Lauren Melella, Global Animal
Earlier this year, it was discovered that beauty powerhouses Avon, Estee Lauder, and Mary Kay had been secretly paying for Chinese officials to test their products on animals. Although companies in China are required by law to pay for tests on animals in order to market their cosmetics, many animal advocates, as well as PETA, felt that these proclaimed “cruelty-free” skincare brands were misleading the public. Deservingly, boycotts against the beauty giants followed suit. However, the companies continued to sell their products in China, and inevitably, animal testing continued.
After this news broke, PETA took action. Currently, thanks to a $33,000 grant from PETA to the U.S.-based Institute for In Vitro Sciences (IIVS), scientists in China have received training on how to use a non-animal test that can replace an eye irritation test, in which chemicals are dripped into the eyes of rabbits.
This is the second grant PETA has awarded to the IIVS after discovering that Avon, Estee Lauder, and Mary Kay had not provided Chinese scientists with training in the use of non-animal methods currently used in the U.S. and Europe. The test, known as the 3T3 Neutral Red Uptake Phototoxicity Test, is the first ever non-animal test to be used in China.
IIVS, a worldwide leader in the advancement of non-animal test methods, held the training last week for 30 students and faculty at the Beijing Technical and Business University. In China, BTBU is the largest university program in cosmetic science. The students were taught how to use the Bovine Corneal Opacity and Permeability assay to replace an eye irritation test on rabbits.
Dr. Rodger Curren, president of IICS, stated, “Support from PETA has allowed the university to expedite the incorporation of hands-on training in non-animal (in vitro) methods to undergraduate, graduate, and faculty at BTBU. Both faculty and students are enthusiastic about the training, and planning for future sessions has already begun.”
PETA Senior Vice President of Laboratory Investigations Kathy Guillermo, stated, “PETA is pleased to work together with IIVS to show scientists in China how to use modern, humane, non-animal testing methods instead of poisoning animals in archaic tests. This is the first step toward the end of cosmetics tests on animals in China.”
Furthermore, NYX Cosmetics, another cosmetic giant, has publicly refused to sell its products in China. NYX joins a growing list of beauty industry leaders, such as Urban Decay and Paul Mitchell, that have refused to sell in the Chinese market. For this, PETA has awarded NYX Cosmetics with its Courage in Commerce Award.
“NYX is a hero for animals and for millions of consumers who want beauty products that come without a death toll,” says PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk. “NYX’s decision helps PETA send a strong message to the Chinese government and to the beauty industry that poisoning and killing animals for archaic cosmetics tests is never acceptable.”
It’s incredibly powerful to see NYX Cosmetics make the personal decision to take the proper steps and put an end to animal testing. Unlike the aforementioned beauty companies who had to be provided with support from PETA and IIVS to put a halt to cruel testing in China, we applaud NYX for stepping up and making the proper decision for animals rights.