July 1, 2017 No Cruelty

When Cruelty Free ISN’T really Cruelty Free….

Anyone who follows vegan or cruelty free accounts on any social media platform cannot be unaware of the backlash against Nars and their decision to sell in China and therefore allow their products to be tested on animals.

For anyone who doesn’t follow the issues, Nars were a cruelty free cosmetic company that proudly extolled their cruelty free credentials and for them to now embrace animal testing, is a complete betrayal of all of those who have supported them and all the ethical statements they have made over the years.

But what has surprised and shocked me is the level of hypocrisy within the vegan and cruelty free community (I have no doubt that we will get castigated for this post!).

For us there are a few ways to explain our view –

  • You are vegan or you aren’t – you can’t be a little bit vegan
  • You are cruelty free or you aren’t – you cannot claim to be cruelty free whilst buying products tested on animals

OR to put it another way, since when was anyone a little bit pregnant?  You either are or you aren’t,

Black and white; Yes or No – you are either in or out. No grey areas, you fall one side of the line or you don’t.

So it was with huge surprise to see many people were recommending brands such as Urban Decay, Too Faced, Kat Von D or even the Body Shop. Yes, it is widely accepted that they are cruelty free brands


  • Urban Decay – owned by L’Oreal. Who test on animals
  • Too Faced – owned by Estee Lauder. Who test on animals
  • Body Shop – until June 2017 was owned by L’Oreal. Who test on animals
  • And even the talented Kan Von Dee is ultimately owned by LMVH. Who test on animals


So, when I raised this with those who are recommending the brands I was taken to task and told

  • “it’s not practical to go down the parent company thing”
  • “you can’t buy anything that is totally cruelty free”
  • “small businesses are expensive”
  • “I need to be able to buy on the High Street”
  • “if we support the CF business the big brand will change their mind and go down that route as well”


To clarify, the last one didn’t work with Body Shop did it? The Body Shop have suffered in recent years from bad press, competition from Lush and from their lack of cruelty free transparency.  Despite this it still managed to hand over huge amounts of money in dividends to its L’Oreal owners so, a UK cruelty free business contributes to the wider animal testing global brand.  L’Oreal has however, now been forced to offload the business and at the present time it looks as though thankfully it may now actually become cruelty free through hits new owners.


Nature Watch
Nature Watch

At Lilian Jones we have always supported Naturewatch and their stance on parent companies which is black and white. For us, Naturewatch are the only truly independent animal welfare organisation that we will support or recommend; their politics are based in the UK and they understand UK issues. So many of PETAs campaigns are based on practices that do not exist in the UK or EU and we belive that many of their recent campaigns are misguided. (If you are interested google PETAs involvement in the suggested euthanasia of all Pit Bulls – regardless of any logical argument).


From Naturewatch “It’s a staggering reality that many people do not realise that, despite the EU Cosmetics Testing Ban, which came into force on 11th March 2013, multinational companies can continue to test on animals elsewhere in the world to develop new ingredients for new products to sell outside Europe.

We are lucky in the EU as all NEW products are free from testing.

Naturewatch again “..remember the Parent Company issue: even if a company says it’s cruelty free and it’s endorsed by other organisations, if it has a Parent Company that doesn’t have a Fixed Cut-Off Date in place then it won’t be endorsed by Naturewatch Foundation as cruelty free. The only way you can be sure your purchases are cruelty free is by using our Compassionate Shopping Guide.”

“Companies like L’Oreal are wasting no time in accelerating their expansion into China, the world’s second-biggest economy. For example, L’Oreal has acquired Chinese cosmetic companies in order to increase its grip on China’s £20 billion beauty market, at the cost of even more animals’ lives. Annually, in the region of 4,000 beauty products are introduced in China which translates into more than 300,000 animals suffering and dying in cruel tests on vanity products.”

Bunny Free
Bunny Free

“We will not rest until animal testing for cosmetic purposes is banned throughout the world. Animals should no longer be enduring horrific experiments in the name of vanity.”

So, the question is, how can you be cruelty free and an advocate for cruelty free products whilst still supporting L’Oreal or LMVH or Estee Lauder? Surely thats simply trying to be a “little bit cruelty free”?

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