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Urban Decay comes under fire as it moves into Chinese market

By Michelle Yeomans , 21-Jun-2012
Last updated on 21-Jun-2012 at 17:33 GMT

The brand well known in the US, UK, Canada, France, Italy, Spain, Singapore and the Middle East has come under fire due to its decision to move into the Chinese market, despite its conflicting animal testing policy.

The cosmetics giant recognised for its anti-animal testing policy anticipated the controversy and released a statement acknowledging they knew the move was not going to be a popular decision with some of its loyal customers. “But the decision is a thoughtful one.”

Currently, China’s policy on animal testing allows the government to conduct animal testing for cosmetic products before they are approved for use in the country. However, Urban Decay maintains that its dedication to the cause “will not waver.”

Do we like China’s policies? No. But, we believe that change cannot and will not happen by outside pressure alone in a closed market. Change can only happen from within. When we enter the Chinese market, we will do our part to help make those changes.”

While the government reserves the right to conduct animal testing before approving, the make-up brand says it has not been informed as to whether it has exercised this right with their products.

Our brand does not test on animals, but the Chinese government might conduct a one-time test using them.”

Deciding factor

In fact the global cosmetic player says hearing that animal issues don’t register with the average Chinese consumer is one of the biggest factors in its decision to go there.

During [our] infancy, we worked hard to inform consumers about animal rights in the US and Europe. The battleground for animal rights is now in China, we want to encourage a culture of consumers who care enough to buy cruelty-free products.”

Earlier this year, the European Coalition to End Animal Experiments (ECEAE) launched an initiative, jointly with the cosmetics industry, with the goal to gain acceptance in China for the well-established methods that are available as alternatives to animal tests.

All about profits?

On addressing whether the company is simply making the move for profit reasons,  the company spokesperson says; “We would eventually like to make money in China. If it were only about the money, we would wait a few years. But our foray into this market is also about participating in an amazing time of change in China."

Struck off

BUAV has just announced that the company is the latest to lose its ‘cruelty-free’ certified status after hearing about the move. Last year L’Occitane, Yves Rocher, Caudalie and MaryKay also had their certification withdrawn and are no longer licensed to carry the Leaping Bunny trademark.

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