Troy Seidle, director of Research & Toxicology from Humane Society International, speaks at the 'Be Cruelty-Free', the world's largest campaign against cosmetics animal testing, in Beijing, China on Friday, June 28, 2013. [Photo: CRIENGLISH.com]
'Be Cruelty-Free', the world's largest campaign against cosmetics animal testing, was launched here in China on Friday to promote beauty without animal suffering. Animal protectionists are calling for industries to end mandatory testing of cosmetics on live animals.
CRI's XYee has more.
Humane Society International, or HSI, is a group that aims to protect all animals from suffering and prevent animal cruelty. In cooperation with domestic NGOs and the help of a Chinese pop singer, they have launched a "Be Cruelty-free campaign" in China in an effort to end cosmetics testing on animals.
Peter Li, China Policies Specialist from HSI, explains the reasons behind the campaign.
"Today's campaign is about being cruelty-free. And this campaign is coming to China. China is the world's fourth largest market for beauty products, with the total volume being about 22 billion US dollars. And this number will grow even bigger in the future. China is also one of the few remaining nations still requiring animal testing in the cosmetics industry to legally verify products."
As Peter Li mentioned, if the Chinese mainland continues to make it mandatory for cosmetics animal testing, then domestic consumers are not even left with the choice to opt for cosmetics that have not undergone animal testing. Equally important is the issue that China's domestically-produced cosmetics products will never enter international markets such as the EU.
Earlier this year, bans on animal testing for cosmetic products in Europe came into full force. As of today, cosmetics tested on animals cannot be marketed any more in the EU. Andrew Rowan, the president of HSI explains.
"Animal testing is expensive, slow, and not terribly good at protecting human outcome."
Currently, hundreds of cosmetics companies worldwide avoid animal testing by make use of the safe ingredients and non-animal tests available. However, most internationally recognized non-animal tests have not yet been officially accepted by Chinese regulators. The situation is beginning to change though.
Troy Seidle is the director of Research & Toxicology from HSI.
"So, about the 'Be Cruelty-Free Campaign' in China, there are a number of elements that ultimately were looking to see, such as to end animal testing requirements that the requirements come from the government. So, speaking with the regulatory agencies to discuss how can we move towards a similar approach to what Europe has done, because the EU and China are the largest trading partners. It is not as much a trade issue, as an animal welfare issue, moving them away from the unnecessary testing requirements."
Doctor Blain Jones, from the Institute for In Vitro Sciences, a non-profit research and testing laboratory dedicated to the advancement of non-animal methods worldwide, says China is making efforts.
"China has been receptive to investigating the use of well-developed and validated non-animals methods such as the 3T3 Neutral Red Uptake test for phototoxicity. And this assay should be expected by the Food and Drug Administration, sometime later this year or next year."
Blain says that the 3T3 Neutral Red Uptake test is the only non-animal test to achieve official acceptance in China. He also said China is the key to change, and they are looking forward to working with Chinese regulators, companies and scientists to see animal tests phased out.