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Ricky Gervais Joins HSUS “Be Cruelty-Free” Campaign

August 9, 2012

ImageComedian Ricky Gervais is taking aim at cosmetics companies who test on animals for the sake of profits, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) announced recently in a press release. Gervais is a supporter of the HSUS and Humane Society International’s Be Cruelty-Free campaign.

“Like me, most people will be shocked to learn that testing cosmetics on animals is often still a legal requirement in China,” Gervais said in a statement. “It makes me really angry that this is still going on, and it makes me particularly angry that some previously cruelty-free companies are abandoning their principles and returning to animal testing in order to profit from the Chinese market.”

Gervais goes on to say that China’s cosmetics market is worth billions of dollars. “[China] remains one of the few countries in the world to insist on animal testing, so companies manufacturing there have made the very clear choice to test lipsticks and shampoo on animals to increase their profit margins,” he said.

Chinese Takeout

Gervais applauds Urban Decay for its recent decision not to start selling its products in China, following pleas from consumers and animal welfare groups. “Ethical principles shouldn’t be up for sale,” he says. “In deciding against selling in China, Urban Decay has sent a very powerful message to the rest of the industry—you don’t have to sell your soul in order to be a globally successful cosmetics brand.”

Urban Decay’s decision to forgo the Chinese market came just before People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) gave hair care company John Paul Mitchell Systems it’s Courage in Commerce Award for also making the decision to leave China.

John Paul Mitchell CEO Paul Mitchell and cofounder John Paul DeJoria put sales in China on hold last year, and have now told PETA that the company will remain committed to its cruelty-free policy and not sell products there. Paul Mitchell products have never been tested on animals.

Says DeJoria in a statement issued by the company, “Since Paul Mitchell was founded in 1980, we have been cruelty-free. We do not conduct or condone animal testing on our products, and we will not attempt to market our products in China until alternatives to animal testing methods have been accepted by the government.”

PETA also gave Urban Decay a Courage in Commerce Award after it decided not to sell cosmetics in China.

New Testing Methods

A Europe-wide ban on selling animal-tested cosmetics that takes effect in 2013 has sparked Chinese regulators’ interest in non-animal-based testing methods. Gervais says that progress is being made with getting testing methods that do not use animals accepted in China. “But it’s no coincidence that this new energy towards alternatives has happened under the spotlight of consumer criticism. Compassionate consumers have a powerful voice and we can speak up for animals in labs who cannot be heard,” he says.

You can sign the Be Cruelty-Free pledge and visit leapingbunny.org to download the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics global guide to cruelty-free products.

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