Three of the cosmetics industry’s biggest companies, Mary Kay, Avon, and Estee Lauder (and all the brands under them!) have been named in a class action lawsuit filed in California on behalf of American consumers. The lawsuit sites that these companies fraudulently claimed not to be doing animal testing when in fact they were, misleading the American public. Defendants later purported to disclose, at least on their websites, that they in fact were animal testing, but the disclosures were wholly inadequate and deceptive, the lawsuit states. As a result of their claims of no animal testing, Avon, Estee Lauder and Mary Kay gained and held onto a spot on the much coveted, “Do Not Test” list compiled by PETA. This list indicates which companies do not test products on live animals. Until recently, Estee Lauder, Avon and Mary Kay were among the largest mainstream corporations to be included on PETA’s cruelty-free lists. Specifically, the lawsuit states “As a result of being included on the list, as well as many similar lists, defendants enjoyed the support of PETA and millions of consumers who buy cosmetics only from companies that do not conduct animal testing. And hence, the commercial success of defendants’ products during the class period was positively influenced by their direct representations regarding animal testing. Simply put, defendants reaped hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue from US consumers who otherwise would not have purchased defendants’ products. Filed in October, and entitled Marina Beltran et al. v. Avon Products Inc., Case No. 12-cv-02502, this amended class action lawsuit is the third filed against Avon, and has two new named plaintiffs that are alleging claims of fraud and violations of California’s Unfair Competition Law and Consumer Legal Remedies Act. The Plaintiffs allege that Avon is required to disclose its animal testing practices.
The “minerals” in Bare Minerals are a patented blend of 72 minerals (containing Mercury, Arsenic, and many more). Animal research is actually cited in the patent (held by Roger Blotsky and Leslie Blodgett). Fun fact: it’s also sold as a supplement for animals. Biokool is the company that produces it. Google away!
This lawsuit comes after the news in February that PETA was removing these companies from their cruelty free list. The reason that these companies were removed is they are sold in China. China requires cosmetics to be tested on animals, so there isn’t any way these companies could truly be cruelty free. The lawsuit seeks more than $100,000,000 in punitive and compensatory damages for a class of more than 1,000,000 consumers.
I hope this makes them wake up and pay attention!
I am actually really happy to hear about this. Whether or not you are a cruelty free beauty user exclusively, I like the idea of these corporations being held responsible. I hate that companies are able to get away with being vague about their practices, and maybe this lawsuit will help encourage other companies (okay, scare them) to be more transparent and forthcoming with information to consumers. Maybe it will also make them think twice about this whole thing, and flex their power and influence to get China’s animal testing policies changed. Cosmetics are a multi billion dollar industry. Surely there’s something someone can do?
US District Judge Cormac J. Carney ruled that the plaintiffs sufficiently pled their causes of action that Avon fraudulently concealed that it tests on animals.
I hope they win. How dare these companies lie to their consumers, THE ONES WHO PUT THEM IN BUSINESS. I wished I had known about this lawsuit & been able to be apart of it. I TOO had spent money on these companies with the impression that they were cruelty-free.
The technology is already out there to test cosmetic products without the use of animals. Usually these matters all come down to one thing: money. And that is why I hope the lawsuit not only goes forward, but that they win. You can’t teach a large company anything unless you hit them where they will feel it: their bottom line. Whether or not you are worried about animal testing, we simply cannot allow companies to lie to consumers, even by omission.
Avon lied to customers by claiming its products are cruelty free. For years, Defendants marketed and advertised their companies and their cosmetic products as not being tested on animals, when in fact Avon, Mary Kay, Estee Lauder were testing their cosmetic products on animals so that they could sell products in China and other foreign countries, thereby reaping hundreds of millions in sales.