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Being a long-time fan of The Body Shop, it pains me that they are now owned by L'Oreal. You may be aware that L'Oreal are a huge brand who distribute worldwide - including in mainland China and therefore (under Chinese regulations) have to undergo animal testing on their products. I know, uncool right?

L'Oreal are pretty shady about the whole situation. Their answer to Does L'Oreal Test On Animals? on their website is very vague. It mentions what they've done to fund an end animal testing, yet it doesn't explicitly state whether they do test their finished products or ingredients, nor whether their suppliers do so.

However, delving deeper (and it really isn't clearly advertised) they elude that they do still test on animals when 'regulatory authorities demand it for regulatory purposes' and they themselves state that China requires 'animal tests for finished cosmetics before they are placed on the market.' So you have to join the dots yourself, but it's pretty clear that they do have hundred of animals in cages ready to suffer in the name of a new eyeshadow palette. Nice one. Further to this, they also state:

'L'Oreal no longer tests on animals, anywhere in the world, and does not delegate this task to others. An exception could be made if regulatory authorities required it for safety or regulatory purposes.'

This is a little confusing, and also slightly manipulative. It's essentially them saying Nope! We never ever ever do the bad thing. Ever. Well, unless we REALLY have to. It's a joke. Corporate honesty is so important and also a responsibility of being such a big brand. They evidently do test on animals, and I feel that they should have to be a lot clearer about this fact.

Because their FAQ answer is so elusive, it almost suggests that they are scared of what an (already) bad rep is doing for their image. The fact that they skirt around the subject also implies that they are fully aware that what they are condoning is wrong, and that people will recognise it as such. As more and more people go digging, as more and more become better aware and want to make informed decisions because they are tired of being (quite frankly) lied to, they are gonna come off as the bad guy in this whole situation and inevitably lose profit. 

So what about The Body Shop?

As you are probably aware, their brand is built around being very vocal and passionate about ending animal testing. The Body Shop does not operate in mainland China and they even pulled their products from duty-free shelves in Chinese airports as they may have been at risk of being tested on animals in post-market research. I feel that the values of The Body Shop are so central to their marketing strategy and ethical image that these are not things they can afford to cop out on. 

The way I see it, by purchasing from a brand that is vocal about not testing on animals is still a vote towards ending cruelty. If you boycott them completely, you're no longer in the game. They don't count you as a consumer and therefore they may not consider your values as a consumer in their business operations. Campaigning is great but it's not so accessible for everybody, and sometimes signing petitions online can feel a bit futile. As long as we make it clear that the intent behind our purchase is due to the fact that The Body Shop is animal and environment friendly then hopefully it'll be seen as an important selling point. Companies will and do look at figures and sales in search of where to take the market next - and I'm hoping L'Oreal will see these and take a bloody hint. I know that a lot of the big dogs in the market turn a blind eye to this sort of thing, but that doesn't mean that you can't be the change and make a difference. Step up L'Oreal. 

If you want to contact L'Oreal, you can here.

If you'd like to contact The Body Shop, you can here.


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