Almost There: China Announces End To Post-Market Animal Testing For Cosmetic Products

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China is on the road to completely banning animal testing for cosmetic products. The Gansu Province National Medical Products Association announced that post-market testing for finished imported and domestically produced cosmetic products will no longer involve animal testing.

While this does not yet apply to pre-market testing requirements for imported cosmetics, it does indicate a big step forward to eradicating the cruel and dangerous practice. The statement from the association is a positive development for Chinese manufacturers and consumers to integrate into the global cruelty-free market. The European Union, for instance, has completely banned the sales of all animal-tested cosmetics since 2013.

Chief Executive of Cruelty Free International (CFI) Michelle Thew said: “This assurance by the Chinese authorities…is an enormous step in the right direction and the most welcome”.

The move was preceded by the Chinese authorities’ memorandum of understanding (MOU) with The Institute for In Vitro Sciences, Inc. (IIVS) earlier in 2017. The non-profit organisation is dedicated to using non-animal testing methods, and urged the government to remove the mandatory requirement that cosmetic companies have to use animal testing before selling products on Chinese markets.

Given that the Chinese market plays such a dominant role in the cosmetics industry, the impact of China changing these laws on animal testing will be huge. According to Statista, the retail trade revenue of cosmetics and beauty industry stood at almost 22 billion Yuan in 2017. The stakes of losing out on rising sales among the large Chinese consumer base means that brands are unlikely to resist animal testing policies. Well-known global make-up giants such as NARS, L’Oreal and Benefit continue to participate in animal testing in order to sell their products to their large Chinese consumer base.

This makes the recent statement by the Gansu Province National Medical Products Association a cause for celebration. Although it needs to be recognised that this does not yet ensure that all imported brands are cruelty-free, it does signify that China is on course to adopting ethical standards.  

“Through co-operation and partnership our aim to end cosmetic animal testing everywhere and forever is coming closer,” said Thew.


Image courtesy of Cosmetics China Agency.

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