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Ending cosmetics testing on animals in the US

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Our State Legislation efforts are building momentum

Amidst growing international regulatory prohibitions on animal testing for cosmetics and high public support, U.S. States have continued to approve or consider restrictions on the sale of animal tested cosmetics with our support. These state efforts and success are helping to build momentum and may finally break the federal log jam on this issue and clear the way for a US nationwide ban.

In early June, Nevada became the second state after California to ban the sale of animal-tested cosmetics and a similar bill in Illinois is on the governor’s desk awaiting signature. The new laws will prohibit the sale of any cosmetic product that has been tested on animals after the date January 1, 2020 thus bringing these states in line with over 30 countries which already prohibit the sale of newly animal-tested cosmetics.

Getting these bills over the finish line has required continuous advocacy and consensus building amongst multiple stakeholders to find workable solutions – sometimes just in the nick of time. In Nevada for example, the bill cleared the second house vote just before midnight on the state’s May 24th legislative deadline and was signed by Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak a few weeks later.  

For more than 50 years animals have been used in painful tests for cosmetics. But science and public opinion have evolved and today it is no longer necessary or acceptable to harm animals for new cosmetics.State Senator Melanie Scheibel (D-Las Vegas)

The bill’s author State Senator Melanie Scheibel (D-Las Vegas) said: “For more than 50 years animals have been used in painful tests for cosmetics. But science and public opinion have evolved and today it is no longer necessary or acceptable to harm animals for new cosmetics. The time has come to make cruel cosmetics a thing of the past and I am proud that Nevada is leading the way.”

In some cases, we’ve been pleasantly surprised at the level of early support state bills have received. In Illinois for example, the bill passed the State Senate with a landslide vote of 53-0 and the House with a vote of 85-25. Given the level of support and the state’s reputation for passing animal friendly measures, signature by Governor J.B. Pritzner is anticipated. Illinois State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) said of her bill, “Alternative testing methods make sense: they are good for business, safe for consumers, and certainly move us forward to a humane approach by eliminating the cruel practices of the last 50 years.”

Even when bills are introduced but don’t succeed in passing, they help bring momentum to the national conversation.

In addition to Nevada and Illinois, bills aiming to prohibit the sale of new animal tested cosmetics were also introduced (or reintroduced) in New York, Hawaii, Virginia, Maryland, Connecticut and New Jersey. Of these, Hawaii made the most notable progress, passing the House and its first committee hearing in the Senate before running out of time in Hawaii’s legislative cycle. But the bill can pick up where it left off next year. The bill’s author, Hawaii State Representative Chris Lee (D-Kailua, Waimanalo) said, “This bill ensures cosmetics meet the moral and ethical expectations of a generation growing up conscious of the way products impact people, animals, the environment, and the world around them."  

Representative Lee is right. Multiple polls show that US consumers overwhelmingly support ending animal testing for cosmetics. It’s safe to say that until national restrictions on animal testing for cosmetics are passed, constituents will continue to push their state elected officials to introduce state legislation on the issue. The only thing that will stop the state cruelty-free cosmetics wave is the passage of federal legislation either in a larger cosmetics regulation bill or stand-alone legislation that achieves the desired outcome. The cosmetics industry is a global one, so it is important to have consistent rules in order to ensure that animals no longer suffer and die for the sake of cosmetics.

Cruelty Free International will continue our groundbreaking and consensus building work until we get the job done. If you live in the US, please contact your senators and representatives and encourage them to act now for a federal law to stop the use of animals in cosmetics testing. You can also show your support in the US on social media by using the hashtag #SupportHumaneCosmetics to raise awareness.