Since changing to a cruelty-free lifestyle two and a half years ago I have religiously shopped at Superdrug. (To be clear, this is the brand I am speaking of: Superdrug) When transitioning it was just so handy! They had everything. Their own-brand products were cruelty-free. Everything was clearly labelled when suitable for vegetarians and vegans and they also stocked other cruelty-free brands like Gosh and Barry M.
Did I mean they were also cheap as chips, with special offers on all the time? It was a conscious shopper’s dream!
That said, months into my transition, my BFF told me of a rumour he heard online about their parent company. At the time I was unaware they even had a parent company and was still using cruelty-free brands owned by non-cruelty-free companies myself. Superdrug is owned by A. S. Watson. I was unable to find anything definitive online about their stance on animal-testing, so naturally I decided to ask.
I found it difficult to get an answer to my questions about A. S. Watson from Superdrug and a direct contact to the parent company was hard to find. Many of my emails went unanswered, probably because Superdrug didn’t know the answers.
But I have finally found the answer I needed, though not the one I wanted.
Here is there email:
In general, A.S. Watson Group does not request or mandate animal testing in its Markets; however China is the only Market still requiring animal testing to register certain cosmetic products (cosmetics manufactured in China or imported from outside of China) and we have no choice but to abide by the Chinese laws.
We follow the legislations of each Market where we operate; so for products sold outside of China, in countries where animal testing is banned on ingredients or finished product, we prefer manufacturers located in countries where such tests are not required either, during manufacturing.
Animal tests on ingredients and finished products were required worldwide to assess potential safety issues (e.g. acute toxicity, skin/eyes irritation or sensitisation), before alternative ‘in chemico’ or ‘in vitro’ measures where made available.
Nowadays, whenever we need to have a specific claim substantiated through test on finished products (e.g. ‘suitable for sensitive skins’), these tests are carried by external Agencies and are not done on animals. Our Manufacturers do not carry or mandate tests on ingredients, as they buy them from renown ingredients manufacturers who themselves comply with non-animal testing requirements.
Group Public Relations
A.S. Watson Group
In short, while Superdrug is cruelty-free and Leaping Bunny approved, it is owned by A. S. Watson, who test on animals where required by law. 😥
I’ll always admire a company for being straight up and just telling the truth about their testing policies. After all, I was given the information I needed in the first paragraph. Very often I get pages and pages of legal jargon in response to my questions, where the truth is buried deep between the lines
That said, I was peeved by the idea that they have “no choice” but to test on animals in order to sell in certain parts of the world. How about just don’t sell your products in the that part of the world? Would it be so bad for your bottom line that it’s not worth leaving defenceless lab animals alone?
So, I will be updating my Cruelty-Free shopping List to reflect that Superdrug have a parent company that tests on animals. I will also no longer be purchasing from Superdrug. I’m not gonna lie, that’s going to be a pain in the hole! I get all my basics there like toothpaste, soap, deodorant etc. And while I love trying new things, Superdrug was a great fail-safe when you find yourself short of time for research, which I have been since beginning to work full-time after college.
That said, the extra time it will take for me to find alternatives will be worth it. Animal-testing is something I feel very strongly about. I’ll do a post on all the reasons why, but in short, I find it to be needless cruelty with no benefit.
I have tonnes of Superdrug products still lying around and because I despise waste I will be using them up but I won’t be featuring them online or on any of my social media platforms going forward.
Despite the bad news, hopefully this will lead to me being able to share with you even more cruelty-free brands, with vegan options!
And as an aside, remember my BFF who happens to be my vegan-guru too? We’re thinking of starting a podcast about all things animal liberation and welfare related! Would you be interested in that? Let me know in the comments and let us know about any topics in particular you want to learn about through that.
Have a great day! 😀