By Michelle Sherrow
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.