The new rule, published by the Indian Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, is "148-C. prohibition of testing of cosmetics on animals – No person shall use any animal for testing of cosmetics", added to the existing Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945.
This is particularly significant as it means while standards under the BIS can undergo change, this addition to the law means that any changes made can never include animal tests.
And because the definition of ‘cosmetics’ under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, includes any article intended for use as a component of cosmetic, the ban on animal testing would apply to ingredients, too.
"This landmark law will ensure not only that the lives of countless animals are spared but also that only human-relevant, modern, non-animal testing methods are used to assess the safety of cosmetics products in the country", says PETA UK's Mimi Bekhechi.
"Because animal-tested cosmetics can still be sold in India, however, PETA India and its international affiliates are now urging the government to ban the sale of cosmetics if they or their ingredients have been tested on animals.”
Bekhechi explains that such a move would bring India in line with the European Union and Israel, nations that have already banned the sale of animal-tested cosmetics.
Recently, India's Ministry of Health & Family Welfare published a draft notification to further amend the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945, which if passed would ban the import of cosmetics that have been tested on animals anywhere in the world.
If introduced, the new rule may state, "135-B. Import of cosmetics tested on animals prohibited. – No cosmetic tested on animals shall be imported".
Unilever, who is a prominent player in India, has confirmed its commitment to full compliance; just one of the companies in the region doing so.
“We are at the forefront of research into novel non-animal approaches to replace animal testing for assessing consumer safety. We are fully committed to eliminating the need to do any animal testing, whilst also ensuring that we can continue to innovate and develop new and safe products,” the brand said.