June 5, 2023
Canada eyes ban on animal testing for cosmetics. What are the alternatives? – National | Globalnews.ca

Canada eyes ban on animal testing for cosmetics. What are the alternatives? – National | Globalnews.ca

Canada is planning to impose a ban on cosmetic testing on animals — a long-awaited move widely welcomed by wildlife protection advocates and other industry stakeholders who have been calling for an end to the “cruel” practice.

In the 2023 budget released Tuesday, the Liberal government announced they plan to amendment to the Food and Drugs Act to prohibit the testing of cosmetics on animals in the country.

Under the proposed legislation, Ottawa also wants to ban selling cosmetics that rely on animal testing data to establish the product’s safety, with some exceptions.

In addition, the government is looking to clamp down on false or misleading labelling related to cosmetic testing on animals.

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Animal rights advocates in Canada have long called for a complete ban on such testing and to move towards non-animal alternatives.

“Canada’s commitment yesterday in the budget to ban cosmetic testing was critical because it is not required, it is unnecessary, it is cruel and painful, it causes suffering and death in animals and all for beauty products,” said Barbara Cartwright, CEO of Humane Canada, in an interview on Wednesday with Global News.

“This is something that should have happened a long time ago,” she added.

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Canada’s cosmetic industry is also celebrating the move to end animal testing on products in the country.

In a joint statement, Humane Society International/Canada, Animal Alliance Canada, Cruelty Free International, Cosmetics Alliance Canada, Lush Cosmetics and The Body Shop called it a “landmark opportunity” for Canada.

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“We are so pleased to see the inclusion of the commitment to ban cosmetics animal testing and trade in the federal budget,” the group of stakeholders said.

“We strongly encourage the Canadian government to fulfill its mandate by introducing this legislation at the earliest opportunity and position Canada as a global leader in promoting alternatives to animal testing.”

Darren Praznik, president and CEO of Cosmetics Alliance Canada, said this ban is “very symbolic” and serves as a “real model” for other industries looking to eliminate animal testing.

“I think what we can show here in cosmetics is there’s a real lesson in how to work together between animal rights stakeholders and industry,” he told Global News in an interview.

What about other countries?

Under Canada’s Food and Drugs Act, cosmetic testing on animals is not required, but there is also no provision explicitly banning it.

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Canada trails more than 40 countries that have already enacted laws to limit or ban animal testing for cosmetics. These include the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, South Korea, India, Israel and Turkey to name a few.

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The European Union was among the first to impose a full ban back in 2013.

The U.S. is also working to pass similar legislation, called the Humane Cosmetics Act, and so far 10 states have laws in place prohibiting the sale of animal-tested cosmetics, according to the Humane Society of the United States.  

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China has historically required animal testing on cosmetic products and despite the easing of its regulations in recent years, some cosmetic brands still use animal testing in order to be able to sell their products in the country.

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In Canada, the measure has been years in the making.

The Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act was first introduced in the Canadian Senate in 2015. It took three years for that Conservative bill to pass the Senate. It was given first reading in the House of Commons in April 2019, but died when the election was called that year.

Since then, calls to abolish the practice have only grown.

As part of its 2021 election campaign, the Liberal Party had pledged to end cosmetic testing on animals as soon as 2023 and phase out toxicity testing on animals by 2035.

What are the alternatives to animal testing?

There are dozens of non-animal tests that are already available, in use and many more in development.

Including things like computer models, artificial skins, cornea models, in-vitro-assays, and organs-on-chip technology, there are many options to choose from, said Cartwright, of Humane Canada.

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In addition, thousands of ingredients have already been tested on animals, so there is no need to create new chemicals or concoctions and do additional testing, she added.

This planned ban will not impact the cosmetic industry in Canada, Cartwright said.

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In fact, the vast majority of cosmetic companies do not use animal testing on their products because of the alternatives out there, Praznik said.

“Animal testing on cosmetics products has not been used throughout most of the world for a long period of time now,” he said.

The Humane Society of the U.S. says such other options are often “more efficient and cost-effective.”

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“Compared to animal tests, these modern alternatives can more closely mimic how humans respond to cosmetic ingredients and products,” the group says on its website.

The non-animal methods will be up for discussion at the upcoming 2023 World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences being hosted by Canada in Niagara Falls, Ont., in August.

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