The Urban Beauty brand famously refused to make fashion show appearances due to real fur being worn on the catwalk; indeed, Urban Beauty's animal testing policy states that it "will not allow third parties to test on animals on their behalf, except when it is required by law".
Each product on the company's website is clearly marked as being animal-friendly, with the packaging plainly displaying the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics' (CCIC) Leaping Bunny logo: the guarantee of a cruelty-free product.
Breaking into China
However, the company has recently decided to try to break into the cosmetics market in China, a country in which animal testing on cosmetic products is required by law. Within Europe, there are a number of laws that prohibit certain types of animal testing, giving animals more protection than in some other parts of the world, such as China.
Chinese law states that, before cosmetic products are licensed to go on sale to the public or to beauty suppliers for salons, they must be tested on animals. These laws apply not just to Chinese brands, but to any overseas countries that want to enter the Chinese market.
Recently, a number of former cruelty-free brands, namely Avon, MAC and Estee Lauder, have made a U-turn on their policies and given up their cruelty-free views in order to begin selling their products to the Chinese market. It seems that Urban Decay will be the latest brand to join this ever-growing list of companies. This doesn't necessarily mean that the products sold in the UK have been tested on animals, but by giving the Chinese permission to test on their behalf, the brands are effectively forfeiting their ethos on animal cruelty.
Urban Decay's Public Statement
Announcing its decision to sell cosmetic products in China, Urban Decay explained that it remains opposed to animal testing. According to the company, its position on the issue has not changed in sixteen years and, despite entering the Chinese market, the firm will continue to support "women's rights and the fight against animal testing". Urban Decay described the decision to enter China as a "thoughtful one".
Since the company's announcement back in June this year, it has incurred a backlash from some of its fans, many of whom are fervent animal lovers and even animal rights activists. Social media was used by many fans, with over a thousand comments being left on the company's Facebook page and a similarly huge reaction on Twitter.
Following Urban Decay's announcement and the reaction from its users, the company's Leaping Bunny Logo has been withdrawn by the CCIC. It remains to be seen whether Urban Decay will go ahead with its plans and indeed the effect that moving into China will have on its business across the world.
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By Sophie Banat