Zhang Lei

China Daily (Canada) - - WORLD -

China is con­sid­er­ing ways to re­duce an­i­mal test­ing of cos­met­ics. The China Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion is­sued a draft last month re­lated to changes in the reg­is­tra­tion and li­cens­ing of cos­met­ics, fol­low­ing a ban on the sale of cos­met­ics de­vel­oped through an­i­mal test­ing from the Euro­pean Union in March.

The draft stated that cos­met­ics made from in­gre­di­ents that have al­ready been tested and clas­si­fied as safe will be ex­empt from an­i­mal test­ing.

Even though the draft reg­u­la­tion, set to come into force in June, does not ap­ply to cos­met­ics man­u­fac­tured out­side the Chi­nese main­land, or to “spe­cial- use” prod­ucts such as hair dyes, sun­screens or skin-whiten­ing prod­ucts, it’s been hailed as a break­through by an­i­mal rights groups.

“The news from China marks a ma­jor mile­stone in our cam­paign and could con­sti­tute a sig­nif­i­cant wa­ter­shed in our global ef­forts to end cos­met­ics an­i­mal test­ing world­wide,” said Troy Sei­dle, the Hu­mane So­ci­ety In­ter­na­tional’s Be Cru­elty-Free di­rec­tor, in an online news state­ment.

The Body Shop, Lush, MooGoo and other com­pa­nies, plus the United States- based non- profit or­ga­ni­za­tion Hu­mane So­ci­ety In­ter­na­tional, have cam­paigned for decades for the manda­tory test­ing of cos­met­ics on an­i­mals to be phased out world­wide. Many cos­metic com­pa­nies, such as The Body Shop and Lush, have turned down lu­cra­tive op­por­tu­ni­ties in the Chi­nese main­land on eth­i­cal grounds be­cause in China all im­ported cos­met­ics prod­ucts are sub­ject to manda­tory tests that use an­i­mals as the sub­jects.

Wang Yi­wen, a fi­nan­cial con­sul­tant at Deutsche Bank in Bei­jing, is a loyal cus­tomer of The Body Shop, but like all the brand’s fans in China, she ei­ther has to rely on friends trav­el­ing over­seas or on agents at online mar­ket­places to make her pur­chases.

“It’s a pity they haven’t of­fi­cially en­tered the Chi­nese main­land mar­ket yet. Most peo­ple I know have to buy their prod­ucts through online agents,” said Wang.

“We are de­lighted to hear that the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment is look­ing at its poli­cies re­gard­ing an­i­mal test­ing. Many an­i­mals could be saved from pain and death by th­ese changes. For Lush, it brings the day nearer when we can, per­haps, trade in China,” wrote Hi­lary Jones, global eth­i­cal di­rec­tor for the UK cos­met­ics pro­ducer Lush Re­tail, in an e-mailed com­ment.

The Hu­mane So­ci­ety In­ter­na­tional es­ti­mates that around 300,000 an­i­mals are used ev­ery year in cos­met­ics test­ing in China. The coun­try’s stance on an­i­mal test­ing re­mains the big­gest hur­dle to the pro­mo­tion of al­ter­na­tive meth­ods,

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