Ricky Gervais blasts testing on animals
Comedian and actor Ricky Gervais has waded into a row over the testing of cosmetic products on animals.
The Office star lashed out after companies were accused of putting profits before ethics to sell their products to China, where animal testing can be a legal requirement.
Cosmetics testing on animals has not been allowed in the UK since 1998, and a Europe-wide ban on the sale of animal-tested beauty products will be fully in force by next year.
The Chinese government reserves the right to carry out animal tests on cosmetic products before approving them for sale in China.
Mr Gervais spoke up in support of Humane Society International's "Be Cruelty Free" campaign which aims to halt cosmetics animal testing around the world.
He said: "Like me, most people will be shocked to learn that testing cosmetics on animals is often still a legal requirement in China.
"By law, rabbits must have cosmetic chemicals dripped in their eyes or spread over their sensitive skin, causing sores and bleeding. It makes me really angry that this is still going on, and it makes me particularly angry that some previously cruelty-free companies are abandoning their principles and returning to animal testing in order to profit from the Chinese market."
Last year a number of cosmetics manufacturers involved with China were removed from the list of those granted the cruelty-free "Leaping Bunny" trademark.
They include Yves Rocher, L'Occitane, Mary Kay and Caudalie.
Mr Gervais added: "China's cosmetics market is worth billions of dollars and virtually every major global cosmetic company is getting a piece of the action.
"It remains one of the few countries in the world to insist on animal testing, so companies manufacturing there have made the very clear choice to test lipsticks and shampoo on animals to increase their profit margins."
He praised the global brand Urban Decay for deciding not to sell its products to China after protests from animal welfare groups and consumers.
Urban Decay was temporarily removed from the Leaping Bunny list but has been reinstated.
"Ethical principles shouldn't be up for sale," said Mr Gervais. "You cannot put a price on morality and compassion.
"So I say congratulations to Urban Decay, a massive cosmetics brand that recently made a very public U-turn when it realised its plans to start selling in China would have meant unnecessary suffering for hundreds of animals. In deciding against selling in China, Urban Decay has sent a very powerful message to the rest of the industry - you don't have to sell your soul in order to be a globally successful cosmetics brand."