In another landmark victory for animals in labs, India has announced that it will implement a ban on animal testing for cosmetics, which makes it the first country in South Asia to do so.
Earlier this spring, the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) moved to fast-track the removal of two final animal tests for cosmetic products from India’s safety standard, which marked the beginning of the end of acute oral toxicity (lethal poisoning) and oral mucosal irritation tests on animals that typically include rats, rabbits and hamsters who are not provided pain relief.
On Friday, the Bureau of Indian Standards announced that it approved the removal of animal tests from the country’s cosmetics standard and has made non-animal alternatives mandatory for testing.
“Keeping in view the cruelty towards animals involved, the testing of cosmetics on animals will now not be allowed in the country,” said the Drug Controller General of India, Dr. G N Singh, who added that those who continue testing on animals will face provisions of the country’s Drugs and Cosmetics Act and Animal Cruelty Act.
This move means that any manufacturer interested in testing new cosmetic ingredients or finished products must first seek approval from India’s Central Drug Standards Control Organization and manufacturers will be given approval to test only after complying with the Bureau of Indian Standards’ non-animal standards, according to the Humane Society International (HSI).
“It’s unthinkable that in this day and age, animals are still choking on cosmetic chemicals in decades-old poisoning tests while companies choke on their own inertia in switching to a cruelty-free business model,” said HSI India Be Cruelty-Free Campaign Manager Alokparna Sengupta in March.
Despite the fact that reliable alternatives to animal tests are available, and the fact that hundreds of companies are successfully developing and selling vegan and truly cruelty-free products, millions of animals continue to suffer and die at the hands of companies who refuse to give up the practice for nothing more than human vanity, or really, for profits — but attitudes appear to be changing and the cosmetic testing bans enacted in Israel and the European Union reflect not only the shift in thinking, but offer proof that these tests are completely unnecessary.
“India’s decision shows the way for all countries that are still undecided about whether to ban cosmetics animal testing. Those countries should take action now, follow India’s lead and end cruelty for beauty,” said Troy Seidle, HSI’s director of research and toxicology.
While the announcement is momentous, it’s not the end of the fight to stop animal testing for cosmetics in India. The final end will come when the country implements a sales ban that prevents companies from outsourcing their tests, or importing products that are tested on animals.
“This is a great day for India and for the thousands of animals who will no longer suffer, yet more work must be done. Our government must go a step further by banning cosmetics products that are tested on animals abroad and then imported and sold here in India. Only then will India demonstrate its commitment to compassion and modern, non-animal research methods and truly be cruelty free,” said Indian Member of Parliament Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda.
To find cruelty-free products already available on the international market, visit gocrueltyfree.org.
Photo credit: Thinkstock
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