The movement to end the testing of personal care and beauty products on animals has gained momentum in recent years, with three US states, 39 countries, and more than a thousand manufacturers abandoning the outdated and unnecessary practice. US Senators Martha McSally (R-AZ), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Rob Portman (R-OH), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) took an important step and introduced legislation to end cosmetics animal testing and the sale of animal-tested cosmetics in the United States. The Humane Cosmetics Act would phase out the sale of any cosmetic products developed using animal testing and make it unlawful to conduct cosmetic animal testing in the US.
“It’s long past time to end cosmetics animal testing in the U.S. Not only is this practice inhumane, but it is also ineffective and costly,” McSally said. “Companies across the U.S. now successfully use alternative methods of testing that more accurately predict the effect of cosmetics on humans. This bipartisan bill would protect innocent animals from needless abuse, while modernizing our cosmetics industry.”
“Animal testing is cruel and unnecessary and must be ended,” Booker said. “This bipartisan legislation, which has support from a broad coalition of stakeholders, is an important step in the transition to more scientifically reliable test methods and toward the elimination of animal testing once and for all.”
“I’m proud to support this bipartisan legislation as it requires cosmetic companies to verify the safety of their products without the use of animal testing. While nearly 600 cosmetic companies already use alternatives to animal testing, this legislation would build on that progress by expediting the consideration of other reliable testing alternatives. I urge my Senate colleagues to join me in supporting this legislation so that our cosmetics industry can continue to create safe products for consumers without testing on animals,” said Portman.
“There are plenty of cost-effective and accurate ways to gauge the safety of cosmetic products without resorting to outdated and unnecessary tests on animals,” said Whitehouse. “This bipartisan bill is an important step in moving toward safer, more humane testing methods.”
This legislation would bring US cosmetic policy in line with nearly 40 countries that have already implemented bans on animal testing and the sale of animal-tested cosmetics. Of the 13 biggest importers of American cosmetics, 8 countries have bans in place or legislation under consideration. In order to continue selling their products overseas, US cosmetic companies must already use non-animal testing methods to assess the safety of their products.
These alternative methods provide data that is more relevant to human exposure and can offer considerable savings for companies. In addition, thousands of existing cosmetic ingredients with histories of safe use allow nearly 600 cruelty-free companies in North America to innovate while remaining true to their values, and a growing number of proven, non-animal tests are becoming available each year.
Specifically, the bill would:
- make it unlawful to knowingly conduct or contract for cosmetic animal testing that occurs in the United States beginning one year after the law is enacted, and
- make it unlawful to sell or knowingly transport any cosmetic products in the US that were developed using cosmetic animal testing ordered by any person in the product’s supply chain starting one year after the law is enacted.
Exceptions to this law include special safety concerns as approved by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, foreign requirements, drugs used in cosmetics products, and dual-use ingredients.
The Humane Cosmetics Act is endorsed by over 250 companies, the Humane Society of the United States, Cruelty-Free International, and the Personal Care Products Council.
Industry leaders say:
Cruelty-Free International CEO Michelle Thew said: “We applaud this renewed effort to bring an end to animal testing for cosmetics across the United States. This bill will match the progress that we are seeing around the world as consumers, companies, regulators and advocates come together to achieve the common goal of ensuring that animals will no longer suffer for the sake of cosmetics anywhere.”
Personal Care Products Council President and CEO Lezlee Westine said: “For nearly four decades, beauty companies have been at the forefront in reducing the use of animals in product safety testing. We are proud to support the Humane Cosmetics Act that takes us closer to eliminating new cosmetics animal testing and promoting recognition and acceptance of alternative approaches.”
Sara Amundson, President of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, said: “Some thirty years in the making, the partnership between the Humane Society Legislative Fund and Personal Care Products Council to support the Humane Cosmetics Act is a remarkable milestone in the fight to end new animal testing for cosmetics…. We applaud the strong bipartisanship leadership of the bill by Senators Martha McSally, Cory Booker, Rob Portman and Sheldon Whitehouse. Passage of the Act will place the United States at the center of a worldwide shift from animal testing to cruelty-free methodologies for assuring the safety of cosmetics. There isn’t a measure better suited to bridge the partisan divide in Washington, DC, these days.”
Read the full bill here.
Photo: Caleb Perez via Unsplash