This Legislation Could Make Animal Testing for Cosmetics in the U.S. a Thing of the Past
Kathleen Conlee, HSUS
June 7, 2017
When you think of cosmetics testing on animals, you may think of big hair and the 1980s but, unfortunately, this practice isn’t a thing of the past. Every day, terrified rabbits, mice, rats and guinea pigs suffer and die to test cosmetic products like shampoo, lipstick, and cologne. Chemical substances are forced down their throats, dripped into their eyes or smeared onto their skin. These test methods cause immense suffering before the animals are killed at the end of the tests.
Luckily, the U.S. is one step closer to saying “no” to cruel cosmetics with the reintroduction of the Humane Cosmetics Act in Congress.
This legislation, introduced with bipartisan support by Reps. Martha McSally, R-Ariz.; Don Beyer, D-Va.; Ed Royce, R-Calif.; Tony Cárdenas, D-Calif.; Frank LoBiondo, R-N.J.; and Paul Tonko, D-N.Y., would prohibit the use of animals to test cosmetic products and ingredients. It also phases out the sale of cosmetics that have been tested on animals in other countries.
The methods used to test cosmetics on animals are not only incredibly cruel, but they also have significant scientific limitations. Different species often respond differently when exposed to the same substances. A good example of this phenomenon is chocolate, a sweet treat for humans that is highly toxic to dogs. These dissimilarities mean that results from animal tests may under or overestimate real-world hazards to people.
Fortunately, there are thousands of ingredients already proven safe for use in cosmetics that can be used to formulate new and innovative products. For new cosmetic ingredients that don’t have a safety history yet, there are many non-animal methods like human cell-based tests and sophisticated computer models that provide human-relevant results often at a considerable savings of time and money for companies.
No animal should have to suffer and die for the sake of a new shampoo or lipstick. That is why The Humane Society of the United States and the Humane Society Legislative Fund are working in the U.S. and Humane Society International and others are working internationally to end animal testing for cosmetics as part of our global #BeCrueltyFree campaign.
In 2013, the European Union finalized a ban on animal testing for cosmetics by also banning the sale of cosmetics tested on animals, creating the world’s largest cruelty-free cosmetics marketplace. Similar measures have also been enacted in India, Israel, Norway, and Switzerland. More than 1.8 billion people can now only buy cosmetics that will never be tested on animals again. American cosmetic companies must already comply with these laws in order to sell their products internationally. Guatemala, New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey and four states in Brazil have also passed laws to end or limit cosmetic animal testing.
There is overwhelming public support for ending cosmetic animal testing. A 2013 public opinion poll conducted by Lake Research Partners found that 73 percent of American voters would favor Congress enacting legislation that would begin to phase out and eventually end new animal testing for cosmetic products and ingredients. The Humane Cosmetics Act has also been endorsed by 195 stakeholders in the cosmetic industry including COTY, H&M, LUSH, Paul Mitchell and The Body Shop. We call on all cosmetic companies to join our #BeCrueltyFree campaign and drive cosmetic animal testing out of the marketplace.
The time has come for the U.S. to join the global movement away from cosmetic animal testing. Please join us in urging your legislators to support the Humane Cosmetics Act.
Together, we can make cosmetic cruelty a relic of the past.