UPDATE 1/17/14: From reader Terri, an article about Boots Expanding in China
I know many of us have questions about Boots No 7′s animal testing policy, so I contacted them. I asked whether ingredients or finished products are tested on animals, whether a third party conducts animal tests on Boots’ behalf, whether they sell in countries that require animal testing, and whether Boots plans to become Leaping Bunny certified or listed by PETA. They responded quickly to my questions – within 24 hours. Their response:
Thank you for contacting Boots.
We do not use animals to test our products, nor do we have animal testing conducted on our behalf or by anyone else. Instead, we ensure product safety through state-of-the-art testing methods on human volunteers. Lanolin is derived from sheep’s wool, and as such is an animal by product. Of course the animal is completely unharmed. Thank you for your interest.
We are looking into several markets, such as the CCIC or LEAPING BUNNY PROGRAM, as part of future packaging artwork changes. Though we have always been cruelty free and done our testing on people, over 50,000 volunteers each year, we understand that more people are wanting to see this stated on the packaging.
Sincerely, Boots Customer Service
Initially, I felt this was an encouraging response. But I realized the one point they did not address is whether Boots No 7 is sold in countries that require animal testing.
I asked PETA and the CCIC if they knew anything. From PETA, I got a standard response form. The CCIC (who are incredibly helpful) said they couldn’t vouch for Boots No 7, because they aren’t currently part of the Leaping Bunny Program. They reiterated that, until a company is part of the Leaping Bunny Program, we can’t be sure of it’s animal testing policy, either way.
In the Alliance Boots 2009/10 Annual Review, they state (on page 8): “We also have pharmacies in Thailand and our associates and joint ventures operate pharmacies in Switzerland, China, Lithuania and Italy.” As we know, animal testing is required on cosmetics sold in most areas in China.
It looks like Alliance Boots’ involvement in China is with Guangzhou Pharmaceuticals Corporation. As I understand it, this is a pharmaceutical company which provides medical supplies to Chinese hospitals. I couldn’t find anything that indicated whether Boots No 7 sells their beauty and skincare lines in China.
Ultimately, this is all just information that may or may not be accurate and the decision of whether to support Boots No 7 is up to you. At this point, I just don’t know for sure that they’re cruelty-free, so I am personally opting not to continue recommending Boots No 7 products on this blog until they are certified by either the Leaping Bunny or listed by PETA.