Urban Betray

EDIT: Reader daisyduck has helpfully given a link to a petition you can sign; I’ve done it, it takes about 10 seconds: Sign the petition

I have no issue with holding my hands up and admitting that I’m not as vigilant about only buying cruelty free beauty products as I probably should be. I abhor the very thought of testing anything on animals, even medicine – but I’ve never been militant about it. This isn’t me suddenly turning over a new leaf, either (I’m sure I’ve featured many brands and products on this blog that have been tested on animals somewhere down the line, and I’m not going to suddenly become an entirely cruelty free blog), but the news that’s sweeping the beauty world that Urban Decay have decided to sell their products in China has thoroughly turned my stomach.

If you’ve not yet read the full statement, you can do so on Temptalia. Rather than copy and paste the whole thing, let’s break down some of the absolute bollocks in this statement poor attempt at an excuse, shall we?

“For 16 years, we have been committed to two key causes: women’s rights, and the fight against animal testing. Our dedication to those causes will not waver.”
Even in the first few sentences, they’re giving a complete contradiction. By their very decision to enter the Chinese market, they’re doing EXACTLY that. They’re not even just ‘wavering’ their dedication to the fight against animal testing, they’re SHITTING ALL OVER IT.

“For those of you unfamiliar with China’s policies, the sticking point is this: the Chinese government reserves the right to conduct animal testing with cosmetic products before the products are approved for use by Chinese citizens.”
‘Reserves the right’ – a huge euphemism if there ever was one. It is the LAW in China that any and all cosmetic products must be tested on animals. Because apparently Chinese citizens are different from those in the rest of the world and can’t just accept that the products are safe for human use since they are used in other countries. Obviously.

“The government has not told us if they have exercised this right with our products.”
You fucking idiots. THEY WILL BE exercising this right. It is REQUIRED BY LAW.

“But, we believe that change cannot and will not happen by outside pressure alone in a closed market. Change can only happen from within. When we enter the Chinese market, we will do our part to help make those changes.”
So.. let me get this straight. You intend to raise awareness of animal testing issues among the Chinese population by marketing and selling your cruelty free brand? OH WAIT. It’s not cruelty free any more! By it’s very nature of being sold in China, your brand loses its vegan, cruelty free status that you spent 16 years building. Please explain to me how you plan to campaign against animal testing when it will be happening with your very brand?

“The news that animal issues don’t even register with the average Chinese consumer was one of the biggest factors in our decision to go there.”
You think that YOU, a make up brand of which the Chinese have little to no prior knowledge, is going to make a BLIND BIT OF DIFFERENCE? Talk about delusions of grandeur. They seem to think that they can change China’s flippant attitude towards animals.

“We want to encourage a culture of consumers who care enough to buy cruelty-free products.”
Look, UD, it’s not going to happen just by you deciding to go against everything you’ve ever stood for and turn your back on your millions of existing customers. I’ve got to be completely honest; it’s 2012. If China still doesn’t care enough, I doubt they ever will.

“Yes, we are a for-profit company. And yes, we would eventually like to make money in China. But we don’t stand to turn a profit in China for quite a while, partially because the market isn’t quite ready to sustain an untraditional brand like ours. If it were only about the money, we would wait a few years.”
This is the real kicker. Don’t even TRY and pretend it isn’t about money. You must think we’re a bunch of ignorant fools if you think we believe that it’s got nothing to do with the 1 billion plus population of China and the profit potential. As for China not being ‘ready’, what about all the countries that ARE ready and have been waiting for UD to enter their country for years – Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, etc etc – moreover, countries in which being cruelty free is a good selling point and not one that the population couldn’t give less of a crap about.

The thing that’s made me so ANGRY is that they either genuinely believe all this shit they’re spouting, or they think they can outright lie to us. To be honest, I hope they are lying because it’s just embarrassing if they actually think that their cosmetic brand has the power to influence and change the culture, customs and attitudes that China have had towards animals for thousands of years. UD, you are not god. What the FUCKING HELL makes you think that you can make ANY DIFFERENCE? It’s so puzzling, I mean what are they planning to do? “Hey China, look at our really cool make up! Back when we only sold our products in the Western world, we didn’t test them on animals so we wanted to come here and educate about how wrong and unnecessary it is to test cosmetics on animals. ‘Cept we had to test ‘em here so we could sell them to you. Just take our word for it.”

My outrage about the whole thing is less about animal testing and animal cruelty as such – the thoroughly disgusting abuse of animals in China in general and the lack of ANY animal welfare laws is a whole other kettle of fish – it’s more about the blatant hypocrisy, greed, self-importance and absolute shithead-ery that the brand are displaying by making this move. I would LOVE to know who the hell had the idea in the first place and how many people approved of it before the decision was actually made.

As I said at the beginning of this (rather lengthy) post, I’m not as vigilant as perhaps I should be when it comes to buying cruelty free products. But the fact that Urban Decay have literally just destroyed their relationship with their existing customers by going back on everything they’ve ever stood for is enough to put me off the brand for life. Well done UD, you’ve lost your BUAV leaping bunny status, and you’ve lost the respect and custom of 99% of your existing customer and fan base. Me included. Of all the brands that have become what they are today thanks to their cruelty free status, Urban Decay is one of the very last I would have expected to do a complete U-turn like this.

Urban Decay’s slogan has always been “We don’t do animal testing. How could anyone?”. You just answered your own lifelong question, UD. YOU could. Consider me and ex-customer who will no longer purchase any of your products or advocate them on my blog. Good luck in China, you bunch of absolute cunts.

27 thoughts on “Urban Betray

  1. wow girl reading this blog was like reading my mind absolutely incredible its like you jumped into my head and wrote it out for me.. Its an absolutely disappointment in my eyes and as i said all along MONEY GRABBING HOOLIGANS you would think they would be happy with the money they are getting from their existing customer !!!! no they are taking taking taking but you see if people like you and me are feeling the same in other countries ye they will gain 1 billion in china ye…….but they will lose respect and custom of everyone else all over the world !!!

  2. I totally agree with everything you said. I just also wanted to add what about their commitment to women’s rights? How can they enter a country with such an atrocious human/ women’s rights record and say they stand by that as well. At the end of the day they’re a business and this is jusst one more lesson in corporate greed and the fact that companies will say what they think they need to in order to sell their products

  3. 100% agree with you. Clearly animal welfare truly is not their defining ethic, no longer will I be buying Urban Decay, whom I have always recommended and advocated for years for their animal testing policy. Well written post. xx

  4. Urban Decay’s main aim is to obviously to make money, the same as every other business. China is too much of a huge market to exclude for them.
    I would have said the problem is with the Chinese government, not Urban Decay.

    I do not condone animal testing in anyway, I do try to when I can buy cruelty free, but like yourself, do admit to not doing my homework and buying from brands that do text on animals.

    1. Obviously there’s a HUGE problem with the Chinese government, but Urban Decay aren’t going to change that. The problem IS with Urban Decay because by their very decision to enter the Chinese market they are compromising their ethics beyond belief. It’s not like they don’t already make enough money, and there’s dozens of countries around the world where Urban Decay isn’t available and that wouldn’t compromise their cruelty free stance. Why couldn’t they just enter those countries instead? I’m sure those combined would have more profit potential than China alone anyway.

  5. This post should be required reading for anyone buying cosmetics.

    Should be posted at the entrance to all shops and on all websites before people are allowed to buy.

    China has the worst human rights of any major nation. So their attitude to animals isn’t going to be humane. They treat women, gay people, political dissenters like dirt on the shoe.

    I will not buy anything made there and UD’s position on China is utterly hypocritical. You have picked apart their laughable statement and exposed it as the mercenary untruth it is.

    Thank you.

    1. Haha, thank you Jen. That’s what I don’t understand, how Urban Decay REALLY think that they could even slightly improve China’s attitudes. If their human rights are still this utterly backwards in this day and age, animals will never have any hope. My heart goes out to every single animal with the misfortune to be born in such a hideously cruel country.

  6. UD must think we are FUCKING STUPID. I love how they’re chucking all their existing/loyal/vegan customers under a bus to do this! It’s like some kidn of sick joke.

    1. If only it was a joke. Even if it WAS a joke, they would have destroyed their relationship with existing customers beyond repair because it’s so disgusting.

  7. I admit that although I do not condone animal testing in any way, I am not as careful as I could be about only buying make-up from cruelty-free companies.
    However I have known that Urban Decay were a cruelty-free company right from the beginning and I admired them for that and they have been my favourite high-end brand for eyeshadows since I started getting in to makeup.
    I was genuinely gutted when I heard they were loosening the grip on their cruelty-free image… I don’t think I will be purchasing from them in the future.

    Frances xx


    1. I completely agree – Urban Decay was the first high end make up brand I ever spent money on so it’s sad to say goodbye, but there’s no way I could continue to advocate them.

  8. Can’t believe they are kidding themselves with those excuses, and thinking we will fall for them too.

    Shocking to throw out long-held principles like that, as those they never really mattered in the first place.

    Goodbye Urban Decay. I was nice having you in my make-up bag, but not any more, thanks.

    1. 100% agree. They can’t have mattered at all. And thanks ever so much for the link to the petition in your second comment, I’ve added it to the top of this post in the hope that people will see it and sign!

  9. I love you right now <3
    No matter the bullshit they are spewing out, at the end of they day they are allowing their products to be tested on animals, simple as. A wrong don’t make a right.

    1. THANK YOU! That sums it up perfectly. I don’t care about their ridiculous reasons and excuses, the outcome is still something that goes against everything they’ve ever stood for and that’s unacceptable.

  10. Even if they backtrack and say they won’t sell in China I still won’t buy from them. They very fact that they are considering it shows that their cruelty-free stance was just a pile of crap that they used to sell their products. If they felt that strongly they wouldn’t touch the Chinese market with a barge-pole! The same goes for MAC! I’ll never buy from either company again. It also makes me question other “cruelty-free” companies, are they considering the same move? When does it stop being about morals and start being about a marketing ploy? There’s a massive market for cruelty-free products and I wonder how many companies are using their status for money and how many actually give a damn. It puts me off cosmetics entirely tbh. Maybe I have enough nail polishes.

  11. It’s serious bull.

    What would make a difference?

    “Sorry, China. We know there is a high demand for our products there but we are a cruelty-free company. Evaluate your rules and regulations and then come talk to us.”

    THAT is called making a difference with your cosmetics. I’m with you 100%. Straight deceit or terribly stupid, either way their head is up their ass.

    I used their eye primer like a religion. I also used their flavored/scented body dusts like a religion. I loved many of their other products as well, but those first two I literally could not be without.

    Well there you go, UD! You did make a change!
    You changed me from NEEDING several of your products to suddenly…just..not.

    Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

  12. I can see why you are angry. Some of what they are saying just doesn’t make sense at all. It’s a real pity that they are going to subject their brand to animal testing just to make money.

  13. Thank you sooo much for writing this article! I was considering buying my very first UD products soon (I live in Belgium actually, so it is one hell of a problem to get to the brand as you mentioned) but I am not ever spending a dime on these hypocrits now I know this. They should be ashamed of themselves honestly…

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