A report from Nielsen published in March reveals consumers' high desire for cruelty-free cosmetic products. According to the report, 57 percent of consumers considered the label "not-tested on animals" to be the most important packaging claim on beauty products. Additionally, 43 percent of the survey participants would agree to pay more for products that have not been tested on animals. Those results should send a strong message to the cosmetics industry and to our federal regulators.
Despite consumers' desire for cosmetic products that are not tested on animals, rats, mice, guinea pigs and rabbits are still dying to evaluate the toxicity of ingredients for our shampoo, eye shadow or lipstick. Common tests are conducted on rabbits that involve pouring chemicals into their eyes or applying them to their shaved skin. Rats are used to see how much of a substance it takes to make them sick and/or kill them by force-feeding, dermal exposure and sometimes by inhalation.
In recent years we have seen a major shift toward ending animal testing for cosmetics across the globe. The Humane Society of the United States' affiliate Humane Society International led the successful #BeCrueltyFree campaign in India, which recently joined the 28 member countries of the European Union, Norway and Israel, in the cruelty-free market place. More than 1.7 billion people now live in countries where animal testing and the import of animal-tested cosmetics have been banned.
HSI and its local partners were also behind New Zealand's recent decision to ban animal testing of cosmetics, and they are now working to ensure an import ban on animal tested cosmetics is the next step. While HSI is also campaigning to end cosmetics cruelty in Canada, Brazil, South Korea, Japan, Australia, China and Taiwan, The HSUS and the Humane Society Legislative Fund are spearheading the Be Cruelty-Free campaign in the US, and leading legislative activities to see similar prohibitions be put in place here at home.
Last year, The HSUS and HSLF worked with Rep. Jim Moran to introduce the Humane Cosmetics Act, a bill that would end animal testing for cosmetics in the US. The bill received support from Democrats and Republicans, and was backed by more than 140 cosmetics companies and stakeholders, including Overstock.com, Coty, Lush, Paul Mitchell, Moroccanoil, Juice Beauty, Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps and Seventh Generation.
In addition to making sense for consumers and protecting animals, aligning our regulations with countries that have already implemented bans on cosmetic animal testing is needed if the US wants to remain a leader in the industry. Cosmetics companies have to comply with those bans to continue to facilitate the trade of cosmetics goods, so eliminating animal testing in the US beauty industry makes good business sense.
Out of the top 13 importers of American cosmetics goods, nine countries have animal testing and sales bans in place or legislation either introduced or in negotiation, which represent 80 percent of the US trade value.