Economy

India, first cruelty-free cosmetics zone in S Asia; bans import of animal-tested cosmetics too 

P. T. Jyothi Datta Mumbai | Updated on October 14, 2014 Published on October 14, 2014




 

After implementing a national ban on animal testing for cosmetics, India has followed it up by banning the import of animal-tested cosmetics as well.

The significant development makes India the first cruelty-free cosmetics zone in South Asia and an example for other nations to follow, said a note from Humane Society International (India), hailing the move that is also being cheered by ethical consumers in the country.

The ban comes in the form of Rule 135-B that states, “Prohibition of import of cosmetics tested on animals. No cosmetic that has been tested on animals after the commencement of Drugs and Cosmetics (Fifth Amendment) Rules, 2014 shall be imported into the country”, the note said. The notification will come into effect on 13 November, 2014.

Explaining the significance, HSI’s Alokparna Sengupta said that a consumer can be confident that any cosmetic in the country, imported after the November cut-off will be free of the cruel practise of testing on animals.

Pro-life groups across the world have long campaigned to end the practise of testing cosmetics on animals. Often called the “ugly secrets behind the beauty industry”, campaigners have revealed how tests on animals like rabbits etc are done, injuring and maiming them.

Several large companies have in the past said that they have stopped testing cosmetics on animals, though they still stop short of labelling their products as “not tested on animals”, as is seen on some local products like the Lotus brand or international brands like Body Shop and Jovees.

However, sections of the cosmetic industry, ranging from shampoos to lipsticks, still argue for animal testing, before introducing new products into the market.

Globally cruelty-free

Israel and the 27 EU countries have already implemented both testing and sales bans to bring an end to cosmetics testing on animals. A little less than a year ago, even China took a monumental step in this direction. China’s Food and Drug Administration said that China would remove mandatory animal test requirements for its locally made cosmetic products, from June this year. Earlier this year #BeCrueltyFree campaigners in Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, Taiwan and the United States have all celebrated the introduction of bills proposing national cosmetic animal test bans, the note said.

Sengupta further added, “We feel confident that if this vision is applied to other areas of product testing, this can be a defining moment in the modernization of India’s safety science, with potentially hundreds of thousands more animals spared pain and suffering.”

In the statement, Gauri Maulekhi, a trustee with People for Animals said: “India has shown outstanding leadership by so swiftly advancing first a ban on cosmetics animal testing and now a ban on animal-tested cosmetics imported from overseas. By working so diligently with the #BeCrueltyFree India campaign, our policy makers have put India on the map as a country transforming its laboratories and regulation from outdated test methods to state-of-the-art science. Animals, consumers, scientists and companies have everything to gain from such modernization.”

In June, HSI met Health Minister Harsh Vardhan with a petition of over 70,000 signatures supporting an import ban. The support came from over 30 legislators, with special mention of Maneka Sanjay Gandhi, Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda, L.K. Advani,  Murli Manohar Joshi and Supriya Sule, the note added.

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Published on October 14, 2014
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