By Kitty Block and Sara Amundson
The United States has moved one step closer to ending unnecessary cosmetics testing on animals, as Illinois becomes the third U.S. state to enact a marketing ban preventing companies from selling cosmetics that have newly been tested on animals. On August 9, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed into law a bill that prohibits the sale of cosmetics like shampoos, lipsticks and deodorants in Illinois, unless they are cruelty free.
Illinois joins California and Nevada, which have passed similar laws. Starting January 1, 2020, all cosmetics products on store shelves in these three states will be free of new animal testing. We applaud the work of Sen. Linda Holmes, Rep. Jonathan Carroll, and the Animal Welfare Institute in helping to secure the passage of the Illinois bill.
As we continue to expand our global #BeCrueltyFree campaign, we are thrilled to see the momentum building in the United States. This is one of the world’s largest cosmetics markets and reforms here have the potential to spare the lives of tens of thousands of animals used in these tests worldwide each year, including mice, rabbits, rats and guinea pigs. In traditional tests, substances are forced down the animals’ throats, dripped into their eyes, or smeared onto their skin, and they are left to suffer for days or weeks without pain relief. There is no need for this.
Consumer demand for cruelty-free products has led to more than 1,000 cosmetic brands in North America committing to develop and offer products based on the thousands of safe ingredients already available, or by using non-animal test methods that are often more reliable predictors of human safety at a great savings in time and cost when compared to animal tests.
For these and other reasons, we need Congress to step up now and pass legislation to end cosmetics testing on animals in our country altogether. There is strong support for such a law: in the last Congress, the Humane Cosmetics Act received the support of more than 180 cosponsors. This legislation was also endorsed by nearly 300 companies in the cosmetics industry. We expect the bill to be reintroduced when Congress reconvenes in September.
Worldwide, nearly 40 countries, including the member countries of the European Union, Australia, Guatemala, India, Israel, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan and Turkey, have already banned or limited the use of animals for cosmetics testing through the efforts of Humane Society International and others. HSI and its partners are on the front lines in countries including Brazil, Canada, Chile, Mexico, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the ASEAN region of south-east Asia, working hard to help pass additional legislation on these lines.
HSI’s #BeCrueltyFree campaign also has the support of global beauty giants like Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Avon and the Estée Lauder Companies, in addition to our longstanding partners at Lush and H&M.
There is a beauty revolution underway, and it is one that rejects outmoded cruelty and embraces compassion and modern scientific alternatives to animal testing. There is no excuse for our country to remain on the sidelines even as the rest of the world commits to this new, forward-thinking protocol. With the momentum for ending cosmetics testing building up day by day, now is the perfect time to recommit to ending these tests here in the United States. Please call your members of Congress (you can find their contact information here) and let them know you support reintroduction of the Humane Cosmetics Act. With a few more victories, we can push cosmetics testing with animals off the map for good.
Sara Amundson is president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund.