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.

Legal Requirements In Japan

Although Japanese law doesn’t require non-medicated cosmetics to be tested on animals, it doesn’t prohibit it either, leaving the decision to individual companies.[4] Animal testing is required mainly when the product contains newly-developed tar colors, ultraviolet ray protective ingredients or preservatives, and when the amount of any ingredient regulated in terms of how much can be added is increased.[5]

Japanese Brands such as Shiseido and Mandom have ended much, but not all, of their animal testing. However, most other leading cosmetics companies in Japan still test on animals.[4][6][7]

Places that have bans[edit]

Brazil, São Paulo[edit]

São Paulo in Brazil, banned cosmetic animal testing in 2014.[8]

European Union[edit]

The European Union (EU) followed suit, 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.[9] Imported cosmetics ingredients tested on animals were phased out for EU consumer markets in 2013 by the ban,[9] but can still be sold to outside of the EU.[10] Norway banned cosmetics animal testing the same time as the EU.[11]


Also in 2013, India announced a ban on testing cosmetics on animals, thereby becoming the second country in Asia to do so.[12]


Israel banned "the import and marketing of cosmetics, toiletries or detergents that were tested on animals" in 2013.[13]

New Zealand[edit]

In 2015, New Zealand also banned animal testing.[citation needed][14]


Turkey "banned any animal testing for cosmetic products that have already been introduced to the market." [15]


Animal testing on cosmetics or their ingredients was banned in the UK in 1998.[16]

Places where prohibitions are considered[edit]

Association of Southeast Asian Nations[edit]

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is also potentially "making strides toward ending cosmetics testing 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.[17]


Brazil's legislation will vote on a nationwide animal testing for cosmetics ban by the end of March 2014.[2]

United States[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]

South Korea[edit]

South Korea are also potentially "making strides toward ending cosmetics testing on animals."[3]


Taiwan has launched a bill proposing a ban on cosmetic testing on animals.[18]

Other statuses[edit]


China currently requires mandatory animal testing for cosmetic products, but there are plans to lift this mandatory requirement in June 2014.[3][19][20]


In 2013, the Russian Ministry of Health stated "Toxicological testing is performed by means of testing for skin allergic reaction or test on slime/eye area (with use of lab animals) or by use of alternative general toxicology methods (IN VITRO). In this manner the technical regulations include measures which provide an alternative to animal testing".[20]


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.[17]


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)[21] In 2013 over 500 companies were certified.[22] However, some company's certifications were revoked after it was discovered they continued to test on animals in Asia [23]

Procedures of Animal Testing[edit]

There is a strategy used in animal testing laboratories titled the ' Three R's:' Reduction, refinement, and replacement (Doke, “Alternatives to Animal Testing: A Review”). The approach of reduction is built upon the ethics to have a minimalized number of animal subjects being tested on for current and later tests. Refinement suggests the planned distress and pain caused to an animal subject be as minimalized as possible. Refinement focuses on making a home for the animals before entering testing grounds in order to elongate the life of laboratory animals. Discomfort to animals causes imbalance in hormonal levels which create fluctuating results during testing. Replacement provides the opportunity to study the response of cellular models, but in other words, replacement searches for alternatives that could be done otherwise than testing on animal subjects.

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 e "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 "Be Cruelty-Free Campaign Backed by Global Stars, Launches in Tokyo to End Cosmetics Animal Testing in Japan(March 17, 2014)". Humane Society International. Retrieved 12 May 2015. 
  5. ^ "Development of Cosmetics -- Toward Abolishment of Animal Testing(February 2015)". JFS: Japan for Sustainability. Retrieved 12 May 2015. 
  6. ^ "Initiatives in Response to Animal Testing and Alternative Methods". Shiseido Group. Retrieved 12 May 2015. 
  7. ^ "Approach to alternative to animal experiments". Mandom. Retrieved 12 May 2015. 
  8. ^ "São Paulo Bans Animal Testing". AFP News. January 24, 2014. 
  9. ^ a b "EU extends ban on animal-tested cosmetics". EuroNews. March 11, 2013. 
  10. ^ 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 
  11. ^ Aryan (March 12, 2013). "Norway ban animal testing of cosmetics". The Oslo Times. 
  12. ^ Mukherjee, Rupali (Jan 23, 2014). "Govt bans cosmetic companies from testing on animals". The Times of India. 
  13. ^ "Import ban on animal-tested products goes into effect". The Times of Israel. January 1, 2013. 
  14. ^ http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/270097/mps-unanimously-support-animal-testing-ban
  15. ^ http://www.dailysabah.com/nation/2015/07/27/animal-testing-for-cosmetics-banned-in-turkey
  16. ^ "Animal Research Regulations in the UK". Retrieved September 10, 2015. 
  17. ^ 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. 
  18. ^ http://www.cosmeticsandtoiletries.com/testing/animalalt/Taiwan-Proposes-Animal-Testing-Ban-for-Cosmetics-303286171.html
  19. ^ Dayu, Zhang (November 15, 2013). "China considers end to mandatory animal testing on cosmetics". CNN. 
  20. ^ a b accessdate=May 12, 2015 "Cruelty Free International wins Russian commitment on non-animal testing" Check |url= scheme (help). 
  21. ^ About Cruelty Free International. Cruelty Free International, d.d.
  22. ^ Leaping Bunny Welcomes Wen® Hair and Body Care by Chaz Dean as Cruelty-Free. Leapingbunny.org, d.d.
  23. ^ [1]. Eluxe Magazine, d.d.