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$100 Million Lawsuit Against Estee Lauder, Avon And Mary Kay Over False Claims About Animal Testing

LOS ANGELES — Eagan Avenatti, LLP announced today the filing of a class action lawsuit against cosmetic companies Estee Lauder, Avon Products, and Mary Kay on behalf of American consumers deceived by the companies’ false and misleading representations relating to animal testing of their products. Beltran et al. v. Estee Lauder, et al., United States District Court — Central District of California, Case No. SA12-CV312 CJC (ANX).

The Class Action complaint alleges that Estee Lauder, Avon and Mary Kay purposely defrauded consumers by falsely claiming that their products were not tested on animals when, in reality, the companies knew full well that they had begun testing various cosmetic products on animals. The complaint further alleges that the companies deliberately misled the American public by claiming their products were “cruelty free” at the same time the companies undertook animal testing in order to sell their products in China and reap hundreds of millions of dollars in Chinese sales. The complaint seeks to certify a class of over 1,000,000 consumers and requests over $100,000,000 in punitive and compensatory damages.

On February 16, 2012, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) announced that Estee Lauder, Avon and Mary Kay had been removed from the organization’s “cruelty free” list of companies that do not test on animals after it was discovered that the companies were performing animal testing. PETA subsequently downgraded the companies and listed them on PETA’s list of companies that do conduct animal testing.

“While it may make economic sense for a company to pursue sales in China, those sales should not occur at the expense of fundamental principles,” stated co-counsel for the Plaintiffs Michael Avenatti of Eagan Avenatti, LLP. “Estee Lauder, Avon and Mary Kay should have been open and honest with the American public and told the truth — that sales and profits were more important to them than refusing to conduct animal testing.”

“This case is about being open and honest with consumers,” added co-counsel Filippo Marchino of The X-Law Group, P.C. “If you advertise that you are not conducting animal testing, then you shouldn’t be conducting animal testing — it’s that simple.”

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10 years ago

One of the reasons I’ve used MK for years and Estee Lauder on occasion is because they were “cruelty free” – I’m very upset about this! And searching for new product…bye bye MK…I’ve been a client for 15 yrs…..

10 years ago
Reply to  dwinter

I know how you must feel, that’s one of the reasons I am now using a 100% vegan company which offers wonderful personal care & nutritinal products – I trully love the products and love what the company stands for. It’s a fairly small company (compare to those giants mentioned above), but it’s been standing strong against those “defenders” for over 30 years now. I guess there is something to say about prinicples. Anyways, I am not into advertising here in this forum, but if you like to know more I’d be happy to share 🙂 …….  

10 years ago

Mary Kay does NOT test on animals!!! Where is the proof??? I have been a consultant for 6 years. This false accusations are going to cause chaos!

Crystal Fox Robinson
10 years ago

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UPDATE: A Message from Darrell Overcash

Published 02.29.12

Some of you may have seen or heard
news coverage regarding a decision by PETA (People for the Ethical
Treatment of Animals), the animal activist organization, to change the
status of Mary Kay and other cosmetics companies on its website, moving
us from its list of “Companies That Do Not Test on Animals” to its list
of “Companies That Do Test on Animals.”

We want to be extremely clear about the facts and ensure you have all the information:
Mary Kay is deeply committed to the elimination of animal testing and
our actions and our record speak to that. We have been a longstanding
leader on this issue. Our policy has not changed. Let us say again – we
do not conduct animal testing on our products or ingredients, nor ask
others to do so on our behalf, except when absolutely required by law.
There is only one country where we operate where that is the case and
where we are required to submit our products for testing
– China. You can be assured that none of the products you
purchase in the United States (or Canada, Latin America, Europe and most
all other Asian countries, for that matter) are tested on animals.

For more than 20 years, we have been
a global leader in the commitment to end animal testing. We are
working very closely with the Chinese government to demonstrate that
alternative testing methods ensure safe and effective products. In
fact, Mary Kay is the first founding member of the
International Outreach Consortium of the
Institute for In Vitro Sciences, Inc. (IIVS),
created to promote internationally the principles of non-animal safety
testing. We are also creating the very first laboratory as part of the
Key Laboratory for Research on Cosmetics Alternative Toxicology
in China. This innovative lab will be instrumental in the evaluation,
validation and, we hope the eventual acceptance and adoption of
alternative testing methods.

Along with being a leader in
advocating for alternative testing methods and sponsoring an alternative
testing laboratory in China, Mary Kay has also done the following:

Mary Kay was one of the first companies to meet with Chinese safety authorities to discuss alternative testing methods.

We sponsored an “Alternatives to
Animal Experimentation for Cosmetics” conference in Beijing in April
2011 organized by the China Cosmetics Research Center in the Beijing
Technology and Business University.

We were also one of the first
companies to work directly with the dermatology experts used by the
Chinese government in their review process of alternative testing in
lieu of animal testing for cosmetic products. In fact, we sponsored a
symposium for dermatologists in China on the use of human clinical
methods for product safety in 2007.

We conducted an educational forum for the
Chinese Society for Toxicology in 2009 to again share information on alternative testing methods.

Mary Kay is one of only two
cosmetic companies listed as scientific contributors to the first book
in Chinese describing alternative principles and applications.

We have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing at Johns Hopkins University.

As you can see, finding alternatives to animal testing has, and will continue to be, a top priority for Mary Kay.


You might be asking yourself, if
this is such an important issue to Mary Kay, then why doesn’t the
company simply leave China? There are several reasons. First, we have
an impressive record encouraging the Chinese government to consider
alternative testing methods. But, if we’re no longer doing business in
China that means we’re no longer at the table and the Chinese government
will not be interested in what we have to say. And, if we did leave
that means this extremely important issue would be left to those who do
not care as much or at all.


We at Mary Kay are passionate about
the elimination of animal testing and our actions and our record speak
to that. That commitment has not changed or wavered and it never will.




Darrell Overcash 

This came directly from my login as a consultant. There are false accusations from PETA or
whomever decided to start this rumor!

© 2012 Mary Kay, Inc.

Crystal Fox Robinson
10 years ago

Mary Kay has not ever tested their products on animals! The president sent the consultants an email that I posted earlier and has since been deleted! I have been a consultant since 2006. MK has been around since 1963, why would they test their products on animals? An actual person started this company with her savings. It was her dream to do this! Again, they do NOT test their products on animals!

10 years ago

I just started selling Avon a few months ago. Needed some extra cash and they had a good record on animal rights. Or so I thought. I’m beyond dismayed. And I will NOT lie to customers even if it means losing sales.

10 years ago

NOT going to be selling Avon any more!

10 years ago

Arbonne- over 30 years cruelty free and NO animal products used ever.

Evelyn Ball
10 years ago

Also not going to be selling Avon anymore.  

9 years ago


amanda delgado
amanda delgado
9 years ago

Now is a great opportunity to sell Jafra Cosmetics that has been in business for over 50yrs. This company offers one of the best incentive programs to their consultants which attributes to an amazing skincare product.


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