Actor and comedian Ricky Gervais has used his public status to criticise cosmetics companies involved in animal testing, accusing them of abandoning ethics in order to sell products in China.
Animal testing is not completely outlawed in countries such as the United States, China and Brazil, either because the regulatory authorities require it, or because the companies still feel they need to do some testing.
Speaking as part of the Humane Society International’s Be Cruelty-Free campaign, The Office star slammed the situation in China as he believes companies are abandoning cruelty-free methods in search for profit.
“China's cosmetics market is worth billions of dollars and virtually every major global cosmetic company is getting a piece of the action,” he said.
“It remains one of the few countries in the world to insist on animal testing, so companies manufacturing there have made the very clear choice to test lipsticks and shampoo on animals to increase their profit margins.”
Setting the standard
Cosmetics maker Urban Decay, earlier this month, made the decision to back out of its plan to sell its products in China until animal testing alternatives are in place , having previously announced it was going to enter the market despite acknowledging that it was not going to be a popular decision with some of its loyal customers.
On revealing its plan, the brand came under fire primarily due to its conflicting animal testing policy, and Sue Leary of the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics' (CCIC), Leaping Bunny Program stated that feedback from consumers is what swayed the company’s decision to back out.
Urban Decay explained that: “While several factors were important in reaching this decision, ultimately we did not feel we could comply with current regulations in China and remain true to our core principles.”
In his statement Gervais praised the global cosmetics brand for taking this decision stating it had sent a very powerful message to the rest of the industry.
Non-animal testing methods on the way?
Chinese officials are in the final stages of approving the use of its very first non-animal test method for cosmetic ingredients, but this is yet to be put into practice.
“Real progress is being made with getting advanced non-animal test methods accepted, and I’m sure that before too long, China will be a world leader in humane alternative techniques,” continued Gervais.
“But it’s no coincidence that this new energy towards alternatives has happened under the spotlight of consumer criticism.”