By Kitty Block and Sara Amundson
Virginia’s Gov. Ralph Northam has just signed into law bills that would ban new cosmetics animal testing and sales of animal-tested cosmetics in his state.
Virginia joins three U.S. states that already have similar laws on their books. In 2018 California became the first state to prohibit the sale of animal-tested cosmetics followed by Nevada and Illinois in 2019.
Six other states, including New Jersey, Maryland, Rhode Island, Hawaii, New York and Oregon, are now considering similar bills to end cosmetics animal testing. The New Jersey state Senate has passed a bill 35-0, and it now awaits action from the state Assembly. In Maryland, too, the Senate voted 47-0 on a bill, which will soon be voted on by the House of Delegates. In Hawaii, bills have passed the Senate and House of Representatives and they are now being reviewed in crossover chambers.
This fantastic news illustrates a growing momentum in efforts to end unnecessary testing on animals in the United States and around the world for products like shampoos, mascara and lipstick. Consumers are scanning labels and demanding products free of animal testing, cosmetics companies are listening to them and changing their practices, and lawmakers are solidifying these changes into permanent policy.
Many cosmetics companies have joined us to support bills in the states moving to end cosmetics testing sales and production. The Personal Care Products Council, which is the leading national trade association representing approximately 600 personal care products companies, partnered with us during the last Congress to lead the federal Humane Cosmetics Act, a bill addressing cosmetics animal testing and imports. We anticipate the bill will soon be reintroduced in the current Congress.
Globally, efforts made by Humane Society International, its partners and others have resulted in 40 countries, including member states of the European Union, Australia, Guatemala, Iceland, India, Israel, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan and Turkey passing laws prohibiting or limiting cosmetics testing on animals.
Cosmetics animal testing is simply not needed to ensure the safety of cosmetics for human use. Each year, thousands of animals endure harsh testing methods, including having chemicals dripped into their eyes or rubbed onto their skin, after which they are killed. But there are thousands of ingredients already available for companies to create great products without any new testing, animal or otherwise. In case of new ingredients many non-animal test methods have been, and continue to be, developed that are as effective—or even more effective than —animal tests have been.
We congratulate Virginia lawmakers including the primary bill sponsors, Sen. Jennifer Boysko and Del. Kaye Kory, as well as the residents of Virginia, for taking this compassionate step. And we thank Gov. Northam for signing this bill into law. We now urge other states to follow suit by working swiftly to end cosmetics animal testing and sales of animal-tested cosmetics on their soil at the earliest.
Sara Amundson is president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund.