The

Watchdog

The Watchdog monitors fundraising, spending, and political activity in the name of animal and habitat protection--both pro and con. His empty bowl stands for all the bowls left empty when some take more than they need.

Body Shop animal testing

policy alleged "a sham"

LOS ANGELES, California--The trademarked slogan "Against Animal Testing" appears at least 10 times in the 1994 version 5 Body Shop catalog.

Inside the back cover, a boldface statement declares, "The Body Shop is against animal testing for cosmetic ingredients and products. We do not commission others to animal test on our behalf, and we support a complete ban of such testing... We also insist that our suppliers not deliver to us any ingredient that has been animal tested for the cosmetics industry within the past five years."

Below, beneath a headline proclaiming, "The Bottom Line," the Body Shop adds, "No cosmetics company can claim its manufactured ingredients have never been tested on animals. The Body Shop, however, goes to great lengths to end such tests, the reliability of which is questionable at best. To emphasize our message, we enforce a five-year rule as a mechanism for change...Every six months we require our suppliers to certify the last date they conducted any animal testing for the cosmetics industry, for any ingredient they supply to us. If the supplier does not comply, or if we discover ingredients that have been animal tested within the last five years, we cease buying the product from the supplier and search for alternative sources. If no such sources can be found, or if we cannot reformulate, we stop making the product. Period."

The pronouncements are just what consumers and investors have come to expect of The Body Shop, long extolled as a leading example of conscientious industry.

However, charges freelance investigative journalist Jon Entine, "The Body Shop policy on animal testing is a complete sham. The evidence in my mind is overwhelming. When the company first got started, Anita Roddick," the flamboyant founder, "didn't have any interest in animal testing as an issue. Her cosmetologist, Mark Constantine, insisted on having a no-animal-testing policy, and then she got interested when it made money."

Entine, a two-time Emmy Award-winning ABC and NBC television news producer who formerly worked with Sam Donaldson, hit The Body Shop legend from all directions with his expose "Shattered Image" in the September/October edition of the Minneapolis-based journal Business Ethics--which summarized his findings while researching an unpublished expose, leading off with the animal testing issue, which he'd authored for Vogue. He was paid in full for the Vogue article, he says, but it never went to press. Vogue publishes a British edition. In Britain, truth by itself is not a defense against libel. The Body Shop threatened to sue. Rather than pay the attorneys' fees involved in fighting back, Vogue rejected the article.

Invented stories?

Included in both the Vogue and Business Ethics exposes were allegations from well-placed sources that Roddick concocted many of her stories about the origin of Body Shop formulas; that the quality of Body Shop products is at the drug store house brand level; that the non-unionized Body Shop staff and franchise-holding distributors often get a raw deal; that the Body Shop uses very few ingredients from the rainforests its purchasing policies purportedly are helping to save; that Third World suppliers have not received much that Roddick promised them; even that Roddick more-or-less stole the company name from an older firm in Berkeley, California, forestalling a possible lawsuit by finally purchasing the rights to it for $3.7 million in 1987, when after enjoying success in England, she moved into the U.S. market.

It's all hot stuff, but of most concern to animal people is the matter of animal testing. According to Entine, The Body Shop maintains a no-animal-testing facade via the five-year-rule, which he contends means little because animal testing of new products is often done more than five years before they hit the market; by purchasing ingredients from wholesalers who don't develop new products and therefore don't do any testing; and by circumvention.

For instance, Entine charged in Business Ethics that The Body Shop in 1991 "purchased Vitamin E acetate from Hoffman LaRoche for use in sunscreen. According to company documents, the supplier had tested the ingredients on animals in 1989 and 1991. The Body Shop characterized the ingredient as a pharmaceutical, and as such, not subject to its rule banning animal-tested cosmetics ingredients." As source, Entine cited Hoffman LaRoche vice president of cosmetics specialties Dave Djerrasi.

"In an internal memo dated May 19, 1992," Entine wrote in the unpublished Vogue article, bootlegged copies of which have circulated among British and American media for some time, "the Body Shop's purchasing manager acknowledged that 46.5% of its ingredients had been tested on animals, up from 34% the year before." Body Shop memos issued in 1991 and 1992 indicate that from 53.2% to 59.7% of ingredients as of then were not animal-tested, while about 28% had been animal-tested within a decade.

False advertising

As far back as September 6, 1989, the Regional Court of Dusseldorf, Germany, barred The Body Shop from using statements such as, "We test neither our raw materials nor our end products on animals," on grounds this would be misleading advertising. Upon appeal, the verdict was upheld by the Higher Regional Court of Dusseldorf, which found no substantial difference between the animal testing policy of The Body Shop and that of other cosmetics manufacturers.

The Entine exposes, now extensively discussed in The New York Times, the magazine In These Times, and British media, is also embarrassing the British Union Against Vivisection. Since 1987 the BUAV has endorsed The Body Shop in exchange for promotional considerations. In 1989, Entine says, the BUAV even changed its policy on animal testing to accommodate The Body Shop.

On September 5, BUAV head of information and research Malcolm Eames warned Entine that his accusations were "grossly defamatory," and that his alleged action "in circulating material defamatory to this society to investment funds and ethical investment companies," who requested copies of his published article, was "clearly incompatible with" his "claim to be acting as a bona fide journalist." The letter added that the matter had been turned over to the BUAV solicitors, the firm of Gregory Rowcliffe and Milners.

Other reported former Body Shop allies, including the International Fund for Animal Welfare and the Fund for the Replacement of Animals in Medical Experiments, have apparently withdrawn from their association.

Body Shop representative Brian Weaver promised on September 14 to rush to ANIMAL PEOPLE an official response to Entine's charges, but as of midnight September 21, no response had been received.