The beauty world is at a crossroads regarding animal testing, with myriad major brands taking steps over the past few years to assure consumers that they are 'cruelty free'. (Shutterstock/By ARTFULLY PHOTOGRAPHER)
The beauty world is at a crossroads regarding animal testing, with myriad major brands taking steps over the past few years to assure increasingly demanding consumers that they are “cruelty free”. But now, legislative change is increasingly happening at a governmental level. Could this mark the end of the road for cosmetics animal testing?
Earlier this month, the Australian Senate passed the “Industrial Chemicals Bills 2017”, which includes measures to prohibit reliance on new animal test data for chemicals introduced into the country that are set for use as beauty product ingredients.
The government worked with the animal rights organisation Humane Society International (HSI) on the proposals as part of the latter's #BeCrueltyFree Australia campaign, and the bill includes 11 reinforcing measures designed to ensure that all cosmetic ingredients are captured by the ban, in addition to securing funding to support the development of modern non-animal testing methods.
Hannah Stuart, HSI Campaign Manager for #BeCrueltyFree Australia, called the result “a huge win for animals, consumers and science,” saying: “We are pleased to welcome this milestone in moving to end reliance on cruel and outdated cosmetic animal testing in Australia.”
She added: “Paired with the Government's additional commitments to HSI, this ban reflects both the global trend to end cosmetics cruelty, and the will of the Australian public which opposes using animals in the development of cosmetics.”
Australia isn't the only location where animal testing has sparked headline-making legislative change. Last year, the US state of California passed the “California Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act, SB 1249,” which will make it illegal for cosmetics tested on animals to be sold in the state as of January 1, 2020.
And it seems that consumers are on board: A survey carried out in March 2018 by the beauty app platform Perfect365 found that over one-third of women prefer to buy beauty products from cruelty-free brands — of which there are now more than 1,000 globally.
Clearly, there is a long way to go before animal testing is outlawed on a global scale. But HSI's worldwide #BeCrueltyFree campaign is targeting active political discussion in Brazil, Canada, Chile, Mexico, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, the United States and the Asean region of South-east Asia, in a bid to make this a reality.
This week its efforts were publicly backed by the personal care giant Procter & Gamble Company (P&G), which has teamed up with the organisation to lend its support via educational programmes and a pledge to continue developing alternative methods to animal testing.
The Body Shop has also championed the cause, teaming up with the animal rights organisation Cruelty Free International last year to gather 8.3 million signatures for a petition denouncing the practice of animal testing, which it presented at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City on World Animal Day.
Could this be the start of an industry-wide shift?
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