Following a sustained PETA US effort that included exposing companies for secretly paying for tests on animals, China has just announced that it will allow imported “general cosmetics” – such as shampoo, body wash, lotion, and makeup – to be sold in the country without being tested on animals.
This means that companies that take certain steps can soon market most imported ordinary cosmetics in China without being required to pay for them to be force-fed to animals or dripped into their eyes.
In 2012, PETA US uncovered that many companies that had banned all animal tests were quietly paying the Chinese government to test products on animals. The group learned – and publicly revealed – that China required companies to pay for tests on animals for cosmetics and other personal-care products.
After exposing the companies’ secretive support for testing, PETA US took action to end the testing requirements.
It partnered with leading non-animal testing experts at the Institute for In Vitro Sciences (IIVS) and awarded the institute two grants, which enabled a team to train Chinese scientists in non-animal test methods and set up animal-free testing laboratories in China. It also proposed that the IIVS seek support from cosmetics companies, which the scientific non-profit organisation did.
This new policy follows China’s 2014 rule change that allows companies that manufacture general (formerly known as “non–special use”) cosmetics in that country to avoid animal tests for such products.
“No animal should die in a laboratory for any reason – ever – and especially not for a lipstick,” said PETA US senior vice president, Kathy Guillermo. “PETA US thanks China, the IIVS, and all the companies that supported this progressive effort.”
The new exemptions to China’s animal testing requirements do not apply to products for infants and children, products with new ingredients, or products from companies that are already under supervision by authorities.
Companies marketing “special” cosmetics – such as hair dye, sunscreen, and hair-loss products – in China will still be required to pay for tests on animals under the new regulations.
PETA recommends that consumers continue to consult the international Beauty Without Bunnies database, which lists more than 5,200 cruelty-free companies and brands from around the world, including Australia, that don’t test on animals anywhere in the world for any reason.
In similar news, this week Garnier also announced that all of its products, globally, are now officially certified cruelty free under the Cruelty Free International Leaping Bunny programme.
The stamp of approval has been awarded by the leading organisation working to end animal testing and the cruelty free gold standard. More on that here.