products do not and never have tested there products on animals. They produce wonderful cosmetics, personal care products and nutritional drinks and supplements. They are the world leaders in aloe vera products. Have a look at

  • PatB says:

    Can’t they keep their cruelty-free testing and just market the products to the Chinese AFTER they have been released for a period of time here in the US? Then they would have been field-tested extensively on the most appropriate animals of all: Human consumers!

  • Sue says:

    The SAFE COSMETICS ACT requires Animal Testing BY LAW – if passed, every US company will be out of compliance with the European Cosmetics Directive, which explicitly prohibits the testing of cosmetics on animals. Tell the companies that support the CAMPAIGN FOr SAFE COSMETICS – you’ll BOYCOTT the Champions and Innovators unless they speak out against the Safe Cosmetics Act (H.R. 2359)!

  • lisa says:

    Just read this article and im gutted to find this out about Avon i thought at last id found a Company i could trust myself and daughter have been a customer for months we dont have a big selection here in the UK and trusted Avon, ihad recently put a new order in i have now cancelled it, feel very let down and betrayed. Do’s anyone know of any Companies here in the UK we can actually trust??

  • Deana says:

    It is truly Unscientific to test on animals and absolutely should not be allowed, period! This is why I love Arbonne! I have been a consultant for Arbonne the past two years and it makes me sick when I see consumers spending all their money on unhealthy products that allow cruelty towards animals! Arbonne personal care and nutrition products are vegan-certified: Our formulas are never tested on animals and do not contain animal-derived ingredients or animal by-products.* We firmly believe that consumers have a fundamental right to know every ingredient in our products and we will continue to offer full disclosure through our published materials.

  • Lisanne Zimmermann says:

    I recently an Arbonne consultant, due in large part to the unwavering ethics of the company. No animal by-products, no animal testing, and absolute top-quality formulas. They’ve proved we don’t NEED animal testing to have superior quality products…so, China, what DO we need it for??? (oh. wait. WE DON’T.)

  • Yahrasiel says:

    And this is why I sell BeautiControl! Have you guys checked out the lead list!!!?

  • Toni says:

    I don’t use cosmetics because WE are the animals companies are testing on. I don’t want parabens and phthlates on my skin. Thanks!

  • Heather F. says:

    I have to say I LOVE, LOVE my BeautiControl!! NEVER TESTED ON ANIMALS!! Beautiful Skin! Beautiful Life!

  • Liz says:

    I am so happy to know that BeautiControl does not test on animals. This is my favorite product in the world!! This is so sad to see this. I would never have expected this from these companies.

  • crunchycon says:

    I know that Lauder owns a bunch of companies; does this policy of testing include all the Lauder companies including EL?

  • WendyC says:

    I’m an Avon representative and I just emailed my district manager to inform her that I will no longer be selling their products. I’m very disgusted that they would take this course of action after being cruelty-free for so many years.

  • Ela says:

    Shame on You!

  • Raya says:

    Last time I’m using Avon or Estee Lauder! This makes me sick! Especially when there are non animal methods avaliable!

  • Alicia Hunter says:

    Never mind the companies…. what is wrong with the people/scientists that are able to do this hands on testing, are they sick and twisted? Those are the people we should hate, the people that are willing to do this. If the scientists refused to do the testing the company owners would be forced to do it another way!!! Lets stop the people who are doing this. keep your hands off of there animals you sickos.

  • luiza says:

    jestem bardzo rozczarowana ,jestem wegetarianką od 24 lat i od roku sprzedawałam Avon od dziś absolutnie Nie!

  • Naomi says:

    What a thing of the past. Yep, gotta love Arbonne! Love u Arbonne 🙂 Thanks for staying ethical and true to the consumer since Day 1!!!

  • Ann says:

    I’ve been using Avon and Estee Lauder because they were on the cruelty free list, but I’m done. This is disgusting. And my opinion of China is going lower and lower – its a shame our politicians have gotten us so far into debt with China that it practically owns us. And for these companies to meekly agree to resume cruel practices – despicable.

  • Nicole says:

    I sell Arbonne and am proud to say that this company is completely VEGAN free, no testing on animals and no animal products or by-products in our products! It is disturbing to hear what other companies put in their products. And while Arbonne is formulated in Europe, all products are MADE IN THE USA!

  • Lisa C says:

    I’m so disappointed in hearing this information. I sell Arbonne and one of the reasons was because it has never in the 31 years of operation ever tested on an animal. If a company is testing for benefits then there is never a need to test on an animal. Poor things! If you want to switch to a product line that you will never have to worry about give Arbonne a try. Give me a shout if you want to know how

  • Linda carman says:

    I am appalled.– I will never purchase Estée Lauder, Mary Kay or Avon products again.

  • Serinne says:

    Would like to thank you so much for bringing this to our attention, I only used Avon am glad to say if you go to their facebook page there is lots of people disappointed and swearing not to use Avon again, this has gone viral thanks to you. I shall no longer purchase anything from Avon which is a shame because I did love some of their products but animals deserve more, so have saved myself some money.

  • Sharon says:

    This is so sad. I’m so proud to be part of the Shaklee Corporation who never has, nor ever will test on animals. Every product that goes into every Shaklee bottle is designed to improve health, work without compromise, and be gentle on the planet. 100% Guaranteed!

  • Jessica Crowe says:

    That is one of the many reasons why I LOVE ARBONNE’S amazing products & why I am a consultant!!!

  • frances bell says:

    any one who has these products in their homes should return them to where ever they bought them and demand their money back.

  • Stella says:

    This is absolutely unethical and should NOT be allowed to happen. This is one reason why I use and market ARBONNE ultra premium products – they have NEVER tested on animals and the products don’t contain any animal by products.