Urban Decay regains cruelty free status in shock U-turn
Urban Decay have decided to back out of their decision to move into China.
- Urban Decay’s move to China
- The campaign
- Urban Decay’s statement
- Why did they really back out?
- Making history in China?
- Still feel betrayed
If you read my very first post for Mindful Mum (which you can see here) you will be aware that long standing cruelty free brand, Urban Decay, very recently made the decision to give up their cruelty free status (and a huge chunk of their customer base!) when they decided to move their products into the Chinese market. The market in China requires compulsory animal testing before items are approved for sale. This would mean that the brand who proudly displayed the slogan ’We don’t do animal testing, how could anyone?’ on their packaging, would soon be allowing the Chinese government to carry out animal tests on these very same products. This went against everything Urban Decay ever stood for, and the backlash was immediate and enormous.
Animal rights groups like PETA, bloggers, cruelty free consumers and make up artists around the world launched an online campaign to put a stop to Urban Decay’s plans. They received a barrage of angry tweets, emails, and posts to their facebook page from passionate individuals desperately trying to make a difference. I was one of those individuals, and after writing a long and heartfelt blog post on the subject, I contacted Urban Decay linking them to it, and stating my intention to boycott them due to their radical change in ethics.
As a cruelty free campaigner, it can be extremely disheartening to see backwards steps like the one Urban Decay were about to take and I have to say that as much as I wished for it, I didn’t hold out much hope that they would change their mind. However, on 6th July Urban Decay yet again shocked the beauty community by announcing they had abandoned their plans to enter China, and would therefore retain their cruelty free status.
The statement that was released was ambigous with no direct reference to the online efforts to sway them in their decision making, other than to say that,
‘While several factors were important in reaching this decision, ultimately we did not feel we could comply with current regulations in China and remain true to our core principles. Following our initial announcement, we realized that we needed to step back, carefully review our original plan, and talk to a number of individuals and organizations that were interested in our decision’.
We will never truly know whether the decision to back out of China was based on the efforts of the animal rights groups and cruelty free customers; the idealist in me would like to believe that Urban Decay realised they had drastically underestimated the impact the decision they made would have on their reputation, and actually listened to the huge number of people begging them to reconsider.
Something I hear time and again from people interested in making the switch to a cruelty free lifestyle, but who haven’t made the jump, is ‘How can I make a difference, I’m just one person! Who is going to listen to me?’ The truth is no one. No one is going to listen to just one person, but if everyone thought that way, change would never happen. It takes thousands of ‘just one person’ to stand up for what they believe in, and that is what breeds change.
The cynic in me, however, wonders if there is any other reason behind the sudden u turn. Urban Decay were so close to entering the market in China that all of the groundwork must have been laid and deals must have been agreed. For them to back out so suddenly begs the question, did something else go wrong?
What about the intial statement that was released (and subsequently removed!) in which Urban Decay proudly declared they were going to make history in China, and change the world from the inside. What about the protection for women’s rights they were going to offer, and the jobs they were planning to create? I’d be extremely interested to hear, if anything, what they are planning to do about those issues now. Will they try to make a change in China’s policies from the outside the way most logical and rational animal rights groups are trying to do? What Urban Decay should have done from the outset if they were truly commited to animal welfare.
Thousands of people took to Twitter when Urban Decay made the announcement that they would not be taking their products into China, applauding the brand for staying true to their ethics and remaining cruelty free, however I can’t help but feel jaded. I used to adore the brand and everything it stood for, but now, even though it may display the cruelty free logo, I can’t just forget the huge decision they initially made, and what they were willing to give up for profit. For the sake of the thousands of animals that would have been tested on in the name of Urban Decay, I am eternally grateful that they changed their mind, no matter what the reason, but I for one will never see them in the same light.
The really sad fact of the matter is, of course, that although Urban Decay won’t be allowing testing to be carried out on their products, hundreds of other companies across the world will, so this victory, important though it is, is a simply a battle, whilst the war rages on.
You can find out more about how to help put an end to animal testing by visiting http://www.
Photography: LittleDebbie11 @Flickr