In case you hadn’t heard, at the start of fall 2018, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill into law, aimed at banning the sale of cosmetics that were tested on animals. Finally. This is the first law of its kind in the U.S. (although similar laws already exist in the European Union, India, Israel and Norway).
“The California Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act, authored by Democratic state Sen. Cathleen Galgiani, prohibits manufacturers to ‘import for profit, sell, or offer for sale’ any cosmetic product that was developed or made using an animal test, if the test occurs after the law takes effect on Jan. 1, 2020. That means products developed using animal testing may still be sold, as long as the testing does not continue after that date. Violations are punishable by a $5,000 fine, plus an additional $1,000 for each day the violation continues.”1
Animal tests are beyond cruel; “painful skin and eye irritancy experiments, as well as toxicity evaluations that involve exposing animals to deadly substances, sometimes by force-feeding or inhalation.”1 I thought about including a video to make the point, but after watching a couple just couldn’t bring myself to do it. The faces and screams of the animals stay with you. How anyone could think treating living, breathing creatures this way is acceptable is beyond me.
(The animals most commonly used are mice, rats, rabbits and guinea pigs and most are killed when the testing is complete.)
Currently the FDA doesn’t require animal testing on cosmetics but asks manufacturers to “employ whatever testing is appropriate and effective”1 to ensure safety so this new law makes an “exception for animal testing required by state or federal law if there are no alternatives available.”1
Here are some of the issues:
- companies can continue to pay for animal testing on products or ingredients in countries where it’s required by law and then sell those products in California, as long as the animal tests weren’t specifically used to determine the safety of the product for sale in the state.
- enforcement of the law rests with county district attorneys or city attorneys and it’s unclear how local prosecutors would uncover possible violations.
Although China still requires animal testing on all imported cosmetics (just boycott the brand world-wide until they tell China “No more!”) advocates hope California’s law will encourage companies to fight for international changes.
Let’s hope California is just the start.