Depending on what part of the world or country that you research the ideals, guidelines and laws of animal testing in the cosmetics industry varies widely. The similarities and differences among China, The European Union and America will be compared and discussed. How do the variances amongst the three of them affect trade? Are these countries views on animal testing political, cultural or economic and how do they vary by region? At this time, there are no laws banning animal testing for cosmetics in about 80 percent of the world. However, should a conscious consumer want to purchase cosmetics products free from animal testing, they can opt to look for the “Cruelty-Free” and “Not Tested on Animals” labels. Leaping Bunny
The European Union
The European Union, which is a political and economic union of 28-member states, made history for animal activists and millions of concerned general public when they banned animal testing for cosmetics in 2013. Initially the law banned the sale of any cosmetic product that has been tested on animals in finished form after 2004. By 2013 the ban was that no ingredients, combination of ingredients or final formulations of cosmetics products could be tested on animals in the EU. The EU believes that they have shown the world that it is possible to have a successful cosmetics market without the need for animal testing. They are working towards taking a step closer to an international agreement to stop animal testing in the cosmetics industry. European Parliament by a majority of 620 votes from a group of 751 members are advocating to adopt a worldwide ban on animal testing for cosmetics products by 2023. They are the global leader taking to set a new standard to produce humane beauty without animal cruelty worldwide. Experiments on animals are cruel, expensive and often generally inapplicable to humans. The European Coalition to End Animal Experiments partnered with Cruelty International to achieve alternative, more effective and less expensive testing methods. Alternatives to animal testing include tests using human cells and tissues known as in vitro methods. Also, advanced computer-modeling techniques sometimes referred to as in silico models are used. And yes, there are studies with human volunteers. Culturally with economic benefits The European Union chose to be the leader to take a stand to stop animal cruelty. Additionally, there are thousands established ingredients that are recognized as safe and therefore do not require further testing. There are close to 20,000 ingredients in the European Union’s database for which safety data is already available to all.
The Chinese cosmetics industry is one of the most fast-growing fields of business in China. According to the hktdc Research website in 2017, retail sales were an estimate 251 billion U.S. dollars in China. It is economically strong with the world’s largest names such as Estee Lauder, Cover Girl and L’OREAL selling into the country. The Chinese government requires mandatory pre-market animal testing for all imported cosmetics in the make-up, hair, skin and nail care categories.
Other foreign and domestically produced cosmetics in China referred to as ‘special use’ such as sunscreens, hair dyes, skin-whitening creams and products that have a functional claim on their label do require animal testing. There have been reports of Chinese authorities doing unknown, non-required post-market animal testing on cosmetics already approved for sale. China may require companies to carry out additional animal testing for cosmetic ingredients that have not previously been approved for use in China. It should also be noted that any cosmetic purchased in China from a foreign e-commerce website has never required animal testing. Domestic Chinese produced cosmetics for foreign export only have also never required animal testing. The choice to export or market cosmetics into China with all its animal testing requirements is an ethical and cultural choice a company must make or pass on. Chinese cosmetics companies that want to sell abroad specifically in countries where animal testing is no longer allowed, will need to cross-cultivate like some global partners to the safety of their products via non-animal methods.
The European Union and China
Each of the EU countries have their own government but most are parliamentary democracies, where they represent the people The European Union through social learnings adapted into their culture the responsibility to protect animals from the cruelty of testing. They passionately embraced the support of their people understanding that animals eat, sleep, reproduce, and endure pain just like humans. The only difference between humans and animals is that they are not capable to fight back for themselves. Since they are incapable of fighting for themselves the EU with compassion collectively took steps to stop producing cosmetics with animal testing within their region.
With the global pressures of the EU union and being one of the biggest traders in the world China, in 2014 took their first small step to domestically no longer require mandatory animal testing on make-up, hair, skin and nail care categories produced in their country. This step did not ban animal testing but was an attempt to globally appease those who have harsh judgement on China’s animal testing laws within the beauty industry. Politically, Chinese authorities are cautious about changing animal testing regulations because the burden of safety for products lies within the government, not the manufacturer. Culturally, part of China is undeveloped and consumes dogs and cats for food, which is unheard of within the Countries of the European Union and most of the world. According to a Global study the Chinese are least likely to own a pet however this is gradually changing.
The United States
The European Union and China are two of the biggest traders in the world. China is now the EU’s second-biggest trading partner behind the United States and the EU is China’s biggest trading partner.
In the United States the FDA does not require animal testing in cosmetics for safety or premarket approval, but it may be used. As written on the FDA website “FDA supports and adheres to the provisions of applicable laws, regulations, and policies governing animal testing, including the Animal Welfare Act and the Public Health Service Policy of Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. Moreover, in all cases where animal testing is used, FDA advocates that research and testing derive the maximum amount of useful scientific information from the minimum number of animals and employ the most humane methods available within the limits of scientific capability.” It is the responsibility of the cosmetics manufacture to test the safety of the product and ingredients prior to going to market, whereas in China it is the government.
Within the United States, California has been the leader to advocate the banning of Animal testing. In 2000, California became the first state to ban animal testing whenever alternative methods are available. In August of 2018 California Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act, SB 1249, was passed making it illegal for cosmetic companies to knowingly sell any cosmetic or personal-hygiene product in California if any component has been tested on animals. This new act will go into effect on the first day of January in 2020.
The major shift away from animal testing for the United States as a whole came when Europe banned it in 2013. During this time the U.S. Cosmetics market began being policed by the E.U. For example, if you wanted to sell a pink lipstick in Paris, you couldn’t test it on animals, but in China, that same lipstick had to be tested on animals. In 2015, a U.S. bill was introduced to ban animal testing and it did not pass. It has since been reintroduced in 2017 with the push that Congress should permanently end the process of testing cosmetics on animals. The United States has yet to catch up with modern advancements, global progress and consumer expectations to join forces against animal testing. Surprising, China and the United States, except for California share the fact that animal testing is still allowed and not illegal. Unlike China, the United States does have concerns and is pushing to make strides to become a cruelty-free country. Globally there are higher expectations from the European Countries for America to mandate animal testing to be illegal as they share a similar culture and political system. Politically, culturally and driven by economic growth in the beauty industry China does not have the same sense of urgency or concern for this global matter.
On the topic of animal testing in the cosmetics industry, Globalization differs depending on the region of the world, the type of government, economics and the culture.
As of now, China is the only large global cosmetic industry that makes it mandatory for beauty products sold into their country to be tested on animals. The European Union has made a ban on all products that have been tested on animals. Currently in America animal testing is not mandatory, but it is also not banned. California has made a step for the U.S. to end animal testing all together this year and will be using alternative testing methods that do not involve animals at all.