Avon withdraws animal test claims from website after complaints
Avon has been forced to withdraw claims its cosmetics aren’t tested on animals.
The company, which made its name through its vast network of door-to-door saleswomen, has long stated that it was the first major beauty company to do away with animal experiments.
According to its website, it stopped animal testing more than 20 years ago.
Now, following a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority, it has removed all traces of the claim from its UK website.
According to its website, Avon (some products pictured) stopped animal testing more than 20 years ago
Dr Dan Lyons, of the animal welfare group Uncaged which made the complaint, accused the firm, makes more than 6billion a year in sales around the world, of ‘falsely trading on a cruelty-free image’.
He said: ‘Whatever one’s opinion about animal testing for cosmetics, any decent person would agree that we have to have honesty in the marketplace.’
Avon, the first company to take beauty products out of department stores and sell them door-to-door, launched in the UK in 1959.
It now also does online sales, but still has an army of ‘Avon ladies’ who help ensure that six million Britons leaf through one of its brochures every three weeks.
The ASA was alerted to this statement on Avon’s UK website – ‘In 1989, Avon was the first major beauty company to stop testing products and ingredients on animals.
‘Avon does not test products or ingredients on animals, nor do we request others do so on our behalf.’
However, the global or corporate version of its website plainly contradicts the statement, even detailing how many of its products are tested on animals.
The Body Shop's Anita Roddick protesting against animal testing in 2002. Avon has been forced to withdraw claims its cosmetics arent tested on animals
It states that Avon sells approximately 9,000 different products in over 100 countries and in 2011, under 0.3 per cent of these were tested on animals.
While this equates to under 27 lotions and potions, the number of animal tests could run into thousands.
Dr Lyons said: ‘Given each product or ingredient could be tested for about 15 different types of toxicity, and just one of those tests can involve poisoning and killing over 1,000 animals, they must be causing a lot of unnecessary animal suffering.’
Avon’s global website goes on to state that the animal testing is only done ‘when required by law’ and its goal is to get the number to zero.
It adds: ‘The only reason a product is tested on animals is because some governments have yet to accept the use of scientifically valid alternative approaches to safety assessment.’
The complaint was informally resolved by the Advertising Standards Authority – a term used when a company amends or withdraws its claims without need for a formal investigation.
Avon told the ASA that the claim had been removed when the website was updated several months earlier.
However, it could still be found through internet searches.
The claim has now been completely removed.
In a statement, Avon described Uncaged’s interpretation of its commitment to animal welfare as ‘incorrect and misleading’.
The firm said that it has a ‘long-standing, deep respect for animal welfare’ and animal testing is only done when the law demands.
A spokesman added that no products sold in the UK have undergone animal testing. However, in countries outside Europe, some governments will do their own safety testing of products.