China government begins consultation process on animal testing

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

China government begins consultation process on animal testing

Related tags Cruelty free international Animal testing L'oréal

The China government has confirmed that it is instigating a consultation process to find alternative to the testing on cosmetics products on animals. amid mounting international pressure, with Cruelty Free International voicing its support.

The current regulations have been in place since 1990 and require that all cosmetics be tested on animals, allowing them to be legally marketed throughout the country.

The government authority says that it has instigated a consultation process that will consider a number of proposals to enable companies to market cosmetics in the country without testing on animals, following pressure from lobby groups, including Cruelty Free International.

Since a ban on the testing of animals on all cosmetics marketed in Europe came into effect in March this year, there has been mounting pressure for other major markets to fall in line with this requirement, enabling multinational players to market products on a global basis.

Pressure mounts as big international players withdraw

Pressure has mounted on the Chinese authorities to update its stand on mandatory animal testing, leading a number of big cosmetic players, including The Body Shop have chosen to withdraw from the market in an effort to maintain their stand against animal testing.

UK-based Cruelty Free International says it has been in negotiations since last year with the Chinese authorities, when it first put forward a proposal citing a number of alternatives to animal testing at a conference in Beijing.

Body representative Nick Palmer held further discussions with the Beijing Institute for Food and Drug Quality Control earlier this year, when he put further pressure on the authorities to move forward with the implementation of alternatives.

Authorities still not ready to make a firm committment

The authorities responded by saying that alternatives could be implemented if sufficient time for training and validation was built in to the process. Building on that, the authorities have invited input from industry to review proposals but have stopped short on making a formal commitment.

Cruelty Free says it is playing a part in this consultation process, alongside Chinese partners specializing in regulatory issues and a group of cosmetics companies committed to seeking progress on the regulations.

This is the first review of Chinese policy in the area for a quarter of a century and we are eager to seize the opportunity,”​ says Cruelty Free International’s chief executive Michelle Thew.

“We are optimistic that this may produce real progress for animals, but it is vital that animal organisations press the case.”

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