Urban Decay Gets Backlash Over Animal Testing

Urban Decay, a company long known for its cruelty-free cosmetics products, use of vegan ingredients and strong stance against animal testing, has come under fire for announcing a move into the Chinese market, where animal testing is required by law.

The company’s decision has upset animal rights activists and many of its customers, who are vowing to toss their products and take their business elsewhere.

Urban Decay attempted to address the outcry by posting a response on Facebook, stating:

We do want to address one FAQ: No, Urban Decay will not test on animals in China. However, the Chinese government may conduct a test using our products before they can be sold there. We absolutely realize that for many of you, it makes no difference who is doing the testing. But, animal rights are still very much important to Urban Decay, and our decision was a thoughtful one.

If that wasn’t enough doublespeak, Urban Decay also issued a statement, which has since been removed from its website, further explaining the reasons why they thought they should make the move. They want to go there to help end animal testing and promote women’s rights by giving them jobs.

Do we like China’s policies? No…and that is really the point. Going into China was a huge decision for Urban Decay. But, we believe that change cannot and will not happen by outside pressure alone in a closed market. Change can only happen from within. When we enter the Chinese market, we will do our part to help make those changes.

Instead of sticking to their values and fighting for animals with a ‘you can’t have our products until you change your policies’ stance, they’re going to go in and fight animal testing with products that have been tested on animals. It’s a long way from their original disclaimer, “We don’t do animal testing. How could anyone?”

If we don’t go to China, other companies without our beliefs will, and the culture will never change. We want to encourage a culture of consumers who care enough to buy cruelty-free products, and who view professional women as role models who influence their lives on a daily basis.

Saying that if they don’t go there to make money someone else will apparently justifies everything. Urban Decay admits that it may not turn a profit there for a while, but it does plan to do so. Now, formerly loyal customers aren’t just upset over animal testing, they’re also upset over having their intelligence insulted.

The decision to make the move was also found in violation of the Leaping Bunny certification’s Corporate Standard of Compassion for Animals, which has since been withdrawn, following last year’s removal of  L’Occitane, Yves Rocher, Caudalie and Mary Kay.

Urban Decay will be hosting a live chat with founding partner Wende Zomnir that anyone with questions will be able to participate in, but they still haven’t gotten around announcing when it will be.

To find out more about cruelty-free products, visit crueltyfree.org.

Related Stories:

United Airlines Pressured to Resume Shipping Animals for Research

The Body Shop Joins International Campaign to Stop Animal Testing

New Technology More Reliable and Ethical than Animal Testing

Leaping Bunny Celebrates 15th Anniversary

Photo credit: Thinkstock


William C
William C1 years ago


Kati Patelaki
kathy P5 years ago

it's all about profit again. please boycott it!

Duane B.
.5 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Celine P.
CĂ©line P6 years ago


Jill H.
Jill H.6 years ago


Carrie Anne Brown

voted thanks for sharing :)

Carla N.
Carla N.6 years ago

Okay, so far this year, I'm boycotting Avon, Mary Kay, and all Estee Lauder brands; now Urban Decay joins the "dead-to-me" list. Wonder what Marley thinks of THIS latest move.
I'm really disappointed in Urban Decay, though I guess I really shouldn't have believed that their much-touted "principles" were sincere.
I am taking my business ELSEWHERE, and am encouraging others to do likewise.

Martha Martin
Martha Johnston6 years ago

They decided to sell in china to expand their profits, period, no other reason to go there. Have only ever bought one of their products and will not consider in the future now that they have made this decision. Won't buy mary kay again either, not after reading this. Never much cared for their products anyway. Always look for the little pink bunny when & where you can!

Katherine Wright
Katherine Wright6 years ago

Never heard of them before today but will make it a point not to be a supporter of them. If you do product testing on animals I will not support you financially. Period. I will not be part and parcel to the maiming and killing of animals.

Camille S.
Camille S.6 years ago

Disgusting! I am one of the Urban Decay's supporters for over 10 years, and I read about this. I find this laughable, considering that its actions going into China by trying to change things around will help some kind of cause. Don't you think many people have been trying to change their outlook at reality for years? It's a communist country, and always will be. They are set in their ways. I admire the attempt on making changes, but come on. Who are we trying to kid here? Glad I read this article. I wear nothing but Urban Decay. I know that the saying "Beauty is Pain", but let's not get so literal here. It is not worth the pain of defenseless animals just so I can look good. I'd rather buy from a different company.