It's important to do your research
My first stop, as always, when I have doubts about a company's animal testing policies, is to go to PETA's list of companies that do, and don't, test on animals. Sadly, Melaleuca lives on the 'do test' list. But there wasn't any information about what kind of testing they do, so my curious nature led me to dig a little deeper. Upon further reading, Melaleuca was on the 'don't test' list starting in 1993. However, three years later they commissioned a 'lethal dose' test on rats on a competitor's product, and further tests on dogs for one of their nutritional products.
The article goes on to state that "In a March 2003 letter, Melaleuca freeely admits that it commissioned laboratory tests in which rats and dogs were used, stating, "The rats died a horrible death. … Prior to performing human studies to prove Provex CV's effectiveness, Melaleuca commissioned that the product be tested on dogs first. … In our quest to save life, we refuse to tell PETA that we will never again test our cardiovascular products on animals." I must say that I appreciate the honesty. They feel that they have a justification for testing on animals, fine.
But what is troubling to me is what I found before I came across that PETA article. Now, I understand that you have to take online discussions with a grain of salt, but there are a number of different people that said they contacted Melaleuca to ask them specifically about this issue, and were told that they don't test on animals and were only on that list because they used dog shampoo on dogs. A number of independent reps came to Melaleuca's defense in these discussions using that as their argument. Again, this must be taken with a grain of salt, as online discussion forums are hardly an authoritative source of information. Though it certainly is a reason to try to get in touch with the company directly to find out what the official statement is, which I intend to do. However, either way, I don't plan on using Melaleuca's products because they freely admit that they will test on animals when they deem it necessary.
I will note that in an official statement from the company, they said "Melaleuca has long taken the position that we will not test our personal care or household products on animals. We feel that is the proper position to take, and you will find us adhering to this policy without hesitation. We feel, however, that there are extremes to every argument. We do not adhere to the extremes. … Nor do we take the position that all scientific use of animals needs to be stopped." So, they say they don't test their personal care and household products on animals, which is good, but I'm not completely convinced of that. There are just too many conflicting stories from so many people that I'm just not sure the public is getting the whole story about Melaleuca's products and practices.