Thursday, June 7, 2012

Urban Decay no longer cruelty free (UPDATE inside)

UPDATE: Early July 2012 Urban Decay announced that they will NOT sell to China. Urban Decay is now back on the cruelty-free list. Thank you to everyone who helped push Urban Decay back to where they belong! It goes to show that we as consumers have a voice!

I didnt think I'd ever be saying this. 

Urban Decay has made the business decision to sell their products in China. As you may remember, if any beauty company wants to sell their product in China they must submit their product to animal testing. Therefore Urban Decay, the company with the moto for the last 16 years "We don't test on animals. How could anyone?" is no longer cruelty free and tests on animals.

Just like MAC they are going against what they were founded on, their ethical stand point, and what so many consumers have grown to expect. They rationalize their decision with many excuses that just sound like a whole load of PR bullshit. They are saying that they want to provoke change by their entering the Chinese market. So to create change they are conforming to a standard they believe is wrong? And their justification is that they don't want to sit on the sidelines. They think that conforming will influence Chinese consumers and the government. Instead they should have chosen to work on a large campaign ending the animal testing requirements for cosmetics BEFORE they started selling their products. Instead they are making a profit off of the suffering of animals.

I know sometimes change must start from within. For example undercover agents documenting the wrong doings at laboratories and slaughterhouses. But how does changing a government policy require that? I'll eat my words if a year down the road Urban Decay alone changes the Chinese, but I dont think it will happen.

Urban Decay gave in for the money. They are no longer cool in my book. I'm actually pissed. What companies can we trust to stay true to their word? If things keep moving in the same direction by the end of the year I'll be wearing squashed elderberries as blush and lipstick.

Take a look at the full statements from Urban Decay themselves and from Leaping Bunny. If you like myself are upset take a stand and speak up! Email Urban Decay, sign a petition, spread the word. Who knows maybe we can provoke UD to reconsider!

Urban Decay:
Urban Decay and China
Urban Decay is going to sell our products in China. Because of China’s policies on animal testing, we know that this will not be a popular decision with some of our loyal customers. But the decision is a thoughtful one. 

For 16 years, we have been committed to two key causes: women’s rights, and the fight against animal testing. Our dedication to those causes will not waver. 

For those of you unfamiliar with China’s policies, the sticking point is this: the Chinese government reserves the right to conduct animal testing with cosmetic products before the products are approved for use by Chinese citizens. The government has not told us if they have exercised this right with our products. So, our brand does not test on animals, but the Chinese government might conduct a one-time test using our products. 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. 

When we were considering expanding into China, a group of marketing consultants told us to remove the section of our company history that describes our crusade against animal testing. “It doesn’t mean anything to the Chinese beauty customer,” they said. Of course, we refused. Our “no animal testing” policy is part of who we are, and has been since day one. The news that animal issues don’t even register with the average Chinese consumer was one of the biggest factors in our decision to go there. During Urban Decay’s infancy, we worked hard to inform consumers about animal rights in the United States and Europe. The battleground for animal rights is now in China, and we want to be there to encourage dialogue and provoke change. 

We also hope to shed some light on women’s rights issues in China. As a company that caters to a female customer, this is extremely important to us. For one thing, going into China is a way for us to advance women into important professional positions. We will help grow the cosmetics industry, which primarily employs and creates career paths for women. Although workers’ employment rights are a relatively new concept there, progress has been made partially because of pressure from businesses, consumers, and advocacy groups from other countries. Based on this, our belief is that both an outside force and inside pressure for change can result in helping transform both the importance of women and animal testing policies in China. And more importantly, we hope to influence the perspective of the citizens on both of these issues. 

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. 

Yes, we are a for-profit company. And yes, we would eventually like to make money in China. But we don’t stand to turn a profit in China for quite a while, partially because the market isn’t quite ready to sustain an untraditional brand like ours. If it were only about the money, we would wait a few years. But our foray into this market is also about participating in an amazing time of change in China. We don’t like animal testing (and neither do the 13 dogs in our office), but we are trying to change the world… even if it is one eye shadow at a time! Sitting on the sidelines isn’t our style. We understand that you might not like our decision, but we hope you can respect it. 

Any editors or advocacy groups interested in interviews with Urban Decay founding partner Wende Zomnir may contact us at 

For any advocates or Urban Decay fans interested, Urban Decay founding partner Wende Zomnir will host a live chat in 2 weeks to answer questions about our entry into China. Please click here if you would like to sign up to be notified.

Leaping Bunny
Leaping Bunny Program Removes Urban Decay: China’s Animal Testing Requirements are the Reason
June 6, 2012 
PHILADELPHIA—The Leaping Bunny Program, administered by the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC), regrets to inform compassionate consumers who look for the Leaping Bunny Logo that Urban Decay is no longer certified as cruelty-free by the Leaping Bunny Program. The company has notified us that they have elected to sell their products in China, which, due to animal testing requirements in that country, will cause them to be in violation of our Corporate Standard of Compassion for Animals. 
Concerned individuals may be aware that animal testing requirements implemented last year in China have caused other companies, such as Mary Kay, to be removed from the Leaping Bunny list due to similar concerns. And there may be more, as CCIC continually investigates reports of companies that may be a party to animal testing in order to sell in China. 
The Leaping Bunny Program sets itself apart from other cruelty-free lists by reviewing companies’ adherence to a strict no animal testing standard and removing those companies that no longer comply. “The tragedy of this is that testing cosmetic products and ingredients on animals is cruel and unnecessary,” commented Sue Leary, Chair of CCIC. The certification program remains in dialogue with companies and other experts on the issue, and supports efforts to persuade Chinese officials to accept non-animal alternative test methods. 
Companies certified through the Leaping Bunny Program pledge to eliminate animal testing from all stages of product development. The company's ingredient suppliers make the same pledge and the result is a product guaranteed to be 100 percent free of new animal testing. All Leaping Bunny companies must be open to independent audits for verification, and pledge commitments are renewed on an annual basis. 
Since 1996, the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics has been connecting compassionate consumers with cruelty-free companies. The CCIC is made up of the following organizations: American Anti-Vivisection Society; Animal Alliance of Canada; Beauty Without Cruelty, USA; Doris Day Animal League; Humane Society of Canada; The Humane Society of the United States; and the New England Anti-Vivisection Society. CCIC's international partner is the European Coalition to End Animal Experiments. On the web at 
For more information, contact Vicki Katrinak at (888)546-CCIC or

What are your feelings on Urban Decay's decision to enter the Chinese Market and therefore begin animal testing? If you would like to see UD change their decision, sign this petition. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. 


  1. I was so sad when I saw this! Luckily I'm pretty sure I don't have any urban decay stuff at the moment.

    1. I have a ton of UD since they've been so great to the vegan community over the years. They labeled everything, had tons of options, and were cruelty-free. I feel like I was slapped in the face. I'll finish out all of my current products and just never buy from them again :(

  2. This sucks. I'd been following this and commenting on it (MUA and blog) since the new broke too. For further comment, as I'm too irate to rewrite it:

  3. I'm pretty disappointed in the way that UD handled this. I felt like the PR was extremely patronizing to their loyal cult following, and I honestly wish they would have been straight about why they were going to expand to the Chinese market. I really can't say that I am impressed with how people on the anti-UD side are acting, though. Threats and horrible name calling of those who are honest and say they will still buy UD, ethnocentric and ignorant comments that generalize and call the Chinese people cruel, backwards and barbaric, and the waste of the girls who have just gone and thrown every single UD product they own straight in the garbage. There are lots of issues that need to be sorted out with both sides.

    Will I buy UD again? I don't know. I'm not going to say never again, because I really don't know. But I will think twice in the future. Right before this ish hit the fan, the hubs bought me the Naked 2 palette as an anniversary gift since it was something I've been wanting for so long. Will I keep it, enjoy it, and use it? Absolutely, yes. He knew it had been something I had wanted, and to be like, "No, I refuse to use this" after he spent that much on something that was frivolous and unnecessary, especially when we can't afford purchases that big would just be straight up cruel and inconsiderate.

    Anyway, this is a giant cluster eff right now. I think for the time being, I'm going to step back, quietly observe this whole debacle, and keep my eye on UD and their business.

    1. Sorry it's taken me forever to reply. I wanted to have time to comment. I completely agree with you. The statement felt so unnatural. I havent been looking at the comments but I can only imagine. Just like with my MAC products, I'll finish them all up and then never buy from them again. I also got some UD products right before it happened. I know I wouldn't buy just because I dont see how I can trust a company that turns on their core beliefs for a buck.

  4. Oh, and I forgot to include one thing: I REALLY disliked how the whole original press release (which has mysteriously vanished from their site, ho hum) just reeked of Western imperialist ideas.

    Bleeeeghhh. Left a bad taste in my mouth. Thank goodness Christine at Temptalia still has it up for those that didn't get the chance to read it.

    1. I think the press release was just nonesense! They must have had to sit in a room for hours trying to figure out how to justify their actions. I'm kind of glad to see they coward out so quickly. I think more consumers will back away because of it. They are just putting themselves in the corner.

    2. From what I understand, a lot of Chinese found the press release to be really infuriating and offensive, so good job UD! I wonder when that web chat will go down, I haven't seen any clear information about it on their FB page. They're going to have to tread really, really carefully now!

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  10. Are you serious?!?? This is extreme and petty
    I'm still buying my urban decay! Tough for u


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