Great news for animal rights! China is phasing out mandatory animal testing on domestic beauty products!
This is absolutely amazing news for animals. According to a press release from The Humane Society International (HSI):
China plans to remove its mandatory animal test requirements for domestically manufactured cosmetic products. For the first time ever, Chinese companies producing “non-special use cosmetics” such as shampoo or perfume will have the option to substantiate product safety using existing safety data for raw ingredients, or European Union-validated non-animal tests instead of having to submit product samples to the government for testing on rabbits, mice and rats. HSI estimates that as many as 300,000 rabbits, mice and other animals may be subject to cosmetics chemical testing each year in China alone. (emphasis mine)
This change is going to save the lives of hundreds of thousands of animals. Actually, it’s not going to just save their lives. It’s going to save them from lives of torment and torture in a lab. I’ve written about how cruel (and unnecessary) animal testing is before. To get an idea of how cruel this practice is, check out the video of a human undergoing animal testing in this article. Want to read more about what animal testing even proves, safety-wise? Check out this article on Planetsave.
Partial Animal Testing Phase-Out
There was part of the release that gave me pause, though. One excuse that large cosmetics brands sometimes give for continued animal testing is that they are required to test products they sell in China on animals, and it sounds like this might not be changing anytime soon.
I emailed with Samantha Miller at The Humane Society, and she clarified this for me:
This is proposed as a phased policy change, beginning with domestically produced ‘ordinary’ cosmetics and possibly being extended to imports and ‘special use’ ranges like sunscreens, skin-whitening products, etc. And the timeline is very vague:
Phase 1 (for domestically produced, non-special cosmetics) from June 2014
Phase 2 (for foreign imports and special cosmetics) unspecified
Are you a little bit bummed out? I was a little bit bummed out, but I think it’s important to remember that what’s happening in June 2014 is still a huge win for animal rights. There’s still work to do, but I think that we should still let ourselves get excited about this win. For those 300,000 animals that won’t be tortured in the name of lipstick and blush, June 2014 is a huge victory.
Animal Testing: What You Can Do
If you live in China and want to avoid animal testing, you’ll soon have options for domestic beauty products that aren’t animal tested. This phase-out just means animal testing is no longer required, though, so you’ll have to check labels. Animal testing is still legal in China, unlike in the EU.
As the note from Miller mentions, some domestically-produced beauty products will still require animal testing. She specifically mentioned skin-lighteners and sunscreens. If you can avoid those products, you’re casting a vote against animal testing.
Folks anywhere can help The HSI lobby to end mandatory animal testing on all beauty products in China, including imports. Check out the Humane Society International website to send a donation and to sign up for their email list, so you can keep up with this and other animal rights issues worldwide.
Image Credit: Rabbit in a Lab photo via Shutterstock