We receive a number of requests from distribution companies in China looking for organic skin care. In fact a lovely Chinese lady who sells to health stores contacted me this week. I had to give her the same answer as the others – until China changes their animal testing laws, we aren't willing to sell Essential Care into China.
What’s going on? China stands out as the only major country worldwide that insists on cosmetics products being tested on animals. A European Union law on animal testing came into force in March this year which bans animal testing on all new cosmetics and their ingredients sold in the EU. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that what’s already on the shelves in Europe isn’t tested on animals. Major skin care brands that sell in China can get round this because they ‘have to’ test on animals to satisfy Chinese authorities.
Ricky Gervais brought a welcome shower of publicity to this last summer, hitting out at cosmetics companies that he claimed had abandoned their ethics in order to sell their products in markets such as China. Peter Dinklage has now joined the list of celebrities bringing awareness to the cause.
And an Australian consumer watchdog Choice has just conducted a report which illustrates that several popular cosmetic companies aren’t being honest with customers about their animal testing policies. Choice sent in mystery shoppers to approach cosmetics sales staff in Australia. It claimed sales people at the counters of brands like Dior, MAC and Lancôme were unaware of their brands’ policies on animal testing as well as current Chinese legislation on animal testing.
Quite a few natural and organic skin care brands are taking the same line as us with regard to selling in China. We don’t see why animals should ever have to suffer in the interest of consumer products, particularly as the testing might not yield the same results as in humans. We also think that cosmetics ingredients should never be potentially that unsafe that they can’t be tested on humans. And there are plenty of ways to test products in a laboratory on fake human skin.
Meanwhile millions of consumers in China aren't able to enjoy the benefits of good natural skin care because the best brands are staying away. The nice lady from China who contacted me this week said that the Chinese government will publish a new policy about imported personal care products soon. This new content is apparently mainly about animal testing in China, so let’s hope good sense prevails…