The EU parliament has been at the forefront of educating the world about the inhumanity of animal testing. In 2018, they urged the world to put a stop to animal testing by 2023.
Numerous countries have followed suit and banned animal testing. However, a large number of countries don’t seem like they’ll stop soon.
In 2022, 41 countries worldwide have banned or restricted cosmetic animal testing, including all 27 countries in the EU, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, India, Israel, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, Guatemala, Colombia and some states in Brazil and the US.
The ethics behind animal testing are complicated. But it’s undeniable that it’s no longer necessary in every sector.
In this blog post, we cover all the details and the current situation in the US. Read on to see who’s taking action and who has fallen behind.
The European Union and the Ban on Animal Testing
The media has popularized animal rights activism in recent times. However, it’s not a new concept. In 1993, the EU was already taking steps towards banning animal testing of cosmetics. The first provisions included a ban on all marketing strategies of cosmetics tested on animals.
However, the ban wasn’t realistic because the implementers didn’t have an alternative method of testing. For this reason, the ban had to be postponed to 2004. It’s in this year that the official ban on animal testing on finished products was introduced.
In 2009, the EU introduced a ban on animal testing of cosmetic ingredients and the marketing of animal-tested finished products. However, during this period, it was still allowed to test on animals in cases of repeated-dose toxicity, toxicokinetics, and reproductive toxicity.
The Enforcement of Additional Bans (2013)
While China still hangs on to some cruel and abusive animal testing policies, they understand that cruelty-free and vegan brands need access to Chinese consumers. This has led to the recent changes and may lead to more in the future.
We can assure you that animal testing is not necessary to ensure the safety of any cosmetic product released today that you can find in a store. If you want to make sure that it’s safe to use a cruelty-free product – you can find out everything you need to know here: Are Cruelty-Free Products Safe?
Non-EU Countries that have Banned Animal Testing
When the UK was still a member of the European Union, they banned animal testing on cosmetics. It wasn’t clear how Brexit would affect this move seeing that the UK was leaving the union. However, the UK government assured everyone that they planned to uphold the ban even after their exit. If you live in the UK, here are the most important things to be aware of: 6 Must Know Animal Testing Facts in the UK (2021)
And when animal testing needs to be done for medical purposes, there are many rules in place to ensure it is regulated. Ireland, for example, has not only decreased the amount of animal-testing done overall, but it’s also lowered it’s severity too.
Other countries that borrowed a leaf from the UK and became cruelty-free in the field of cosmetics include:
Countries in the process of implementing the ban include:
The Current Situation in Brazil
Brazil is among the countries in the process of embracing a cruelty-free approach in the field of cosmetics. So far, nine states in Brazil have banned animal testing. These include:
The Current Situation in the US
After the EU imposed the ban on animal testing, many countries were expecting the US, one of the world’s largest economies, to take the same steps. It’s been a long time coming, but more and more states in the US are embracing the ban on the sale and import of cosmetics tested on animals.
The cause has gained massive support from consumers and cosmetic companies in the US. However, the main hurdle US states face is China. You see, China requires that all cosmetics that are sold in its large and lucrative market undergo animal testing.
Nevertheless, this hasn’t stopped states like Nevada, Illinois, Virginia, Maryland and California from imposing the ban. The ban became effective on January 1st, 2020. Animal rights groups like the Humane Society of the United States and Cruelty-Free International hope to convince more states to pass the bans.
But for the most part, you need to be a vigilant consumer if you want to ensure the cosmetics you buy are cruelty-free in the US. Here are the most important things to
Actions by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)
HSUS has been at the forefront in ensuring the end of animal testing in the US and around the globe. The organization has taken a plethora of steps in ensuring that this becomes a reality one day. Some of the things the organization has been doing to ensure all countries introduce a ban on animal testing include:
The HSUS also released an awesome animated video on animal testing with a star-studded cast. Actors like Zac Efron and Ricky Gervais joined together to make this striking film that you can share to help raise awareness. You can find it here: 9 Animal Testing Facts About Rabbits You Never Knew
The Current Situation in Japan
In Japan, there isn’t any law that would either ban or require animal testing. However, it’s mandatory for “quasi-drugs” to undergo animal testing in Japan. Research also showed that there is little awareness about animal cruelty in Japan. As a result, the government is reluctant to offer the necessary support.
Nonetheless, this hasn’t stopped animal rights activists from educating the masses about animal cruelty. Therefore, it suffices to say that Japan may be among the countries that team up with the other countries that have banned animal testing in the future.
China – Is There Hope for an Animal Testing Ban?
Many countries worldwide would argue that their primary hurdle in adopting the animal testing ban is the Chinese legislation. You see, because animal testing is a prerequisite on all imported cosmetics in China, it poses a great risk to every country that relies on its lucrative market for business.
Imposing such a ban means different countries have taken China off their cosmetic market, which can be a significant hit on their economy.
The good news is that China is also among the countries slowly moving towards a cruelty-free approach. In the year 2017, Zhejiang FDA set up a non-animal testing lab in China. The following year, the China Working Group for the Validation of Alternative methods was launched. These are steps in the right direction.
There’s more. Cruelty-Free International and KnudsenCRC launched the Leaping Bunny Pilot Project to enable cruelty-free brands to produce and sell cosmetics in China without having to test on animals before selling to the country. Recently, France was given exemption on animal testing for ordinary cosmetics exports, this means many countries can potentially follow suit soon.
Over to You
The subject of animal cruelty has been a topic of discussion for many years now, and for good reasons. In only one year, millions of animals die in animal testing practices, and those that survive go through torture and pain, all in the name of production.
The sad part is that some of the tests carried out don’t reflect how the products will work on humans, which means the animals are put through pain for no reason.
Stopping animal testing is everyone’s responsibility. A decision to go for cruelty-free personal-care products may not seem like a big deal, but we can make major strides towards imposing the ban worldwide if we all do it. If there’s no market for the products, animal testing won’t be necessary.
So, are you joining the fight?