Every year, tens of thousands of rabbits, guinea pigs, rats and mice suffer to test cosmetics, even though producing cruelty-free beauty products is safe and simple, and animal testing is not required by law.
There is no one who disputes the basic cruelty of cosmetics testing, in which animals have substances forced down their throats, dripped into their eyes, or smeared onto their skin. They cause eye reddening, swelling, ulceration, skin fissures, bleeding, and even blindness. The animals spend their short lives undergoing painful tests and they are left to suffer for days on end without pain relief before being killed.
These are archaic tests and they are fundamentally unnecessary. Not only are there many companies now creating products using thousands of existing ingredients that do not require new testing, there are also lots of non-animal methods available for the testing of new cosmetic ingredients, methods that are invariably quicker, less expensive and more accurate and human-relevant than conventional animal tests. We can meet our needs for safely developing innovative new products by relying on state-of-the-art non-animal tests in combination with a reliance on existing ingredients with established histories of safe use.
Public policy is finally catching up with public anger over the suffering of animals in product testing. As a result, eight states have passed laws that ban the sale of cosmetics newly tested on animals. Five of them passed just last year, and we expect to see more states introduce such measures in 2022.
Better still, we’re working to secure passage of federal legislation that would resolve this issue in the United States. The Humane Cosmetics Act (H.R. 6207/S. 3357), newly reintroduced with strong bipartisan support in both the U.S. House and Senate, would do just that by prohibiting the use of animals to test cosmetics and banning the sale of animal-tested cosmetics. The legislation is supported by the Personal Care Products Council, the trade association which represents 90% of the U.S. cosmetics industry, approximately 600 member companies. In addition, 370 companies have independently supported the legislation.
The Humane Cosmetics Act would end the use of rabbits, mice, rats and guinea pigs to test ingredients developed for personal care products such as lipstick, shampoo, body lotion, and mascara, as well as the final products. Not only that, but the proposed law would also prohibit the import and sale of cosmetics that have been tested on animals anywhere else in the world.
Globally, 41 countries, including member states of the European Union, Australia, Guatemala, India, New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan, and Turkey have passed laws prohibiting or limiting cosmetics testing on animals. In 2021, Mexico became the first country in North America to outlaw cosmetics testing on animals. These advances show that there is a strong momentum towards ending the suffering of animals used for cosmetics testing. Until uniform laws are passed to prohibit animal testing for cosmetics, consumers can use the Leaping Bunny guide, a list of cruelty-free brands compiled by the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics to identify personal care, household and pet care products that aren’t tested on animals. As consumers, we have the power to accelerate the shift toward non-animal testing methods, by becoming more compassionate shoppers.
We can do the same as engaged citizens. Help us make 2022 the year that sees a ban on cosmetics testing in the U.S. Please urge your federal legislators to take action and cosponsor or support the Humane Cosmetics Act so the U.S. can join over 40 other countries that have banned or limited the use of cosmetics testing on animals.
Featured image by Thomas Park on Unsplash