Body Shop animal testing policy alleged “a sham”

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 1994:

LOS ANGELES, California––The
trademarked slogan “Against Animal Testing”
appears at least 10 times in the 1994 version 5
Body Shop catalog.
Inside the back cover, a boldface
statement declares, “The Body Shop is against
animal testing for cosmetic ingredients and
products. We do not commission others to ani-
mal test on our behalf, and we support a com-
plete ban of such testing… We also insist that
our suppliers not deliver to us any ingredient
that has been animal tested for the cosmetics
industry within the past five years.”

Below, beneath a headline proclaim-
ing, “The Bottom Line,” the Body Shop adds,
“No cosmetics company can claim its manufac-
tured ingredients have never been tested on
animals. The Body Shop, however, goes to
great lengths to end such tests, the reliability
of which is questionable at best. To emphasize
our message, we enforce a five-year rule as a
mechanism for change…Every six months we
require our suppliers to certify the last date
they conducted any animal testing for the cos-
metics industry, for any ingredient they supply
to us. If the supplier does not comply, or if we
discover ingredients that have been animal test-
ed within the last five years, we cease buying
the product from the supplier and search for
alternative sources. If no such sources can be
found, or if we cannot reformulate, we stop
making the product. Period.”
The pronouncements are just what
consumers and investors have come to expect
of The Body Shop, long extolled as a leading
example of conscientious industry.
However, charges freelance inves-
tigative journalist Jon Entine, “The Body Shop
policy on animal testing is a complete sham.
The evidence in my mind is overwhelming.
When the company first got started, Anita
Roddick,” the flamboyant founder, “didn’t
have any interest in animal testing as an issue.
Her cosmetologist, Mark Constantine, insisted
on having a no-animal-testing policy, and then
she got interested when it made money.”
Entine, a two-time Emmy Award-
winning ABC and NBC television news pro-
ducer who formerly worked with Sam
Donaldson, hit The Body Shop legend from all
directions with his expose “Shattered Image” in
the September/October edition of the
Minneapolis-based journal Business
Ethics––which summarized his findings while
researching an unpublished expose, leading off
with the animal testing issue, which he’d
authored for Vogue. He was paid in full for
the Vogue article, he says, but it never went
to press. Vogue publishes a British edition. In
Britain, truth by itself is not a defense against
libel. The Body Shop threatened to sue.
Rather than pay the attorneys’ fees involved in
fighting back, Vogue rejected the article.
Invented stories?
Included in both the V o g u e a n d
Business Ethics exposes were allegations from
well-placed sources that Roddick concocted
many of her stories about the origin of Body
Shop formulas; that the quality of Body Shop
products is at the drug store house brand level;
that the non-unionized Body Shop staff and
franchise-holding distributors often get a raw
deal; that the Body Shop uses very few ingre-
dients from the rainforests its purchasing poli-
cies purportedly are helping to save; that
Third World suppliers have not received much
that Roddick promised them; even that
Roddick more-or-less stole the company name
from an older firm in Berkeley, California,
forestalling a possible lawsuit by finally pur-
chasing the rights to it for $3.7 million in
1987, when after enjoying success in
England, she moved into the U.S. market.
t’s all hot stuff, but of most concern
to animal people is the matter of animal test-
ing. According to Entine, The Body Shop
maintains a no-animal-testing facade via the
five-year-rule, which he contends means little
because animal testing of new products is
often done more than five years before they hit
the market; by purchasing ingredients from
wholesalers who don’t develop new products
and therefore don’t do any testing; and by cir-
cumvention.
For instance, Entine charged in
Business Ethics that The Body Shop in 1991
“purchased Vitamin E acetate from Hoffman
LaRoche for use in sunscreen. According to
company documents, the supplier had tested
the ingredients on animals in 1989 and 1991.
The Body Shop characterized the ingredient as
a pharmaceutical, and as such, not subject to
its rule banning animal-tested cosmetics ingre-
dients.” As source, Entine cited Hoffman
LaRoche vice president of cosmetics special-
ties Dave Djerrasi.
“In an internal memo dated May 19,
1992,” Entine wrote in the unpublished
V o g u e article, bootlegged copies of which
have circulated among British and American
media for some time, “the Body Shop’s pur-
chasing manager acknowledged that 46.5% of
its ingredients had been tested on animals, up
from 34% the year before.” Body Shop
memos issued in 1991 and 1992 indicate that
from 53.2% to 59.7% of ingredients as of then
were not animal-tested, while about 28% had
been animal-tested within a decade.
False advertising
As far back as September 6, 1989,
the Regional Court of Dusseldorf, Germany,
barred The Body Shop from using statements
such as, “We test neither our raw materials
nor our end products on animals,” on grounds
this would be misleading advertising. Upon
appeal, the verdict was upheld by the Higher
Regional Court of Dusseldorf, which found
no substantial difference between the animal
testing policy of The Body Shop and that of
other cosmetics manufacturers.
The Entine exposes, now extensive-
ly discussed in The New York Times, the mag-
azine In These Times, and British media, is
also embarrassing the British Union Against
Vivisection. Since 1987 the BUAV has
endorsed The Body Shop in exchange for pro-
motional considerations. In 1989, Entine says,
the BUAV even changed its policy on animal
testing to accommodate The Body Shop.
On September 5, BUAV head of
information and research Malcolm Eames
warned Entine that his accusations were
“grossly defamatory,” and that his alleged
action “in circulating material defamatory to
this society to investment funds and ethical
investment companies,” who requested copies
of his published article, was “clearly incompat-
ible with” his “claim to be acting as a bona fide
journalist.” The letter added that the matter had
been turned over to the BUAV solicitors, the
firm of Gregory Rowcliffe and Milners.
Other reported former Body Shop
allies, including the International Fund for
Animal Welfare and the Fund for the
Replacement of Animals in Medical
Experiments, have apparently withdrawn from
their association.
Body Shop representative Brian
Weaver promised on September 14 to rush to
ANIMAL PEOPLE an official response to
Entine’s charges, but as of midnight September
21, no response had been received.
Print Friendly

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *