China Ending Pre-Market Animal Testing
BOSTON—One step closer to victory: China is set to end its pre-market cosmetic animal testing. China has finalized regulations that will change the course of how the country approaches cosmetic safety assessments. These regulations, which will be set in motion in January of 2021, will ban all pre-market animal testing for “ordinary” cosmetic products.
The category of “ordinary” cosmetics applies to the bulk of personal care products. Items such as shampoo, mascara, perfume, and blush fall within this category. Products that fall outside of the ordinary category, referred to as “special” cosmetics, will still require pre-market animal testing. Special cosmetics include those used for sun protection, hair loss, hair and skin coloring, perming, children’s products, and cosmetics that make specific claims, such as ones that provide anti-aging effects.
Kitty Block, President and CEO of Humane Society International, supported the move in China ending pre-market animal testing. Block applauds China for taking proactive steps toward change:
The era of cosmetic animal testing is nearly at an end, and through our global #BeCrueltyFree campaign we are passing laws in key cosmetic markets to ensure that no animal is ever again made to suffer in the name of beauty. – Kitty Block
Cosmetics Supervision and Administration Regulation
The new regulation encourages cosmetic producers to adopt modern science and technologies in order to eliminate the use of animal testing. These standards are internationally recognized as safe and effective alternatives to animal testing. These technologies are available to companies ready to turn the page on inhumane practices. Furthermore, the Animal-Free Safety Assessment Collaboration, Humane Society, and their NGO partners are currently developing and delivering free training resources for companies looking to make the transition. These free resources will help animal testing countries, “increase their capacity to make cosmetic safety decisions without reliance on new animal test data.”
Pre-Market vs. Post-Market Animal Testing
With that said, the fight is not yet over. Cosmetic animal testing is still a widely used practice in mainland China. China performs cosmetic animal testing in two separate stages: pre-market and post-market.
Pre-market animal testing occurs before products are sold on shelves in mainland China. Chinese officials reason that this is necessary to prove that product formulations are safe for consumer use. However, this outdated and inhumane practice does not accurately reflect whether or not products will be safe for humans.
Post-market animal testing involves pulling products from shelves to test on animals. This most often occurs when a safety concern arises. If a product formulation has posed a safety issue for consumers, China will pull the product and conduct animal testing.
All domestic and non-domestic “foreign” cosmetics still require both pre-market and post-market animal testing as of July 2020. Foreign cosmetics are classified as those which have originated outside of China and then enter into the Chinese market.
In March 2019, Chinese officials announced that non-domestic, imported goods entering the Chinese market would not require post-market animal testing. However, this is not an accurate statement. According to the Humane Society International, “China recently released for the first time its post-market testing plan, & it reveals that no animal tests are listed for routine post-market surveillance. However, in the case of non-routine tests…animal testing could still be the default.” Non-routine tests include issues such as consumer complaints. Thus, post-market animal testing is still used for both domestic and non-domestic products.
Although the universal fight to end animal testing is not yet over, it is certainly heading in the right direction.
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