Q&A with Urban Decay – A Follow-Up on Animal Testing and Entry into China

Urban Decay reached out to me yesterday, shortly after I published the press release, and said that they were happy to take any questions I might have. On behalf of readers, I took the opportunity to ask several, and I also included a couple asked by Twitter followers. I’m still waiting on the answer to another question (and they’re working on it), but here are their answers to the questions I had and a reader question:

What has Urban Decay done in the past to proactively change the way animal testing is done or perceived in the US? Have measures been taken beyond being a cruelty-free brand? Does UD fund alternative testing research?

Urban Decay has been a cruelty-free band since our inception in 1996 and was one of the first few brands to adopt the Leaping Bunny Logo. We created our “How Could Anyone” campaign to raise awareness about animal testing in cosmetics. Bracelets with our “vegan paw-print” and “How Could Anyone” statement were sold at all retailers to benefit the Humane Society of the United States. We do not work with any manufacturers that conduct animal testing. We work regularly with organizations such as PETA and the HSUS to raise awareness and funds for alternative research.

We have turned down several opportunities to participate in high profile fashion shows and designer collaborations that use or promote fur. Despite that fact that many cruelty-free brands sell brushes made with animal hair, we only manufacture our brushes with synthetic fibers. We do not make donations to organizations that conduct or condone animal testing. We are the first brand ever to create a vegan shopping section on our website to cater to our vegan fans. We have made, and continue to make, monetary donations to further research into alternative testing.

How does Urban Decay intend to change the mind of Chinese government regarding animal testing and women’s rights?

We will continue to seek out alternative methods for testing and creating a demand for them in the industry, as well as influence the community to request this of their government. By creating new jobs for women and putting them into positions of importance, we hope to influence the community and our consumers via education and brand messaging.

How does injecting money into a country that has historically been difficult to persuade put either Urban Decay in a position of power or China in a position to listen? When major business and brands, both within and outside the cosmetic industry, can’t create impactful change in the country, how does Urban Decay intend to do so?

We are working with cruelty-free organizations on the ground in China to focus our efforts and make sure we are making the most impact. We consulted with the Feminist Majority Foundation and learned from them that giving Chinese women professional opportunities is an important step in creating cultural change. As we gain an understanding of the market, we plan to develop creative solutions to drive awareness about these issues.

With Urban Decay’s home country still requiring and allowing animal testing, why is the push into China so vital – particularly when UD has stated that they don’t even plan to make money for quite a while and the market isn’t quite ready for the brand? Did UD consider participating in the dialogue as a potential market entrant, thereby still holding onto all of the potential dollars and business to bring into the country?

While me may not be out of the woods yet as far as eradicating animal testing in the US, there are approved alternative methods approved and available for use here. We are implementing additional efforts in China where immediate change is necessary to provide alternatives in order to continue our fight to end animal testing.

How is UD planning on enacting the changes? Will the brand hire experts in Chinese culture to make an education plan? (Asked by Phyrra)

UD is working on developing a team based in China who will drive our education program and media outreach. They will train and educate our employees who will then pass our message on to the consumer, thereby raising awareness of the issue. We also plan to support via marketing and social media as we have successfully done here in the US.

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