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Monday, June 30, 2014

Taking Action on Animal Testing at Home and Abroad

Today the Taking Action for Animals conference wraps up in Washington, D.C., where more than 1,250 animal protection advocates gathered to hone their skills, celebrate the progress made in our cause, lobby their congressional offices on animal welfare legislation, and learn more about how to bring advocacy tools back to their own communities. But today there is also exciting news on the international front about the critical “Be Cruelty-Free” campaign to end animal testing for cosmetics globally.

China Vshine
"Be Cruelty-Free" activists in China/VShine-HSI

After decades of Chinese government policy requiring that every new cosmetic product be tested on animals, the tireless work of our colleagues at Humane Society International has led to the repeal of this regulation for most Chinese-made beauty products. This landmark change was brought about by the Chinese government’s sensitivity to growing public awareness of the inhumane and unnecessary use of animals in cosmetics testing, and demand for the same cruelty-free consumer choices that we in the U.S. have come to take for granted.

So where does our country stand in the cruelty-free trend now sweeping the globe? We’ve fallen behind the European Union, India, Israel, and Norway, which have banned all animal testing of cosmetics, and in all but one case, also the import and sale of newly animal tested beauty products. And now other developing beauty product markets, such as Australia, Brazil, China, and Taiwan, are also positioning themselves to overtake the United States on cosmetics regulation.

The U.S. can’t lag behind on this issue, and that’s why one of the bills animal advocates are pushing on Capitol Hill this week is H.R. 4148, the Humane Cosmetics Act, sponsored by Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va.— the recipient on Saturday evening of The Humane Society of the United States’ Lifetime Achievement Award for his career-long commitment to animal welfare policymaking — and Rep. Michael Grimm, R-N.Y. This bill would prohibit animal testing for cosmetics manufactured or sold in the U.S., ending painful tests that rabbits, mice, rats, and guinea pigs endure to assess the safety of cosmetics.

Humane and safe cosmetics can be made using the thousands of existing ingredients, and several non-animal safety tests are already available for new ingredients. These non-animal alternatives can be cheaper, faster, and more relevant to humans, and therefore more reliable at predicting safety. Help make animal testing of cosmetics in the U.S. a thing of the past—just like in the other parts of the world where cosmetics animal testing has already been phased out. Please take action and ask your members of Congress to pass the Humane Cosmetics Act.

P.S.—Tied in with the TAFA conference this weekend, The HSUS hosted a 60th anniversary gala, attended by more than 500 people, to celebrate our public policy and enforcement work. After we brought out a puppy rescued by our HSI team last week from the dog meat festival in Yulin, China, the crowd pledged more than $100,000 to establish an HSI office in Vietnam, which has a central role in the dog meat trade in southeast Asia. This office will concentrate on expanding the reach of our public policy work and banning the dog meat trade in the nations where it’s still legal.

 

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