Step follows measures taken by EU nations

The next time you powder your nose or dab some lipstick, you don’t need to wonder how many rabbits lost their lives when the products were tested.

India has become the first country in South Asia to end such tests.

Any cosmetic product made in the country from now on would be free of animal testing, Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) G.N. Singh told Business Line.

The country had taken a huge step forward to prevent cruelty to animals, especially since there were simulation alternatives available, he said.

Norms soon

The DCGI had chaired a Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) sectoral committee meeting on the issue, and the final norms are expected to come out shortly.

It had been decided that the last two animal-related tests would be dropped from the regulatory standards and any new cosmetic ingredient or product would have to comply with the non-animal standards of BIS, said Alokparna Sengupta of Humane Society International (HSI) India’s Be Cruelty-Free campaign.

The import of animal-test-free products and the labelling of local products to indicate they were free of such tests were being examined, Singh said.

In fact, Member of Parliament Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda is quoted in the HSI statement urging the Government to “go a step further by banning cosmetics products that are tested on animals abroad and then imported and sold in India.

Only then will India demonstrate its commitment to compassion and modern, non-animal research methods and truly be cruelty free.”

Cruelty-free zone

Israel and the 27 EU countries have implemented both testing and sales bans to bring an end to cosmetics testing on animals.

HSI is pushing for India to become the next fully cruelty-free cosmetics zone.

A sales ban would prevent companies from outsourcing testing to third countries and importing animal-tested beauty products back into India for sale, HSI said.

A consumer-goods industry veteran pointed out that large companies had discontinued testing cosmetics on animals for about a decade.

It was in the interest of consumer safety that some testing was still done, he added.

jyothi.datta@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on June 29, 2013)
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