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Compassionate Shopping

 L’Oreal Response

Thank you to everyone who has written to L’Oreal. Responses have been flooding into the office, and many of these indicate L’Oreal have no regard for controlling new ingredients, which ultimately require animal testing.

In a letter received January 2005, L’Oreal claim the concept of a Fixed Cut Off Date (widely recognised as the most ethical testing policy)

"...is not an effective or practical means to reduce and eliminate animal testing."

How effective is a Fixed Cut of Date?

One of the key principles of the fixed cut off date is that Companies that do adopt a fixed cut off date commit to only using ingredients which have been tested on animals before a specific date, and in doing so avoid newly developed ingredients which have involved animal testing, thereby effectively reducing and eliminating the need for animal testing.

Is the Fixed Cut Off Date policy Practical?

To evaluate whether the fixed cut off date is practical one only needs to turn to those companies who have already implemented the fixed cut off date policy, companies such as The Body Shop, and Co-op have adopted fixed cut off dates successfully - it follows that the fixed cut off date is practical.

Text of L'Oreal's letter

Dear Madam,

I write with reference and in response to your recent query. I would like to reassure you with regard to our policy on animal testing and illustrate our commitment.

  • L'Oreal stopped animal testing on its entire range of cosmetic products fourteen years ago.

  • Last year alone, we spent over £lOm on funding alternatives to animal testing and have achieved some important successes, especially linked to the development of reconstructed skin models. These human skin models, developed from human skin cells by means of in vitro techniques, are used to obtain a better understanding of the biological mechanisms of skin and to evaluate the efficacy and tolerance of our products.

  • For twenty years we have supported both UK and international research organisations in the search for alternative safety testing methods. Moreover, we have also co-operated with our competitors in this common objective.

Our pledge is to make products that are safe for humans and safe for the environment. We want all our customers to be sure that they or their families will not come to any harm.

However, your and indeed everyone's confidence in safety is achieved because the chemical substances in cosmetics and, in fact, in most of the products that we use in our daily lives are legally required to have undergone compulsory safety tests which in some cases includes tests on animals. You may be interested to know that 99.7% of animal tests undertaken in Europe are for other purposes than cosmetics.

It is true that there are many different views and approaches to the issue of animal testing which we fully respect and understand. However, as is the case for the vast majority of other cosmetic companies we believe that a fixed cut off date is not an effective or practical means to reduce and eliminate animal testing. We believe firmly that dedicated scientific research into alternative methods is the only way which will enable chemical ingredient manufacturers in the future to stop all testing. L'Oreal does not undertake animal testing itselt but we remain committed to achieving the goal of a future without animal testing through the development of alternative testing methods.

Please be assured that at L'Oreal we are aware of your concerns and we are striving to achieve a common objective. Like you we do not want animal testing and we remain fully committed to finding alternatives.

Thank you again for contacting us and giving us the opportunity to respond.

Yours sincerely,

Name deleted
Acting Director of Corporate Communications

  • At first sight L'Oreal's animal testing policy might seem ethical; however, EU legislation requires that all newly developed cosmetic ingredients have to be tested on animals to assess safety, until validated alternatives are available.

  • Any development of alternatives to animal testing is welcomed, however over the past twenty years, alternatives have been found and validated for only 4 tests. Tests for which there are presently no alternatives include toxicity tests and skin irritation tests, until alternatives to these tests do become available, these tests continue to use animals.

  • In citing European legislation, and the legal requirement for compulsory safety testing of chemical substances, the letter sidesteps the real issue, that by not including new ingredients, the need to test new substances on animals would be eliminated.

Template letter to L'Oreal

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