It's important to do your research

I was recently made aware of Melaleuca, a company that's been around for a while, but not one that I knew anything about. Apparently, from what I understand, they're a Mary Kay/Shaklee type of business where people can be individual reps to sell their products. And I guess Melaleuca's thing is that their products are environmentally friendly and - I was told - animal friendly. Frequently, these 'green' companies are as concerned about protecting animals as they are about protecting the environment. But for some reason, I was suspicious that Melaleuca may not be as animal friendly as one might assume. Off to the internets!

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.


  1. Great advice!
    And did you know that one of the companies you mention, Shaklee, IS listed as cruelty free by PETA...Never has done animal testing, never will.
    Their policy is quite clear:

    "As a matter of policy, Shaklee Corporation is opposed to animal testing and does not conduct any animal testing of any kind on any Shaklee product marketed anywhere in the world. It is also the policy of Shaklee Corporation to actively support the development, use and approval of safe alternatives to animal testing throughout the world.

    As a socially-responsible company, Shaklee does not conduct animal testing, we have never conducted animal testing, and we will never conduct animal testing. We have never done business with any lab that conducts tests on animals."

  2. Thank you for your comment. I've heard about Shaklee before and actually tried one of their multi-vitamins. From what I've heard (since I don't have much personal experience with them), Shaklee makes great products and, as you pointed out, are firmly against testing their products on animals.


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