Last week, India became the first South Asian country to ban animal testing for cosmetic products.
According to India Today, the Bureau of Indian Standards voted unanimously to remove all language referring to animal testing for cosmetic products from India’s cosmetics standards. So that no testing on animals would take place despite removing the requirement, the Bureau mandated that alternative animal-free testing must be used. Companies must now receive approval from the country’s Central Drug Standards Control Organisation, which will determine that their tests meet the new regulations.
The move has been celebrated by animal rights and welfare organizations including PETA India, Humane Society International (HSI) and the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV), who have campaigned for the testing ban. “The end to cruel and unreliable cosmetics tests on animals in India is a victory for animals and science—and the ban’s compliance with international standards will improve trade avenues for our country. PETA India looks forward to working with the government on the next step: a ban on testing household cleaners and similar products in India,” said Dr. Chaitanya Koduri, PETA India’s science policy adviser and member of India’s Cosmetics Sectional Committee.
HSI Director of Research and Toxicology, Troy Seidle, adds “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.” Similar statements came from BUAV’s Cruelty-Free International Chief Executive Michelle Thew who said the organizations hopes that India’s government “will use their leadership on this important issue to send out a strong message to other countries in Asia that the time has come to consign animal testing for cosmetics to the global history books.”
The organizations are urging India to also ban all imports of cosmetic products tested on animals elsewhere. Currently, Israel and the 27 member countries of the European Union have banned cosmetics animal testing as well as sales of the products from other countries.
“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 Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda, member of the Indian Parliament.