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Beauty companies remove ethical testing ‘Leaping Bunny’ logo to take advantage of Chinese demand
In Europe consumer demand, as well as law changes, has seen many companies move away from animal testing on cosmetics products. In the UK, animal testing has been banned since 1998, and an EU ban on the marketing of animal-tested cosmetics is due to roll out next year.
However, the Humane Society International (HIS) says that cosmetics company L’Occitane joins French companies Yves Rocher and Caudalie, and American company Mary Kay in being stripped of the internationally recognized Humane Standards certification, an official signifier of ethical and cruelty-free testing practices symbolized by the Leaping Bunny logo. This is a result of the companies’ wishes to break into the fast-growing Chinese cosmetics market, representing 700 million women, which grew by 18% to £10bn (approximately £16bn) in 2011. China’s emerging middle classes, where yearly disposable income for urban households has shot from CNY1,701 (approximately $263.5) in 1991 to CNY17,175 (approximately $2,661), represent a significant potential for growth in this region. Currently, Chinese law requires animal testing on mascara, foundation, and other cosmetics products in order to be deemed as “safe” for human use.
Mathilde Thomas, founder of Caudalie, denied “selling out” and explained she hoped the Chinese animal-testing situation would soon change as a result of “outside pressure”. On L’Occitane’s website, the company considers it “counterproductive to deprive the most populated country of the world” of products free from animal testing, and still wishes to “actively participate in abolishing the tests on animals throughout the world”.