India bans animal testing for cosmetics

Humane Society International (HSI) celebrates ban as a “major victory” for its Be Cruelty-Free campaign

India has banned testing on animals for cosmetics, becoming the first country in South Asia to end this practice.

The ban was supported by Indian Members of Parliament and State Assemblies, and backed by the Humane Society International (HSI), which considers the ban a “major victory” following intense campaigning under its Be Cruelty-Free India campaign.

The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) today approved the removal of any mention of animal testing for cosmetics from India’s cosmetics standard. As a result, non-animal alternative tests have now become mandatory and replace invasive tests on animals. All manufacturers that want to test new cosmetic ingredients or end products must now seek approval from India’s Central Drug Standards Control Organisation and be given approval to test, after complying with the BIS non-animal standards.

Indian 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.”

Troy Seidle, HSI’s Director of Research and Toxicology, said: “India’s decision shows the way for all countries that are still undecided about whether to ban cosmetics animal testing. Those countries should take action now, follow India’s lead and end cruelty for beauty.”

India now joins Israel and the 27 EU countries that have implemented a testing ban on animals for cosmetics, although in India it is currently still legal to sell products that have been imported from countries that have been tested on animals.

The EU implemented a full testing and sales ban in March this year, while Israel announced its full cruelty-free ban in January. HSI is focusing on supporting India to achieve a fully cruelty-free status, while it continues to campaign for change in East Asia, Canada, South America, Russia and Oceania.