India is the first country in South Asia to ban the testing of cosmetics and its ingredients on animals.
Alokparna Sengupta, Humane Society International (HSI)/India’s Be Cruelty-Free campaign manager, said: “This is a major victory for countless animals who will no longer be made to suffer, and it is a proud moment for India as it becomes the first country in South Asia to end cosmetics cruelty.”
The decision was taken at a meeting of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) Cosmetics Sectional Committee, chaired by the Drugs Controller General of India and is in line with the European Union's stand.
The decision follows appeals from various quarters, including that from the National Advisory Council Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and campaigner for animal rights Maneka Gandhi, to prevent cruelty to animals.
The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, India, has also been campaigning to end the testing of household products and their ingredients on animals.
Any cosmetic product which carries out animal testing will face action as per provisions of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act and the Animal Cruelty Act. Violation of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act by any person or corporate manager or owner is liable for punishment for a term which may extend from 3-10 years and shall also be liable to fine which could be Rs.500 to Rs.10,000, or with both.
The use of modern non-animal alternative tests also becomes mandatory, replacing invasive tests on animals. This means that any manufacturer interested in testing new cosmetic ingredients or finished products must first seek the approval from India’s regulator Central Drug Standards Control Organisation. A manufacturer will be given approval to test only after complying with the BIS non-animal standards.
More than 1,200 companies around the world have banned all animal tests in favour of effective, modern non-animal tests, but many still choose to subject animals to painful tests.
Member of Parliament Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda said, “This is a great day for India and for the thousands of animals who will no longer suffer, yet more work must be done. Our government must go a step further by banning cosmetics products that are tested on animals abroad and then imported and sold here in India. Only then will India demonstrate its commitment to compassion and modern, non-animal research methods and truly be cruelty free.”
Israel and the 27 countries that make up the European Union have implemented both testing and sales bans to bring an end to cosmetics animal suffering in their respective jurisdictions, and HSI is leading the campaign to persuade India to become the next fully cruelty-free cosmetics zone. A sales ban will prevent companies from outsourcing testing and importing animal-tested beauty products back into India for sale.