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Estee Lauder join the #BeCrueltyFree movement - But will they practice what they preach?


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Estée Lauder have announced their plans to join Humane Society International’s #BeCrueltyFree movement in a bid to end animal testing across the globe by 2023. It’s a move which will no doubt be a giant step forward for the beauty industry, with over 25 big name beauty brands included in the company’s line-up.

Image Credit: Pixabay

According to the official HSI website, four in every five countries still allow animal testing on cosmetic products, with China even requiring such practices by law. Whilst Estée Lauder backing the campaign is a huge leap forward, it should not go unmentioned that a number of their brands still trade in China, meaning they aren’t cruelty-free at all. Of course, the involvement of such a huge company will further the campaign and hopefully, it will be successful in achieving a global ban eventually, but there is something about the news that seems somewhat hypocritical. 

In a previous piece, we discussed brands that claim to be cruelty-free, despite still trading in China and therefore benefiting from the use of animal testing. Many of these included brands owned by Estée Lauder, such as MAC, Bobbi Brown and the Estée Lauder product line itself. But does it actually mean that their previous approach of ‘we don’t test on animals except when we do’ is becoming ‘we don’t support animal testing except when we have to do it’. This method of ‘false-ethical’ marketing is misleading and unfair, yet there are still billions of people around the world buying into it and buying their products.

It is still early days in the partnership and the exact level of Estée Lauder’s involvement is still unclear, but it’s highly unlikely for them to suddenly cease all trading in a country with such a huge market for cosmetics. Earlier this year, both Avon and Procter and Gamble boasted their involvement in the campaign, despite both still making financial gains from the cruel practices that allow them to trade in China, with no announced plans to stop. 


Although it’s great to see such huge names getting involved, I do think that in order to accept praise for backing such an important cause, they should be leading by example and taking a bigger stand against countries that impose such inhumane laws. There are plenty of brands out there who manage to stay entirely cruelty-free and still run a profitable business, without having to mislead their customers. 

On a more positive note, the #BeCrueltyFree movement itself and the work that HSI are doing to develop more humane methods of testing and raise awareness for the cruel practices that still exist is astonishing. To find out more about their work and how you can get involved check out the official Humane Society International website.

Lead Image Credit: Pixabay

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