We are in the midst of a global revolution to end the use of animals in cosmetics testing. In recent months, key countries have either banned this unnecessary and inhumane practice, or put in motion plans to do the same. More than a fourth of the world’s population already shops in markets cleansed of animal-tested products and ingredients.
The United States is, however, lagging. But that could be about to change, with the introduction of legislation in Congress this week to end animal testing of cosmetic products and ingredients in the United States, and to prohibit the import of cosmetics that have been tested on animals anywhere else in the world. Representatives Martha McSally, R-Ariz., Don Beyer, D-Va., Ed Royce, R-Calif., Tony Cárdenas, D-Calif, Frank LoBiondo, D-N.J., and Paul Tonko, D-N.Y. introduced the Humane Cosmetics Act to achieve that purpose. Senator Cory Booker, D-N.J. and other senators are looking to introduce a similar bill in their chamber soon.
“The cruelty animals are subjected to during cosmetics testing is unacceptable—from lethal dose tests to irritation and force-feeding tests. Not only are these tests inhumane, but modern technology makes them unnecessary and overly expensive,” Rep. McSally said in a press release. Rep. Beyer chimed in with a complementary message: “American companies face no economic risk from this legislation, which would also show moral leadership.”
Consumers today are demanding that corporations join the cruelty-free movement, and that demand has already led to more than 600 cosmetic companies in North America committing to develop safe, cruelty-free cosmetics by choosing from the thousands of safe ingredients already available, or by using advanced scientific alternative test methods and new technologies that provide results, are relevant to the human experience, and are cheaper and faster than animal tests. These methods are often more reliable predictors of safety than animal testing can ever be. The global in-vitro toxicology testing market is expected to reach $76 billion by 2023, and new and improved non-animal methods will continue to be developed, leading to safer cosmetics without harming animals.
Multinational cosmetic companies must already comply with laws in more than 30 countries that have banned the sale of cosmetics newly tested on animals. Over the course of just one year, Humane Society International’s #BeCrueltyFree team has welcomed a ban on cosmetics animal testing in Guatemala and Taiwan and a prohibition on the sale of cosmetics tested on animals in Switzerland. Others with bans or limits on animal testing include India, Israel, Norway, the 28 states of the European Union, New Zealand, South Korea, Turkey, and five states in Brazil. And just last week, the Australian government introduced a bill that moves the country one step closer to ending the trade in cruel cosmetics. Similar legislation is under discussion in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Russia, and elsewhere.
The Humane Cosmetics Act has been endorsed by more than 190 members and stakeholders of the personal care products industry, including Coty, Dr. Bronner’s, H&M, LUSH, Moroccanoil, Overstock.com, Paul Mitchell, Seventh Generation, and The Body Shop. The real question is that if all of the U.S.-based multinational companies are complying with bans in more than 30 countries, why are they not publicly supporting the Humane Cosmetics Act? It is time for them to come on board, and for Congress to pass legislation making the United States the next cruelty-free marketplace. You can help by contacting your federal lawmakers and asking them to cosponsor the Humane Cosmetics Act.