Is Your Country Cruelty-Free When It Comes To Cosmetics?

cruelty free cosmetics

While the Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act was signed into California law back in 2018, it was only slated to come into effect as of January 1, 2020. The two year period was intended to give cosmetics brands time to adopt practices in order to be sold in the state of 40 million (which makes up the 5th largest economy in the world).

As 2020 kicks off, it is now effectively “unlawful for cosmetic manufacturers to sell any cosmetic in California if the final product or any component of the product was tested on animals after January 1, 2020, with some exceptions for regulatory requirements,” as explained by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. 

Off the back of California announcing they are now a cruelty free state— we thought we’d take a look at which regions have banned the practice of animal testing for cosmetics, which ones haven’t and which ones are in the process. 

USA & Canada – Partly Cruelty Free

The above law applies to both California and Nevada and has recently been joined by Illinois, meaning that from January 1, 2020 cosmetics cannot be tested on animals and final products or ingredients that have been, cannot be imported or sold in those states. Within the remaining 49 states of the US however, cosmetic animal testing is legal.

While the Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act was introduced in 2015 in Canada and the S-214 was passed the Senate in 2018, the bill has not been introduced to The House, meaning for the time being the country remains legal for cosmetic testing on animals. 

Australia & New Zealand – Partly Cruelty Free

In 2015 New Zealand passed a law banning animal testing within the country’s borders, however this hasn’t stopped companies from paying to test outside of New Zealand. This also doesn’t prevent the import of cosmetics from brands that do test on animals.

In regards to Australia, the Sydney Morning Herald reports from July 1, 2019  “Australia will ban the use of data derived from animal tests done after that date to demonstrate the safety of ingredients used solely in cosmetics…according to the RSPCA, no animal testing for cosmetics currently takes place in Australia.” However, currently there is no legislative ban preventing the testing of cosmetics on animals in Australia itself or for products in which this occurs overseas. 

European Union including the UK – Cruelty Free

In 2009 a ban came into effect for the testing of the final product and the ingredients to formulate cosmetics in the European Union. In 2013, this was expanded to also include the import or sale of products that had recently been tested on animals. As the RSPCA describes, this means “that cosmetic manufacturers must rely on existing data and ingredients until alternative tests [have] been developed and validated. It does not have any impact on human health and safety as the same requirements for safety assessment of new ingredients remain in place.” While the UK became and currently is cruelty-free as part of the EU, Brexit may impact this in the future.

Asia – Partly Cruelty Free

See Also

China is the most well known globally for their animal testing practices, going so far as to not allow the import or selling of products that haven’t been tested by their authorities— which, in a majority of cases includes animal testing.

However, not all of Asia is on the same program, with India having been the first country in Asia to have made animal testing illegal in 2014. India not only applied a national ban to cosmetic animal testing but has banned the importation and sale of animal tested products as well. Taiwan followed suit, banning all finished product and ingredient tests on animals banned from 2019. In South Korea, the government announced a cosmetic testing reform in 2017, however this has not impacted a majority of companies continuing to undertake these practices. In Japan the practice is also still legal.

Central & South America – Partly Cruelty Free

In 2017 Guatemala was the first country in the Americas to fully ban animal testing. Six Brazilian states out of 26 have banned the practice itself, as well as the importation and sale of cosmetics recently tested on animals. Colombia, Mexico and Argentina are not yet cruelty free as far as cosmetic testing but are taking major steps.

Stay tuned for updates as we follow the progression of global and national policies.

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