Could California Be the First State to Ban Cosmetics Tested on Animals?

Four years ago this month, the Humane Cosmetics Act (H.R. 4148), aka HCA, was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. This legislation would ban the torturing and killing of animals to test the safety of cosmetics products.

During these tests, rabbits, mice, guinea pigs and other animals are subjected to cruel and painful procedures, such as having harsh chemicals dripped into their eyes or rubbed on their skin. Afterward the animals are usually killed in horrible ways, such as being suffocated or decapitated.

Neither the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the Product Safety Commission requires animal testing for cosmetic products, yet major companies like Clinique, Cover Girl, Maybelline and Revlon continue to engage in this cruel practice, mainly because they sell or manufacture their products in China, where animal testing is required by law. (Here’s a list of cruelty-free brands that refuse to test their products on animals or manufacture them in countries that require this testing.)

Animal testing bans are already in effect in 37 other countries, including the European Union, Israel, Norway, Switzerland, and India. With cruelty-free alternatives readily available (like engineered human skin cells that have proven to be more effective than rabbit skin), enacting a ban in the United States would seem like a no-brainer. More than 174,000 people have signed a Care2 petition urging lawmakers to pass this act.

Although the HCA had bipartisan support, it languished in committee. When the act was reintroduced in 2015 as H.R. 2858, the same thing happened. Most recently, the HCA was reintroduced last June as H.R. 2790. Unfortunately, just like the previous bills, it’s been stuck in committee ever since then.

In the meantime, a similar ban could be enacted for the first time in one U.S. state. The California Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act (SB 1249), introduced last month by Sen. Cathleen Galgiana, would “make it unlawful for any cosmetic manufacturer to knowingly import or sell any cosmetic, including personal hygiene products such as deodorant, shampoo or conditioner, in California if the final product or any component of the product was tested on animals after Jan. 1, 2020,” according to the bill.

Companies breaking the law would face fines of up to $500 for the first violation and up to $1,000 for each subsequent violation.

“Inaction at the federal level compels California to lead the way in ensuring a cruelty-free cosmetics market for its citizens by barring any new ingredients or cosmetics that are tested on animals,” Galgiana said in a press release.

California has already been leading the way in trying to end animal testing for cosmetics. In 2000, it became the first state to pass a law banning the use of animals for testing if appropriate alternative methods are available. Four years ago, the state passed the Cruelty Free Cosmetics Resolution urging Congress to enact legislation establishing reasonable deadlines for the prohibition of the testing and marketing of cosmetic products that have been tested on animals.

The California Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act is sponsored by Social Compassion in Legislation (SCIL) and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). It’s supported by Cruelty Free International and Lush Cosmetics.

If passed, it would “save thousands of animals’ lives each year while making cosmetics safer for humans,” said Judie Mancus, founder of SCIL, in the press release. “This policy is tried and true as the European Union implemented a similar law over five years ago and the sky didn’t fall. Animals have been saved while companies have flourished and grown without cruelty as part of their business model.”

Supporters hope the passage of the California Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act will help fast-track the stalled federal Humane Cosmetics Act and lead to cruelty-free policies being the standard for all beauty products produced in the United States. Please help make this a reality by signing this petition urging California lawmakers to pass the California Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons


hELEN h3 months ago


Carole R
Carole R4 months ago

I hope every state and country follows this lead.

Marie W
Marie W5 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

Cindy S
Cindy Smith8 months ago

evil no animal testing anywhere

Misss D
Shari F11 months ago

Hi Chrissie R, no I do not think that there is necessarily a problem with enforcement. As I say, it has been this way in the UK and Europe for a good few years so, I guess California could come to us for some tips on the enforcement side of things, as it all seems to be working over here.

Lenore K
Lenore K11 months ago

yes ban it everywhere

Patty L
Patty Langford11 months ago

Me, too! I wish I lived in CA! tyfs

sharon b
sharon b11 months ago

A reason to be proud of my state. I hope it passes. Signed

Angel W
Past Member 11 months ago

wish I was in cali

Angel W
Past Member 11 months ago