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For more than two decades, Avon, Mary Kay, Estée Lauder, and Revlon were among the largest mainstream international companies on PETA's cruelty-free lists. Avon banned all tests on animals following PETA's massive "Avon Killing" campaign, and Mary Kay pledged to go cruelty-free after cartoonist Berkeley Breathed mocked the company in his popular Bloom County comic strip. Since then, all four companies have enjoyed the support of PETA and millions of consumers who choose to buy cosmetics from companies that don't harm animals. But now we have learned that all four companies have been paying for tests on animals in order to sell their products in China—and they did not inform PETA or consumers that their policies had changed. We have no choice but to downgrade them by placing them on our list of companies that test on animals.
When we learned that the Chinese government requires tests on animals for many cosmetics products before they can be marketed in China, we immediately contacted the companies. While we understand that China is an enormous market that these companies aren't willing to ignore, we had hoped they would take action to eliminate this requirement or push for non-animal testing methods to be accepted. Mary Kay took some steps to work toward this with officials in China and, at our urging, promised to continue this effort—but Avon, Estée Lauder (including its subsidiaries MAC Cosmetics and Clinique), and Revlon appear to have gone along with the painful animal tests without objection.
Since PETA first exposed the Chinese government's requirements for animal tests for cosmetics in 2012, we have provided the scientists at the Institute for In Vitro Sciences with funding both to educate scientists in China on superior, non-animal testing methods and to provide government officials there with guidance on accepting non-animal testing methods and developing a five-year plan for accepting the tests currently used in the U.S. and Europe.
Fortunately, there are still more than 3,700 companies on our global "Don't Test" list whose products consumers can buy with a clear conscience.