Animal rights groups scored a huge victory on Friday, 23rd May 2014, when India along with European Union banned animal testing cosmetics. Drugs Controller General of India announced that India has banned all cosmetic testing on animals and it should be considered permanent.
The authorities have decided to develop non-animal methods to test cosmetic products and all the ongoing and future tests will stay suspended until such methods are developed. The change in the policy has come after a widespread campaign by animal rights groups like PETA.
The decision on the ban was taken after a public consultation period of 45 days, which was followed by Drugs and Cosmetics Rules (Second Amendment), 2014 gazette notification.
Animal testing for cosmetics has been a contentious issue for a long time. Animals, such as rabbits, rats etc are being used to test finished make-up and skin care products. Few ingredients of the cosmetic products are also tested on animals.
The animals are subjected to a lot of pain and side-effects during these tests and for some tests; they even have to endure chemicals and cosmetic ingredients on their mucous membranes like eyes, mouth, and nose.
Obviously, this has been a long-running conflict between cosmetic companies and animal lovers. In many countries, manufacturers are required by the law to test their products on animals. They have to show that their products are safe to use and non-toxic through animal testing. Rules in Japan and America have been widely criticized for this.
Still, cosmetic manufacturers like The Body Shop, Lush cosmetics etc. boast of a 100% animal testing free products and are regarded as the pioneers in this field.
Coming back to India, the science policy adviser for PETA India said that the era of animal cruelty for cosmetic testing in India has ended. He added that the ban is in compliance with the international standards and will boost India’s trade prospects.
PETA India is looking forward to taking the next step in this direction which would be a ban on animal testing for household cleaning and maintenance products and can expect government’s continuing cooperation.