The China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) has announced that beginning June 2014, the country will remove its mandatory animal-testing requirements for domestically manufactured cosmetic products. Under the new rule, manufacturers of "non-special use cosmetics" such as shampoo or perfume, will no longer be required to provide samples of new products to the government for animal testing. Instead, they will be allowed to conduct their own product risk assessments using ingredient safety data and the results of non-animal test methods, provided the test methods are deemed scientifically valid by the European Union (EU).
Calling China’s decision the beginning of what it hopes to be a "paradigm shift towards 21st-century science without animals," the Humane Society Inter national (HSI), which has long campaigned to end cosmetics animal testing in China, said that the action "marks a major milestone in our campaign and could constitute a significant watershed moment in our global effort to end cosmetics animal testing worldwide." HSI estimates that as many as 300,000 rabbits, mice and other animals are subject to cosmetics chemical testing in China each year.
Initially the new rules will apply only to cosmetics manufactured in China. CFDA has reportedly stated however, that the new system may be expanded to include imported products and certain "special use" cosmetics. HSI plans to continue to work with Chinese officials toward a complete ban on cosmetics animal testing and in the meantime, will collaborate with its cruelty-free corporate partners to assess the new system when it is implemented next year. See Humane Society International News Release, November 7, 2013; Reuters.com, November 13, 2013.