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My Newsfeed Explosion!

For the last month, my newsfeeds have been on fire with headlines announcing governments around the world are updating their Animal Testing Laws for cosmetics! Here are some examples.

European Parliament Supports International Ban on Animal Testing for Cosmetics: May 3, 2018
Brazilian Senator supports a ban on animal cosmetics testing: May 9, 2018
Why Is The Government Still Doing Animal Testing For Cosmetics? May 23, 2018
Cruelty-Free Cosmetic Act Passes in California Senate: June 1, 2018
Canada’s Dirty Little Secret: June 13, 2018
Canada’s Senate Passes Cruelty-Free Cosmetic Act: June 21, 2018
Australia Eyes Cosmetics Boom As China Eases Mandatory Animal Testing   June 22, 2018
WAN Breaking News; Estee Lauder Pays Huge Lobby Firm To Fight Against Passing “The Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act” June 25, 2018

Most of this is excellent news! However, when I think animal testing policies are changing, I feel sucker punched with bad news or an exposé article. What are we supposed to do with this conflicting information?

Before I give you my take, I would encourage you to read my blog posts on cosmetic animal testing.  There is the background on cosmetic testing and information on why animal testing for cosmetics is no longer necessary.

Here are a couple of blog excerpts.

In China, the law mandates all imported beauty products tested on animals. These tests are carried out by their government health agency. So what is the ethically minded consumer to do? Read and research. While companies do not necessarily carry out the practice themselves, it’s the price they’re willing to pay for selling in Mainland China. What’s worse is many Cruelty-free companies sell in China, or their parent company sells in China. There’s no way around it, sold in China means animal testing! China is a significant market, and a vast market means $$$$. China represents 20 % of the global beauty market. That’s why companies sell there.

 

I was surprised to hear that roughly seven global companies own two hundred of the worlds the most prominent brands. Did you know that? The Leaping Bunny is the authority on all things cruelty-free, but they will certify a company that doesn’t test in it’s manufacturing even when it sells in China. Certification gets a little fuzzy here, and consumers need to be aware so that they can pick their line in the sand.

Now that you have the background information lets get into all this news and what it means.

Oh, Canada!   

First off, as a Canadian, I’m over the moon happy that the Senate passed the Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act (Bill S-214). The Bill, first introduced in 2015, is waiting to be signed into law. As of the “effective” date, in Canada, animal testing and the sale of the animal tested products will be prohibited. It’s fair to say that most consumers aren’t aware that animal testing has been legal in Canada. Furthermore, the passing of this Bill hasn’t exactly been headline news. I hope that in time, the passing of this Bill will become headline worthy and make the population aware of the legality of cosmetics animal testing in this country.  Until this is a Law, animal-testing will continue in this country! The big question is, how long will it take for the Bill to become Law and what will the timeframe be for an “effective” date? Things move very slowly in government, and the “dirty little secret” of cosmetics animal testing will continue until it legally cannot. Let’s hope this happens quickly!

My verdict? Here in Canada, we’re a long way from this Law, and we need to stay vigilant in our purchase power. Contact your MP and ask what’s happening with the Bill and give your support.  Do your research; there are many people, like me, who are genuinely passionate about this topic. Read what you can and shop from recommendations and reviews. Remember, most of these companies do not do big-time advertising so you won’t see their ads on TV while you’re watching the 6 o’clock news. You’ll find them primarily online or in the occasional brick and mortar locations. Be aware of the source of products, which parent companies are involved and if they sell to Mainland China.

California Dreamin’

Now let’s talk about California. Again, I’m so happy to hear that the California Senate passed the State Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act (Bill 1249). Like Canada, this has been in the works and grinding its way through various levels of government for many years. It started in 2000 when California prohibited animal testing when an alternative option is available. In 2014 the Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Resolution was passed, and Congress was urged to enact new legislation that bans testing and marketing of all cosmetics tested on animals. Finally, in 2018, Bill 1249 has passed. If the Governor signs the Bill, crossing my fingers, it will take effect January 1, 2020.

With cruelty-free advocates breathing a sigh of relief, there appears to be some pushback from Estee Lauder who, according to the attached article has hired a big-time lobby group to protest this Bill. Sounds a bit like a “big pharma” move but the article doesn’t give much detail, and I can’t find anything else on this subject. I want to wait for more evidence.

Estee Lauders’ lobby aside, this California Bill is big news but for me, there’s still a caveat in all of this. In the United States, the government itself runs the National Toxicology Program and cosmetics, and the ingredients are on the NYP list of taxpayer-funded government animal testing. Why? Great question? Do Americans know their tax dollars go to cosmetic animal testing?  Individual tests for each compound can take three to five years, costing taxpayers upwards of 4 Million dollars.  Each compound test can also use over 800 animals.  Are you kidding me?  Why is it so difficult for Government to understand that In situ (human tissue) testing is much more effective for cosmetic markets? If it remains legal for the Federal Government to animal test, does that mean some of the products bound for California will still be animal tested? Do the manufactures of the products have to comply but the Federal Government can continue their testing? I’m confused, perplexed and would love to know what the rules are.   I’d also like to know where PETA. Leaping Bunny and Cruelty-Free International are on this and why haven’t they done something to get this stopped?

My verdict? There are still some big, huge unanswered questions, so I’m feeling cautious about this. I will purchase from companies that use proven safe ingredients as there’s a list of over 30,000! I choose not buy from a company that’s developing the next big thing in new chemical components that require National Toxicology testing. I also support the smaller Indy Companies that don’t serve the significant mass market and keep their own ethical, tight control over product development and the rules around them. As with Canada, we need to stay vigilant in our purchase power!

China’s Great Leap Forward?

Finishing with China and it’s mandated animal testing for all imported cosmetic products. China means big business, period. Some estimates say that cosmetics are a $60 Billion industry in Mainland China alone! Companies sell in China because it’s a big profit center and they are willing to turn a blind eye to the animal testing practices required before they can sell there. So, for example, Estee Lauder, L’Oreal, Chanel MAC, Calvin Klein, Covergirl, Maybelline and many more are technically participating in animal testing to capitalize on the Chinese market. The rest of the world can pass all the Bills they want, and that’s wonderful, but until China halts animal testing, there will be continued animal suffering.

Do animals need to die for us to have beautiful skin and look pretty?

This month, Cruelty-Free International signed an agreement with Chinese authorities to allow foreign companies to sell their products in China without the mandatory animal testing. The deal with China is a pilot project only at this point, but it is progress. I’ve read that there are plans to do in-situ (human tissue) testing training in China to prove that testing without harm to animals is accurate and the results are more in line with human tissue reactions.  Please let that be true!

My verdict? I’m sticking with what I know and what the rules are right now. Will China work to bring about change?  Will changes have to work through China’s government system for these changes to be implemented? How long will it take?  Based on what has happened at home it can take a painfully long time.

Is there anything we can do right now about animal testing for cosmetics?

There is a lot we can do.  For me, I choose to put my money where my mouth is.  I’m too impatient to wait for the governmental slow grind of progress. I firmly believe we as consumers hold the cards and we have the power to bring about change. We can sign petitions; we can follow blogs, we can be aware of what products we use. We can sign up for updates and special offers from cruelty-free companies and products we like.  We can be mindful of what’s happening to animals in the name of beauty and change our purchase habits. There is no reason for another animal to be harmed, maimed, tortured or killed in the name of beauty. We can come together to make a difference.

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