Testing cosmetics on animals

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Testing cosmetics on animals is a type of animal testing used to test the safety and hypoallergenic properties of products for use by humans. Because of the harm done to the animal subjects, this testing is opposed by animal rights activists and others. Cosmetic animal testing is banned in the European Union, India, Israel,[1][2] and Norway.[3]


Animal testing
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Using animal testing in the development of cosmetics may involve testing either a finished product or the individual ingredients of a finished product on animals, often rabbits, but also mice, rats, and other animals.

Re-using existing test data obtained from previous animal testing is generally not considered to be cosmetic testing on animals; however, the acceptability of this to opponents of testing is inversely proportional to how recent the data is.

Legal requirements and status[edit]

Due to the strong public backlash against cosmetic testing on animals, most cosmetic manufacturers say their products are not tested on animals. However, they are still required by trading standards and consumer protection laws in most countries to show their products are not toxic and not dangerous to public health, and that the ingredients are not dangerous in large quantities, such as when in transport or in the manufacturing plant. In some countries, it is possible to meet these requirements without any further tests on animals. In other countries, it may require animal testing to meet legal requirements. The United States and Japan are frequently criticized for their insistence on stringent safety measures, which often requires animal testing. Some retailers distinguish themselves in the marketplace by their stance on animal testing.

Places that have bans[edit]

Testing of cosmetics on animals is banned in the European Union (EU), after it agreed to phase in a near-total ban on the sale of animal-tested cosmetics throughout the EU from 2009, and to ban cosmetics-related animal testing.[4] Imported cosmetics ingredients tested on animals were phased out for EU consumer markets in March 2013 by the ban,[4] but can still be sold to outside of the EU.[5] Norway also banned cosmetics animal testing in March 2013, the same time as the EU.[6]

Since the start of 2013, Israel banned "the import and marketing of cosmetics, toiletries or detergents that were tested on animals".[7] In 2013, India followed Israel to become the second country in Asia to announce a ban on testing cosmetics on animals.[8] São Paulo in Brazil, banned cosmetic animal testing in 2014.[9]

Places where prohibitions are considered[edit]

In March 2014, the Humane Cosmetics Act was introduced to the U.S. congress which would ban cosmetic testing on animals and eventually would ban the sale of cosmetics tested on animals.[3] In Australia, the End Cruel Cosmetics Bill will be introduced to Parliament in March 2014, which would ban local testing, which generally doesn't happen there, and importation of cosmetics tested on animals.[10] Brazil's legislation will vote on a nationwide animal testing for cosmetics ban by the end of March 2014.[2] ASEAN and South Korea are also potentially "making strides toward ending cosmetics testing on animals."[3]

Other statuses[edit]

China currently requires mandatory animal testing for cosmetic products, but there are plans to lift this mandatory requirement in June 2014. There may have been similar policies in Russia.[3][11][12]


Methods of testing cosmetics on animals include irritation or corrosion to the skin or eye (e.g. Draize test), dermal sensitization, airway sensitization, endocrine disruption, and LD50 (which refers to the lethal dose which kills 50% of the treated animals).


Cosmetics manufacturers who do not test on animals may now use in vitro screens to test for endpoints which can determine potential risk to humans with a very high sensitivity and specificity. Companies such as CeeTox in the USA , recently acquired by Cyprotex ,specialize in such testing and organizations like the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT), PETA and many other organizations advocate the use of in vitro and other non-animal tests in the development of consumer products. By using safe ingredients from a list of 5,000 which have already been tested in conjunction with modern methods of cosmetics testing, the need for tests using animals are negated.[10]


The "Leaping Bunny" logo which indicates that products carrying this logo have not been tested on animals.

Companies producing beauty and household products which do not to test their products on animals for any market can request membership of The Leaping Bunny Program which allows to feature Cruelty Free International's Leaping Bunny logo on their products. The program sets global standard of operations and sales. Certification can be obtained in the US from The Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC)[13] In 2013 over 500 companies were certified.[14] However, some company's certifications were revoked after it was discovered they continued to test on animals in Asia [15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Engebretson, Monica (March 16, 2014). "India Joins the EU and Israel in Surpassing the US in Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Testing Policy". The World Post. 
  2. ^ a b Fox, Stacy (March 10, 2014). "Animal Attraction: Federal Bill to End Cosmetics Testing on Animals Introduced in Congress" (Press release). Humane Society of the United States. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Cruelty Free International Applauds Congressman Jim Moran for Bill to End Cosmetics Testing on Animals in the United States" (Press release). March 5, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "EU extends ban on animal-tested cosmetics". EuroNews. March 11, 2013. 
  5. ^ Fynes-Clinton (March 20, 2014), OPINION: Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon’s End Cruel Cosmetics Bill 2014 answers the public’s growing opposition to animals testing, Courier-Mail 
  6. ^ Aryan (March 12, 2013). "Norway ban animal testing of cosmetics". The Oslo Times. 
  7. ^ "Import ban on animal-tested products goes into effect". The Times of Israel. January 1, 2013. 
  8. ^ Mukherjee, Rupali (Jan 23, 2014). "Govt bans cosmetic companies from testing on animals". The Times of India. 
  9. ^ "São Paulo Bans Animal Testing". AFP News. January 24, 2014. 
  10. ^ a b Bainbridge, Amy (March 17, 2014). "Australia urged to follow EU ban on animal testing; Greens to move bill in Senate this week". Australian Broadcasting Corporation News. 
  11. ^ Dayu, Zhang (November 15, 2013). "China considers end to mandatory animal testing on cosmetics". CNN. 
  12. ^ http://www.crueltyfreeinternational.org/en/a/Cruelty-Free-International-wins-Russian-commitment-on-non-animal-testing.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  13. ^ About Cruelty Free International. Cruelty Free International, d.d.
  14. ^ Leaping Bunny Welcomes Wen® Hair and Body Care by Chaz Dean as Cruelty-Free. Leapingbunny.org, d.d.
  15. ^ [1]. Eluxe Magazine, d.d.