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Pressure mounts on New Zealand to end cosmetics animal testing

By Simon Pitman+

18-Feb-2015

Animal rights groups are turning on the pressure in an effort to persuade authorities in New Zealand that the practice of cosmetics animal testing should be banned.

Although the practice is not thought to be widespread in the country, New Zealand law still allows for the testing of cosmetics on animals, a law that needs to be updated as part of its Animal Welfare Act, the group of four animal rights groups claim.

The pressure is being mounted from a joint campaign by theHumane Society International, World Animal Protection, the International Fund for Animal Welfare and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

New Zealand falling behind

The groups want New Zealand to follow the leads taken by the European Union, Norway, India and Israel by implementing a total ban on the testing of live animals for all aspects of cosmetics development and manufacturing.

It is also not the first time that animal rights groups have attempted to shine the spotlight on the country’s current legislation in this area.

In October last year official figures from New Zealand’s National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee showed that the just over 224,000 animal tests were conducted in the country in 2013 across all areas of research, figures that were said to show a 26% drop in testing during the previous year.

Testing not widespread, but still…

Coinciding with the publication of the figures, the Humane Society underscored the fact that, whereas it is generally perceived that none or very little animal testing of cosmetics takes place in the country, the fact that it is still legal to carry is cause for concern.

The groups want New Zealand to become the first authority in Australasia to implement such a ban, with the intention of setting a good example to other regulatory authorities in the region.

“There is a strong global precedent for prohibiting animal testing for cosmetic purposes,” the groups wrote in a joint letter to New Zealand minister for primary industries, Nathan Guy.

“More than 30 countries around the world have taken principled positions on this issue and banned cosmetics animal testing. Legislation to ban cosmetics animal testing and/or the sale and import of animal-tested cosmetics is pending in the United States, Brazil, Australia, and Taiwan. Similar legislative measures are currently under discussion in Canada, Korea and beyond. All of these nations are recognizing the need for a legislative solution to ending animal testing of cosmetics.”

Support for a ban grows

Political support for a ban on animal testing of cosmetics in New Zealand has growing, with Green MP Mojo Mathers proposing last year introducing a cosmetics animal testing ban as part of amendments to the Animal Welfare Act.

“At the same time as we’re seeing such laudable progress in replacing animal tests with state-of-the-art alternatives, it makes no sense for animal testing for cosmetics to still be legal in our country,” said Stephen Manson, of Be Cruelty Free New Zealand.

“A 17-year low in laboratory animal use demonstrates that New Zealand has the potential to modernise its science base, so it’s crazy that when it comes to banning something as morally indefensible as animal testing for beauty products, New Zealand lags behind many other countries.”

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