Early this morning, I discovered a post on Facebook by The Huffington Post called "Avon, Estee Lauder, and Mary Kay Allegedly Testing Makeup on Animals." (The article originates on the Mother Nature Network blog). As I type this, the Facebook post has 165 comments, 202 likes, and 459 shares and I have yet to find one in support of any of these companies.
I'm not going to reprint the article. You can read the article for yourself. What I do want to tell you is that I think this is a huge blow-up over nothing. That's correct. Nothing.
I'm not in favor of animal testing. In fact, I think it's disgusting and unnecessary. My cats, Betsey and Ross, will confirm that I do not conduct any animal testing. Thankfully, the United States and many other countries around the world feel the same way I do.
China, however, does not. China requires animal testing. In order to be in the skin care and makeup business in China, you must test on animals. Let me be clear: I think this is horrible.
The Huffington Post article is very clear about an important point: Mary Kay tests on animals in China because the Chinese government requires them to do so and the company is working with the Chinese government to help them see the errors of their ways. "...the Chinese government requires animal testing for beauty products sold in China, and PETA reports that ... Mary Kay has been trying to work with the government to come up with new testing solutions for cosmetics that don't involve animals." The article goes on to say that Estee Lauder and Avon have not voiced complaints and are simply going along with China's animal testing requirements. I don't know anything about how Estee Lauder and Avon are dealing with China on this, so I'm not going to comment on it.
Mary Kay operates in over 35 countries around the world. Only one of them, China, requires animal testing. The skin care and makeup products Mary Kay tests in China are only sold in China. And again, Mary Kay is working with the Chinese government to show them that animal testing is both unsafe and ineffective.
Many people commenting on Facebook are calling for boycotts against Mary Kay, Avon, and Estee Lauder to make them pull out of China. But here's the thing: When you boycott Mary Kay and Avon, your boycott is actually against small business owners. Women, like me, who earn income from the selling Mary Kay and Avon. We live and work in every community. We are your neighbors. We spend money locally. When you stop doing business with us, you in turn, remove money from your community. You will be hurting your friends and your community.
Even if Mary Kay, Avon, and Estee Lauder pull out of China, it won't do anything to change the animal testing policy. The policy will still remain.
Here's the part of the outrage that gets me: How many of those who are calling for boycotts of Mary Kay over government required animal testing in China read the article and commented on it using products made by Apple? Apple has been in the news lately and will be featured tonight in an ABC Nightline story about its human rights practices (violations?) in building the iPhone, iPad, and computers in China. (Disclaimer: I'm an all Mac house. I love my MacBook and my iPhone. Don't try to take them away from me.) And, of those folks, how many of them claim to be "pro life"? How many of them have given up their Apple products in protest?
Why are people more outraged about animal testing than possible human rights violations?
Don't misunderstand me, I'm not trying to distract you by saying "sure Mary Kay tests on animals in China, but another company is worse." I'd really just like people to think before they get reactionary and to think about the true impact of their actions.
I'm proud to be a Mary Kay Consultant and I'm proud of our animal rights record. I'm proud that we work with governments to change policies. And I would suggest that rather than boycott companies like Mary Kay, we all voice our collective outrage to the Chinese government itself.