An image in circulation allegedly shows a rabbit that was used for cosmetics testing by L’Oreal.
The image is real, but the caption is misleading.
The image does not show an animal that was used for cosmetics testing, but a rabbit which had been treated for severe ear mites. The photo was originally posted on the Lake Howell Animal Clinic (now archived) website with the description, “Psoroptes cuniculi infestation in rabbit.”
The same photo can also be found on a change.org petition entitled “L’Oreal: Stop Animal Cruelty! STOP TESTING ON INNOCENT ANIMALS!!!” That petition, which is now closed, amassed 28,000 signatures.
A highly re-blogged post on Tumblr also claims the photo is a “bunny testing” image:
This is how L’Oreal tests all their make-up and shampoo products for skin safety.
Do you think ‘beauty’ is worth what this fragile bunny has suffered?
Don’t buy L’Oreal. End it NOW. Its in YOUR hands.
The cosmetics company has answered questions about photos of such animals, stating that they have eliminated 99% of all testing since 1989, and that the remaining 1% consists only of rats and mice.
There are many images online of rabbits, dogs, monkeys that would have been tested on, are these true?
No, we assure you that L’Oreal has nothing to do with these images or those practices.
The only laboratory animals used for testing purposes are rats and mice.
L’Oreal was on PETA’s “don’t test” list until 2000 after L’Oreal stated it does not test its finished products on animals but did not mention ingredient testing. PETA has concluded that L’Oreal is “probably not cruel-free.”
L’Oreal products are available in China, where animal testing is required and carried out at local labs. L’Oreal has addressed this, stating, “In the specific case of China, the regulatory authorities continue to require tests on animals, which they carry out for all cosmetics products before they are placed on their market.” PETA estimates that 72 animals – including rabbits – are tested per product in China. The Body Shop, a brand by L’Oreal, is not available in China because it refuses all animal testing.
Despite years of debunking this particular photo, L’Oreal still fields questions about it regularly, such as in the April 2015 tweet below.
— L’Oréal Paris UK (@LOrealParisUK) April 17, 2015
The rabbit in the photo above was not tested for cosmetics by L’Oreal, but had been treated for ear mites at an animal clinic. It is possible that the photo was merely selected as a graphic representation of animal testing by a popular change.org petition. L’Oreal states that it tests only on rats and mice in 1% of their products, but they also must submit products for animal testing in China.
- L’OrEal used to be included on the cruelty-free list. Now I see that it is included on the “do test” list. What happened? (PETA)
- China Animal Testing Complicates L’Oreal’s Expansion (Bloomberg News: August 22, 2013)
Updated April 21, 2015
Originally published December 2013