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A reminder why I always e-mail companies about animal testing (and don't just read their FAQs)

emailing companies animal testing

A question that pops up a lot regarding my cruelty-free brands list is why I insist on e-mail brands who have a really good public statement on their website. 

It's definitely a good question and I can understand why people would wonder. Today I'm going to go into why I'll always fire off a quick e-mail even if a brands FAQ page does have a good response to the question "Do you test your products on animals?". 

The short answer is, statements can be cleverly worded, might be out of date or miss something important out. I've felt for a long time that relying on statements on websites alone (or a quick tweet) isn't a strong enough reason to trust a brand. Quite recently I got reminded exactly why I always send an e-mail and why website statements alone cannot be trusted. 

In the past month I sent off a batch of e-mails to companies regarding their testing methods. Two of the companies in this batch had really good statements on their website and I was excited at the prospect of being able to buy their products. When I got their responses I had no choice however but to put one of them on my grey area list, and one of them on my testing list.

The first one is Oribe. I couldn't find a statement on their website but as some products are marked out as vegan it made me feel as though I might have been on to a winner. To get clarification, I sent off an e-mail and all questions were answered well aside from when I enquired about China. When I asked if they had no plans to sell in China until laws changed, the response was "As of now we do not have plans to sell in China". Not quite satisfied, but willing to accept that it was maybe just badly worded, I asked whether this was due to animal testing or because they just by chance weren't yet selling in China. The response was still "This is not a country we are not looking to sell into right now". I can't endorse a brand as cruelty-free if they can't confirm that they won't sell in China until laws change. They ended up on my grey-area list despite advertising some products as vegan. 

Second up on my list is OGX, a brand easily available in Superdrug. Let's compare the statement on their website with the one they sent me (emphasis mine). 

Website: No, OGX® products are NOT tested on animals. OGX® does not initiate animal tests on either finished products or ingredients whether directly or indirectly. All ingredients used are carefully monitored. All suppliers are requested to confirm that their materials have not been tested on animals. Ingredients which do not have this data supplied for them are not used in any products. OGX® is against the suffering endured by animals when ingredients and products are tested. We support suppliers and organizations that are developing alternative methods of testing without using animals.

E-mail: Thank you for contacting us! We understand and share your concern regarding the ethical treatment of animals.  We have a deep respect for animal welfare. Vogue International does not itself conduct or request others to perform animal testing in order to substantiate the safety or efficacy of any of our products or raw ingredients.  Given that there are countries that require animal testing by law, we do our best to respect governing law and regulations set by that governing body while encouraging alternative methods and helping to bring about change from within. We are pursuing opportunities to influence others on alternative methods and work towards our long term goal of the elimination of animal testing worldwide.  We understand that you may not agree with our decision and we respect your right to choose the best products for you.

There's a fancy way of saying they sell in China there. 

Both examples show that a thorough website statement isn't always what it seems. Neither company mentioned China on their website, and when asked about it in an e-mail they either admitted to it in a roundabout way or just wouldn't clarify their reasons for not selling in China right now.

I do appreciate that not everyone has the time to e-mail companies. Heck, there's other forms of ethical shopping out there where I rely on other people doing the research (fashion, mainly). This is why I try my hardest to be as stringent as possible with my research so that my list is safe enough for other people to confidently refer to when shopping. Obviously I can never be 100% sure so it is taken at your own risk however I do always e-mail companies myself and don't just rely on website statements. Hopefully this blog post has explained why that is important.  

So if you ever see a brand with a website statement on my grey-area list (or even my testing list) the reason could very possibly be similar to above. 

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