The Chinese government reportedly intends to revise its main cosmetics regulation which, unchanged since 1990, requires that every new cosmetic product formulation intended for sale in China be animal-tested in a government laboratory before sale to Chinese consumers. Although Chinese authorities have not officially made a commitment to use animal-testing alternatives, they have apparently invited industry representatives and other interested parties to review the cosmetics regulation and have stated that they “do not object in principle” to accepting animal-testing alternatives.
Despite China’s booming cosmetics industry, worth an estimated $22 billion, its animal test-based regulatory framework has reportedly created an increasing divide between the Chinese market and the growing number of countries that have banned cosmetic testing on animals. Some manufacturers have pledged not to sell products in China until the animal-test requirement is removed.
Animal rights groups such as Humane Society International (HSI), which launched its Be Cruelty-Free China campaign earlier this year, have publicly welcomed China’s action, and HSI toxicology experts have prepared a report for the China Food and Drug Administration that highlights opportunities to reduce longstanding scientific and trade barriers. These include accelerating China’s acceptance of internationally recognized non-animal methods for safety testing and aligning China’s animal-testing policy with that of Europe, Israel and India, where such testing is banned for cosmetic products and ingredients.
“We hope that China will align its cosmetics policy with Europe and other regions where cosmetics animal testing has already been abandoned, so that Chinese consumers can benefit from the cruelty-free cosmetics they clearly want and Chinese companies are free to sell their new cosmetics lines in the cruelty-free EU market,” said HIS Director of Research and Toxicology Troy Seidle. See Humane Society International News Release, September 30, 2013; livescience.com, October 11, 2013.