Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

China considers revising law on animal testing for cosmetics

LONDON (30 Sept.2013) - The Chinese government has announced that the country's main cosmetics regulation is to be revised. Humane Society International's Be Cruelty-Free campaign welcomes this move as the opportunity for China to move beyond animal testing in the cosmetics sector.  

HSI's Be Cruelty-Free Campaign Welcomes Revision of China Cosmetics Law as Time to Modernise Without Animal Testing

Following the launch of Be Cruelty-Free China and a series of high-level meetings with government officials in Beijing earlier this year, HSI was pleased to see interest in modernizing China's regulatory framework for cosmetics. The country's 'Regulations concerning the Hygiene Supervision over cosmetics' has been in place unchanged since 1990 and requires that every new cosmetic product formulation intended for sale in China be animal tested in a government laboratory before being made available to Chinese consumers. The government also carries out follow-up animal testing of cosmetic products after they've been put on sale.

HSI's toxicology experts have prepared a detailed submission for the China Food and Drug Administration, highlighting opportunities to reduce longstanding scientific and trade barriers. These include accelerating China's acceptance of internationally recognized non-animal methods for safety testing, and aligning China's animal testing policy with that of Europe, Israel and India, where such testing is banned for cosmetic products and ingredients.

Troy Seidle, HSI's director of research and toxicology, said: "The revision of China's cosmetics framework regulation is a pivotal moment in our Be Cruelty-Free China campaign and we are delighted to be contributing our scientific expertise. The science of non-animal safety testing has come a long way in the 23 years since China's regulation was enacted, inspiring a global shift away from cosmetics animal testing and towards sophisticated computer and human tissue techniques. This is the right time to embrace these new approaches. We hope that China will align its cosmetics policy with Europe and other regions where cosmetics animal testing has already been abandoned, so that Chinese consumers can benefit from the cruelty-free cosmetics they clearly want and Chinese companies are free to sell their new cosmetics lines in the cruelty-free EU market."  

HSI's Be Cruelty-Free China campaign believes revising these rules to eliminate animal testing will improve consumer protection by moving away from decades-old toxicity tests that are poor predictors of human responses. As well as modernising safety testing, moving away from animal use would also allow the Chinese cosmetics industry to benefit from testing strategies that are often far faster and cheaper than animal testing.

China has a booming cosmetics industry, now one of the largest in the world with an estimated annual worth of more than 100 Billion RMB. While ethical consumerism and demand for cruelty-free cosmetics has grown in the last two decades, and many beauty brands have rejected animal testing in response, China's animal test-based regulatory framework has created an increasing divide between the Chinese market and the growing number of countries choosing to outlaw cosmetics animal testing. Some brands such as LUSH, Paul Mitchell Systems and Urban Decay have pledged not to sell in China until the animal test requirement is removed.

Be Cruelty-Free China is part of the largest campaign in the world to end cosmetics animal testing. Globally, HSI and its Be Cruelty-Free partners are leading the charge to end cosmetics cruelty in Australia, Brazil, China, Korea, New Zealand, Russia and beyond.

Humane Society International and its partner organisations together constitute one of the world's largest animal protection organisations. For more than 20 years, HSI has been working for the protection of all animals through the use of science, advocacy, education and hands on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide - on the Web at