The class action, filed by LA firm Eagan Avenatti, alleges that the cosmetic companies “purposely defrauded consumers by falsely claiming that their products were ‘cruelty free’ while undertaking animal testing in order to sell their products in China and reap hundreds of millions of dollars in Chinese sales.”
“While it may make economic sense for a company to pursue sales in China, those sales should not occur at the expense of fundamental principles,” said Co-counsel Michael Avenatti of Eagan Avenatti.
“Avon, Estee Lauder and Mary Kay should have been open and honest with the American public and told the truth – that sales and profits were more important to them than refusing to conduct animal testing,” he added.
“If you advertise that you are not conducting animal testing, then you shouldn’t be conducting animal testing – it’s that simple,” said co-counsel Filippo Marchino of The X-Law Group.
The complaint seeks to certify a class of over 1,000,000 consumers and requests over $100,000,000 in punitive and compensatory damages.
'Chinese local laws require animal testing', say Avon & Mary Kay
On the matter, Mary Kay representatives told CosmeticsDesign.com USA, “It’s our policy not to comment on pending litigation, [however] We do not conduct animal testing on our products or ingredients, nor ask others to do so on our behalf, except when absolutely required by law.”
“There is only one country where we operate where we are required to submit our products for testing – China. We are working closely with the Chinese government to demonstrate that alternative testing methods ensure safe and effective products,” they added.
Likewise, Avon representative Jennifer Vargas informed CosmeticsDesign.com USA, “We do not comment on litigation as a matter of corporate practice, [however] Avon’s commitment not to test on animals is the same as it has been for over twenty years: except where required by local law.”
Further pointing out that “We have been transparent on the issue regarding our requirement to adhere to local laws in countries where we do business.”
Cosmetics Design also approached Estee Lauder representatives to find they were unavailable for comment.
PETA downgrades companies
Last month PETA announced that Estee Lauder, Avon and Mary Kay had been removed from the organization’s “cruelty free” list of companies that do not test on animals after it was discovered that the companies were performing animal testing.
PETA subsequently downgraded the companies and listed them on its list of companies that do conduct animal testing.