Unfortunately, this is only partly true, and any company who sells cosmetics in mainland China puts their products at risk of being tested on animals. For this reason, I have officially removed Wet n Wild from my list of cruelty-free brands.
First Reaction: Staying Silent And Deleting Comments
After the news broke, Wet n Wild went completely silent. They continued to post on social media, refused to address any comments about the incident, and I was even told that they were deleting negative comments on their Instagram.
These screenshots were taken yesterday:
Wet n Wild's Official Response
Last night, Wet n Wild finally released a statement from Markwins' President.
“wet n wild does not test on animals. wet n wild is a global brand for beauty lovers, inclusive of all ages, ethnicities, skin colors, ideologies, and economic statuses. Cruelty-free has and will remain a key pillar of our brand. In 2018, Watsons began offering our products to beauty enthusiasts in China via a pilot program with 30 stores. wet n wild products sold in China are domestically manufactured in China, and as such do not require animal testing.
Since 2014, China no longer requires animal testing for domestic non-special use cosmetics. wet n wild products were able to enter the Chinese market maintaining our commitment to providing customers cruelty-free, high-quality, on-trend products they can feel good about buying and wearing. As a trusted leader in cruelty-free beauty, we will continue working closely with the Chinese government, and all governments, to adhere to our strict guidelines for cruelty-free beauty globally.
The Problem With This Statement
Unfortunately, the claims in their statement aren't entirely accurate. It's true that pre-market animal testing laws changed in 2014 and brands manufactured in China were no longer required to test on animals in order to sell there. The problem is with post-market animal testing, which may still be performed on products under certain conditions.
This means that any cosmetics company that sells in China may still risk having their products tested on animals post-market. In his statement, Stefano Curti addresses pre-market animal testing but not post-market animal testing.
I have written several posts about Chinese pre-market and post-market laws and their "loopholes". If you're interested in learning more, please visit the articles below.
I'm also attaching a screenshot where Humane Society International confirms that post-market animal testing is still a risk in China. This quote is in reference to an article claiming that "post-market animal testing was banned in China".
The Lack Of Transparency
If Wet n Wild was 100% aware of selling in China and genuinely thought they could be exempt of animal testing using loopholes, why did they lie to us about having retailers in China? In March, they told me:
“Thank you for contacting us. At this time, we do not have any retail partners located in China. We thank you kindly for your interest in our products.”
Wet n Wild apologized about this issue to me and brushed it off as a "miscommunication". But to a cruelty-free consumer, this is a misleading statement that shows lack of transparency from the brand.
Personally, I won't be supporting Wet n Wild after this news, and I have removed them from my cruelty-free list. There are many other affordable and drugstore makeup brands that are cruelty-free and much more transparent than Wet n Wild.
To search for cruelty-free brands, please visit my official list here.