It is often assumed that changing laws that regulate cosmetic industry practices translates in to negative impacts on business especially small and mid-sized companies. But when the changes sought align strongly with what consumers want and with regulatory trends around the world, businesses of all sizes can benefit. This is precisely the opportunity that ending cosmetics testing on animals now presents.
The use of non-animal tests to assure consumer safety has followed an upward trajectory for at least the last 20 years and that trend has accelerated as countries around the world are prohibiting the use of animal tests for cosmetics. The most significant boost to this trend is the closing of the European market to animal tested cosmetics which came into force in March of 2013. An attempt to weaken this ban was thwarted in September 2016 when in response to a legal challenge, the Court of Justice of the European Union confirmed that cosmetics containing ingredients tested on animals outside of the EU after March 2013 cannot be sold. As the only NGO given permission to intervene on the case, Cruelty Free International played a key role in ensuring the will of the public was upheld in this landmark decision.
While 80% of the world still allows animal testing for cosmetics, roughly half of the global cosmetic market is now firmly closed to animal tested cosmetics. An upward trend in countries turning away from animal testing strengthens the argument that ending cosmetics testing in the US would help ensure a level playing field for US businesses of all sizes. Harmonizing safety testing requirements between nations would allow companies to avoid unnecessary bureaucracy and test duplication when accessing international markets to fill the consumer demand for safe and humane cosmetics.
Even companies that don't trade internationally stand to benefit in a cruelty free market place via increased access to cosmetic ingredients that allow them to assure conscientious customers that animals were not harmed in bringing their products to market. A March 2015 Neilson survey found that "not tested on animals" was the most important packaging claim among those surveyed. The same survey also found that consumers placed a high level of importance on products labeled "all natural," - a reflection of the growing consumer scrutiny of ingredients in cosmetic products.
It's no surprise that companies active in creating sustainable and health conscience products are frequently the same companies active in advocating for an end to animal testing for cosmetics. Clearly it would be counterproductive for companies to support regulatory reforms that would force a tradeoff between their products being deemed safe and cruelty free. Smart companies know there is no reason to compromise. Modern non-animal testing methods have proven to be as good or better at predicting human responses than animal tests and, the new tests tend to produce results more quickly at a lower cost than the animal tests they replace.
Perhaps one of the biggest indications of the positive business potential of banning animal testing for cosmetics is the support for cruelty free reform from cosmetic companies of all sizes. The US Humane Cosmetics Act has garnered the endorsement of more than 150 companies including luxury professional hair care brand Paul Mitchell®, global beauty giant The Body Shop, and natural personal care icon Kiss My Face. This month, Cruelty Free International teamed up with Neal's Yard Remedies to generate support for the Humane Cosmetics Act with a special petition.
Neal's Yard Remedies was founded in the belief that it is possible to make effective and safe beauty products that are kind to people, the planet and animals. As a Leaping Bunny certified company, and long-term supporter of the Cruelty Free International global campaign to end animal testing in the beauty and personal care industry, we are proud to support the Humane Cosmetics Act to end cosmetic testing on animals in the United States.
US consumers have waited far too long for US cosmetics policy to match their expectations, and the US is now falling embarrassingly behind other countries including India, South Korea and, most recently Taiwan. Together with the support of cruelty free cosmetic companies of all sizes, the incoming Congress needs to know it's time to end animal testing for cosmetics once and for all.