Urban Decay was one of the first makeup companies to put animal testing on our radar, labeling each and every product with a disclaimer: "We don't do animal testing. How could anyone?"
It turns out China can -- and it's stirring up trouble for the California-based beauty brand. Urban Decay announced last week that it will be selling its products in China, where animal testing for cosmetics is actually required. Other international beauty companies have done the same, rendering previously cruelty-free brands like Estee Lauder, Mary Kay, Yves Rocher, L'Occitane and Caudalie "non-cruelty free" in the eyes of activists. (Master lists of such companies can be found online.)
In a June 6 Facebook post, Urban Decay validated the concerns of its fans and attempted to clarify what will be changing:
We do want to address one FAQ: No, Urban Decay will not test on animals in China. However, the Chinese government may conduct a test using our products before they can be sold there. We absolutely realize that for many of you, it makes no difference who is doing the testing. But, animal rights are still very much important to Urban Decay, and our decision was a thoughtful one.
Urban Decay will also be hosting a live web chat with founding partner Wende Zomnir in about two weeks to discuss the matter with customers.
But Urban Decay's efforts have not mollified groups like PETA, which published a response titled "Urban Decay's Decaying Principles" on its website. A Change.org petition expressing similar sentiments, "Urban Decay: Refuse Animal Testing in China," currently boasts 5,986 signatures.
Alternative methods to animal testing are used elsewhere in the world and Urban Decay has stated that it "will give our all to help advocate alternative methods" in China. Yet until China incorporates these new methods into its testing regulations, companies like Urban Decay will have to decide: expand into China's lucrative beauty market or stick with their cruelty-free principles?
Beauty meets animal rights in these PETA campaigns: