By Kitty Block and Sara Amundson
In a victory for rabbits, guinea pigs, mice, rats and all animals used for testing, Louisiana is the latest state to take steps to end the cruel and unnecessary use of animals to test cosmetics. Eight other states (California, Nevada, Illinois, Virginia, Maryland, Maine, Hawaii and New Jersey) have already banned the sale of cosmetics that have been newly tested on animals. This win aligns with rising consumer opinion that there is no need to test products like shampoo, aftershave and lipstick on animals. There is also a similar bill that will be heading to the governor’s desk in New York.
As we celebrate the passage of this law in Louisiana, we remain focused on the need for a comprehensive national solution. While we have worked hard to ensure states pass these laws, it’s imperative for animals that we ban animal testing for cosmetics at the federal level. That will do more to bring the United States into greater harmony with the many nations that have prohibited such testing and strengthen the international regulatory frameworks that govern animal testing and the many non-animal methods coming to replace them.
Congress recently had a golden opportunity to end cosmetics animal testing in the U.S. but, sadly, did not seize it. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee recently considered must-pass legislation that grants the Food and Drug Administration additional oversight on cosmetics. We urged committee members to include language from the federal Humane Cosmetics Act into this legislative package. In a major missed opportunity for animals, the language was not included in this legislation. Still more concerning is that the current bill’s language may preempt state laws that end the production and/or sale of cosmetics tested on animals, like the one just passed in Louisiana. We will not rest until this issue is addressed by Congress, and we will not stop until animals no longer have to suffer for these cruel and outdated cosmetics tests.
Some of the strongest support for ending animal testing for cosmetics is coming from the cosmetics industry itself. The Humane Cosmetics Act has the endorsement of the Personal Care Products Council, the trade association representing nearly 600 companies that make and market cosmetics, in addition to more than 375 companies that have individually signed on to support this legislation. Companies want a federal law that aligns the U.S. with the nine states and 41 countries that have already passed laws to end or limit animal testing for cosmetics.
Our thanks to state Rep. Barbara Freiberg (R, 70) for her leadership on this issue. Her work to make Louisiana the latest state to take on the cruelty of cosmetics animal testing will help solidify congressional support for this issue and bring us one step closer to finally relegating animal testing for cosmetics to history.
Sara Amundson is president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund.