|image from seasia.biz|
It's been impossible not to notice the overwhelmingly negative response to this issue around the beauty blogosphere this week. If you haven't heard, the gist is that Urban Decay are planning to move into the Chinese market. In doing so it will no longer be classed as a cruelty-free brand entitled to use the Leaping Bunny label on its products. The way the beauty industry in China is set up means that finished products can be tested on animals before being sold to the Chinese public. In agreeing to be sold in China, UD are effectively giving the OK for their products to be animal tested.
The company has circulated a release giving their reasons for the move. For them, the risk of animal testing on their products is outweighed by the potential to raise awareness about animal testing and women's issues within China. They're hoping to change things from the inside. (We've all heard that before, right?) "The battleground for animal rights is now in China", they say. (If only that were true - large numbers of the UK's beauty products are still not cruelty free.)
It also can't be overlooked that the Chinese market has incredible economic potential at the moment. I doubt if UD would have bent their principles otherwise, although they say they don't stand to make a profit in China for some time.
This isn't the first time an idealistic company dedicated to ending animal testing has gone back on its promises for the sake of commerce - some readers will remember the outrage when Anita Roddick sold the Body Shop to L'Oreal (who still own it) in 2006, with similar statements about changing things from the inside.
On a personal level, I'm honestly gutted by this. Intellectually, I know Urban Decay is a business, and that their products are meant to make money, not just to make people happy. But the fact is they have made me happy over the years - probably more so than I've realised, given how low this news now makes me feel. I'm not sure I'm going to feel the same way when I use my UD products, or get the same rush of excitement about their new releases in future. Maybe this reaction will subside, but for now all I can feel is sadness.
What's your reaction to this news? Will you still buy UD products? Do you think they should reverse their decision?