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frequently asked questions
1. Why are you asking me to boycott Herbal Essences products?
2. But I thought that testing shampoos on animals was a thing of the past?
3. But most people oppose testing shampoos on animals – how can Herbal Essences get away with it?
4. But I’m just one individual, what difference can I make?
5. But I quite like Herbal Essences
6. What shampoos can I buy?
7. Is there anything else I can do to save animals from such wanton cruelty?
8. Is Herbal Essences part of a bigger company?
9. But Procter & Gamble claim that they only test on animals as a last resort – does this mean they really do care about animals and are doing their best to avoid cruelty?
10. Procter & Gamble state that they have spent over $150 million on developing alternatives (since 1984), doesn’t that show how committed they are to stopping animal testing?

why are you asking me to boycott herbal essences products?

We have direct evidence of animal testing of an ingredient found in Herbal Essences. This ingredient – butylparaben – was tested and declared safe many years ago. However, Herbal Essences force-fed butylparaben to pregnant rats to see if it harmed their developing offspring in a test that killed 100 pregnant mothers and their 1,200 baby animals.

A scientific expert and Government advisor on animal testing who has reviewed this experiment described it as “a profligate and wasteful use of animals.”

We are asking you to boycott Herbal Essences shampoos to show your opposition to such unnecessary cruelty. Through publicity and loss of income, together we can encourage Herbal Essences to stop testing on animals.

but i thought that testing shampoos on animals was a thing of the past?

Unfortunately not. Although such tests have been effectively banned in Britain for ten years, most shampoos and other cosmetics* on sale in the UK are, like Herbal Essences, international brands who perform animal tests abroad.

but most people oppose testing shampoos on animals - how can hherbal essences get away with it?

Yes indeed, the vast majority of people are against this type of testing. But sadly, most people are unaware that it still goes on. Groups like Uncaged who are against animal testing have relatively little money to publicise the truth, while Herbal Essences can spend millions of pounds on advertising. Herbal Essences earn millions from sales, but Uncaged is totally dependent on donations from compassionate individuals. That’s why donating to Uncaged is so important – without donations we can’t alert people to what’s really happening, and Herbal Essences can get away with their cruelty to defenceless animals.

but i'm just one individual, what difference can i make?

Every single one of us is the vital step to a better world. Every single action we take can affect others for better – or for worse. If no one takes responsibility for their actions then nothing good can ever be achieved. Herbal Essences are desperate for public approval and support. If you boycott them, then you deny them what they need. A boycott is the most significant moral action that people can take to show disapproval and ostracise unethical companies. This is essential to achieve positive change.

Please send a message to Herbal Essences by signing our pledge to boycott them. The more support we gain for this compassionate crusade, the more other people will also take notice and feel empowered to do the right thing by boycotting Herbal Essences. Together we can build a new culture of respect for animals.

but i quite like herbal essences

The vast majority of people realise it is extremely callous to subject innocent animals to sustained pain and death just for the trivial benefits of a shampoo, especially when there are perfectly good alternatives out there which haven’t been tested on animals. If you buy Herbal Essences, then you are poisoning animals to death.

what shampoos can i buy?

On the high street, Lush and Marks and Spencer shampoos have signed up to an independently verified policy which ensures their products are not associated with any animal testing. Check out this page for a list of some cruelty-free shampoos. Or you can order a comprehensive Compassionate Shopping Guide to the testing practices of shampoos and other consumer products.

is there anything else i can do to save animals from such wanton cruelty?

Yes, it would really help if you asked your MP to put pressure on the Government to enforce a Europe-wide ban on the sale of animal-tested shampoos and other cosmetics*. This would pile huge pressure on companies to stop such unnecessary cruelty as they would be excluded from a multi-billion pound market for their products. Click here to contact your MP.

is herbal essences part of a bigger company?

Yes, Herbal Essences is one of Procter & Gamble’s brands. This American-based corporation is the world’s largest consumer products company. You can find out more about Procter & Gamble, what they make, and their animal testing practices by clicking here.

but procter and gamble claim that they only test on animals as a last resort - does this mean they really do care about animals and are doing their best to avoid cruelty?

Sadly, no. Procter & Gamble spend lots of money on clever PR to give the impression they care about animals. But their claims do not stand up to scrutiny.

Far from animal testing being a last resort for Procter & Gamble, they promote animal testing by constantly inventing new chemicals to go in their shampoos and other products. This is what creates the legal pressure to do animal tests. They also conduct animal tests that are not required by law - the Herbal Essences case is just one example.

Procter & Gamble have even been caught out trying to secretly lobby the European Union in support of animal testing of cosmetics. In reality, all they care about is maximizing profits, and are happy to sacrifice animals in pursuit of that goal.

Hundreds of companies produce shampoos etc without animal testing. The bottom line is that Procter & Gamble could stop animal testing for Herbal Essences and other cosmetics immediately if they genuinely wanted to.

procter and gamble state that they have spent over $150 million on developing alternatives ( since 1984), doesn't that show how committed they are to stopping animal testing?

No. Procter & Gamble could stop their animal testing immediately if they decided to use the thousands of existing ingredients that already have a proven safety record from being used by humans. The bottom line is that they put profits ahead of animals – it’s pure greed.

Procter & Gamble’s own scientific papers show that some of these proposed ‘alternatives’ are just slightly less cruel types of animal test, rather than truly humane, non-animal alternatives. Furthermore, they are actually spending large sums of money developing new animal tests.

In fact, there are several reasons to be suspicious about their claim regarding spending on alternatives. Firstly, one of the reasons they say it is because they tested it on focus groups and found it was the most persuasive excuse they could give for their animal testing practices. Secondly, the figure they quote for alternatives spending changes from statement to statement, and they have produced no evidence to back up the claim. It seems more like cynical spin, not reliable fact.

Even if we accept Procter & Gamble’s claim at face value, then this translates to just 0.6% of their total spending on research. Even more startling, the amount spent by Procter & Gamble on developing alternatives is approximately 1/1000, or 0.1%, of the amount that it spends on advertising. So their commitment is not quite so impressive when put in context.

Note
*We’re using the legal definition of ‘cosmetics’ here, which includes anything applied to the outside of the body for cleaning and vanity purposes, so it includes shampoos and other toiletries.

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