Animal testing in cosmetic industry: Is it still being done?

I would like to know your thoughts on animal testing in the cosmetic industry and if it's still being done now? I saw a video on tiktok about animal testing and the companies who tested on animals. All of the companies are pioneers of the beauty industry. New skincare brands just have to follow, they dont have to test the products / raw materials again.

So is animal testing in the cosmetic industry still relevant?
Are there new materials to test?
How about cruelty-free claim? Is it still relevant or just a marketing gimmick played by these newcomers?

Comments

  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    The EU has banned animal testing since 2013. So, cruelty-free claims as applied to the EU are just a marketing gimmick.

    The only companies who would be doing animal testing would be those using new technology or those that also have a pharmaceutical section of their business. For the vast majority of cosmetic companies, animal testing just isn't done. Which is also why cosmetic products haven't really changed significantly in over 30 years.

    But if there is a new material that someone wants to use in a cosmetic product, for some aspects of safety there are not animal testing alternatives. You can see the list of validated animal testing alternatives as accepted by the EU. What this also shows is that for things like Aquatic bioaccumulation, Genotoxicity, Repeated Dose Toxicity, and Toxicokinetics there are no animal free alternatives.

    I would add that cruelty-free does not mean free from cruelty. What it means is that the products weren't directly animal tested. ANY company that uses plant based ingredients has been involved in directly killing animals (mice, rabbits, insects, etc). Numerous animals are killed during plowing, planting and harvesting of plants. They might not view this killing as cruel but I don't see any difference.


  • @Perry, is there any comedogenic scores still done on rabbits?  (Not that I would consider that cruelty.... letting kids drink soda is for more cruel!)

  • "Cruelty-free does not mean free from cruelty." Perry is dead-on with this.
    Literally all the plant-based ingredients would have to be certified organic, but even then there are problems.
    Some farms (even the organic ones) participate in killing feral cats, which many cat-lovers find cruel. The farms that produce cosmetic ingredients would have to be certified/proven to help relocate the feral cats so that they don't get euthanized. Furthermore, these farms would have to prove they're helping native birds. Also, some people consider killing invasive bird species (that destroy the crops) unethical.
    The legal definition of organic varies among countries. Sometimes, forests are cut or burned down to make space for (organic) farms. That should be considered cruel (based on the "cruelty-free" ethical framework, but I haven't seen any major consumer advocacy group bring it up in regards to cosmetics.

    @Graillotion, I'm curious about that, too. Rabbit ear testing produces too many false positives... but I'm wondering if that's still permissible or done under certain circumstances? (Like for putting on instructions: "do not apply to pets?") Agreed that letting kids drink soda and have unhealthy foods in general is way more cruel!
  • PhilGeisPhilGeis Member, Professional formulator
    China had required animal testing for imported products (not for their domestic stuff) established a fairly recent exemption for import of "ordinary  cosmetics".
    https://www.cosmeticsdesign-asia.com/Article/2021/03/08/China-animal-testing-Exemptions-for-testing-on-ordinary-cosmetics-start-in-May-officials
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