For the past couple of years, I have been absolutely horrified by the number of companies that have resumed testing their skin care products on animals. As incomes in China have grown, large beauty companies began drooling over the dollars they believed were to be found in the East. The fact that China requires skin care products to be tested on animals for “safety reasons” wasn’t even the slightest barrier. Not with the promise of such large profits. Company after company has quietly removed anti-cruelty statements from their websites. Hoping their existing customers wouldn’t notice.
I’m not sure what we can do to stop this horrible trend, but in the interim, I started emailing the CEO’s of the “big boys” to try and change their minds. Not one has ever replied. I guess that says a lot in itself.
Emails to Jean-Paul Agon, Chairman of L’Oreal
From: Claire Gutschow <email@example.com>
Date: November 6, 2012 8:41:40 AM PST
Subject: Attention Jean-Paul Agon (or anyone else important that can make a difference)
Dear Jean-Paul (or maybe I should say Mr Agon? I’m not sure if its ok to call gazzilionaires by their first names?) Sorry if I’ve offended.
I know it would be better if I wrote this in French. You being French, and running a French company and all. I was going to try, but my French Rosetta Stone was mauled by my basset hound (true story). Which I thought was kinda ironic, seeing that bassets are a French breed and all. Maybe she wanted to stay all dark and brooding and misunderstood? You know, like a doggy version of Nina Simone?
I should probably introduce myself in case you think I’m a stalker or something. I have a small (tiny in comparison to yours) skin care company. And I’m pretty damn proud of the product we make and how we make it. And I was wondering whether you can say the same? Of course you’re super successful – you probably bath in champagne and sprinkle rose petals on your bed each night. For the record, I’ve done that (the rose petals, not the champagne) and I gotta say, its overrated. Its a bi%^ch to get them off the sheets. But I guess you have a housekeeper for that? Maybe she can send me some cleaning tips on Pinterest?
Anyway, I digress. What I would like to know is this… when you go to sleep at night, and the lights are off, and you have only your thoughts for company, are you proud of what you do? Really?
Because what you do hurts animals. And I know I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night knowing that. Even if I had rose petals and a champagne bath. Maybe you take lots of sleeping pills? That must be it. I took one once and I forgot everything. Even the 2lb bag of bite size Kit-Kats I somehow ate in the night.
Well next time you’re in your champagne bath, all groggy from your sleeping pills. And you get shampoo in your eye, and you’re groping for a wash cloth, and cursing “Zut alors, zut alors”… think about how much it hurts, and then think about how much your company hurts animals every day.
And hopefully that day, you’ll take the first step to making the world a happier place instead of a sadder one.
And then again on November 16, 2012
Dear Mr Agon,
I’m following up on my last email, since I never had a response from you. Is it because I wrote in English? Just to clarify… I’m from America, not England. I know French people have a long history of war and fracas with the English and I would hate for you to think I was part of that. Just thought I’d clarify.
And AGAIN on November 19, 2012
Dear Mr Agon
I still haven’t heard back from you – thanks for making me feel like a stalker. As a rule, I am always open to new experiences, but I’m not sure I like this one. It reminds me of the time I first tasted Natto (Japanese fermented soy beans) and hated it. But then, after trying it a few times, I learned to ignore my friends’ gagging across the table, and realized it was quite delish. Is stalking the same? Is it an acquired taste? Just so you know, I have no plans to stop emailing you. Not until you stop animal testing. So I guess we’re in this for the long haul.
You know what, you’re right. I am kinda starting to like this. Its like Natto all over again.
Okay, now that we have that out of the way. I was reading the other day that L’Oreal donated $1.2 million to abolish animal testing earlier this year. Okay, is it just me or is that the weirdest thing ever? Here’s an idea… instead of donating money to the US Environmental Protection Agency to stop animal testing, why don’t you stop animal testing yourselves (since you are one of the largest companies doing it)? It would be like if Mel Gibson donated money to the American Jewish Committee and then used it as an excuse to carry on screaming Jew-hate on live TV. Not okay.
And by the way, I got conditioner in my eye again over the weekend. I was in a hurry because my friend from Sydney was coming to visit and my son was brandishing a carving knife like a sword and the basset was shredding through a box of crayons like a wood chipper. Anyway, it hurt like a bi%&*. Stop doing that to animals. Not okay.
Emails to Fabrizio Freda, CEO of Estee Lauder
From: Claire Gutschow <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: November 21, 2012 2:52:59 PM PST
Subject: Fabrizio Freda… are you out there???
You don’t know me. Well, of course you don’t. What are the chances you would know the founder of a skin care company so small we probably make less than you spend on cupcakes in a year? Okay that’s not fair – anyone with a Pinterest account knows that macaroons are the new cake pops are the new cupcake. Regardless, I think it suffices to say that we’re a pretty insignificant player compared to you. What difference can we make in the world? Blah blah blah. But here’s the thing… we’re super-tough. We have (to put it bluntly), balls of steel. We’re kinda like the Terminator, if he had a pink bow and wore stilettos periodically. And if he cared. A lot. And if he was trying to make the world better, while simultaneously running a business and removing ketchup stains and explaining the meaning of life to a 4-year-old.
And the one thing we just don’t get is how you can still test on animals? We’ve wracked our brains to think of a way to try and stop you. To make you see how extremely… well… dumbass it is. And short of Terminator-tactics (which we don’t believe in, despite how much we want to rip out a bazooka sometimes), we can’t think of anything. So we’re sending you this email. Hoping that maybe you read it. That maybe you care just a little what people in the real world have to say.
How do you sleep at night knowing you hurt animals? Don’t you think its more important to get a good night’s sleep than run a company that’s worth, like, a gazillion dollars? I guess not. Otherwise you’d be one of those hairy PETA canvassers outside Whole Foods. You know… the ones we all run away from because they smell like over-enthusiastic lentil soup? Don’t worry, we aren’t asking you to grab the nearest clipboard and jump on a ship destined for the Antarctic. What we’re asking is that you somehow develop a freakin’ conscience. And at least try to make the world a better place than it was before you joined it.
Dude, seriously…. enough already. You need to stop this. Being rich does not make it okay. Not anymore.
And then again on December 19, 2012
Did you get my last email? I wasn’t sure since I didn’t hear back from you. I just want to clarify… I’m not crazy or anything. I actually think I’m very very sane (but I guess that doesn’t make you feel any better – crazy people probably claim sanity all the time). Actually I’m a lot like you. I run a business and I’m scared of hairy PETA people too. And Greenpeacers. But, unlike you I also know we need them, even if they do smell kinda lentilly. We need their angry intensity. Don’t you remember being young and believing you could change the world? Being all intense and opinionated and passionate. Like the time I planted mung beans in my cheating ex-boyfriend’s shag-rug while he was away on vacation.
But I digress. What I do want to say is that you can still make a difference. You don’t have to join a movement or grow deadlocks or join a commune. By simply signing one single piece of paper, you can stop hurting animals. You can change the world.
Just do it. I have a bag of mung beans and I’m not afraid to use them.