Millions of animals are tortured every year in the name of beauty and human health. These dogs, cats, monkeys, rabbits, rats, mice, guinea pigs, birds and other animals are victims of animal testing for the household products, cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries. While many argue that testing on animals is not only cruel, but also yields unreliable data, since animal biochemistry and physiological systems are inherently different from those of humans, it is still a practice that continues in the United States today, despite the fact that several, effective non-animal alternatives exist.

But it’s not like that everywhere.

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It’s quite an eye-opening experience when you take a look at other countries’ stances on animal testing and realize just how far behind the United States is on this issue. All around the world, countries are helping to put an end to animal testing by placing bans and restrictions on the practice within their borders, as well as restrictions on items that are permitted for export and import.

Here’s a snapshot of what other nations around the world are doing about animal testing:

The European Union

The EU has held long-standing opposition to animal testing, with a ban on animal-tested cosmetics first introduced into law in 2004. In 2009, the ban widened to include animal-tested ingredients and in 2013, the EU announced a ban on the import and sale of cosmetics containing ingredients tested on animals.

China

Earlier this year, China declared that animal testing is no longer required by law for cosmetics produced in the country. Although it does not represent a full-out ban on animal testing, it definitely opens up the doors for more cruelty-free options.

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India

In May, India finalized its ban on the use of animal testing in cosmetics. The new law also requires that non-animal alternative testing methods become common practice in the country.

Norway

Although not a member of the European Union, Norway quickly followed suit and announced a ban on cosmetics tested on animals around the same time the final EU ban was set in place in 2013.

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Israel

In early 2013, Israel banned the import, sale and marketing of any cosmetics, toiletries or detergents that employed the use of animal testing at any stage of its manufacturing process.

Brazil

In May, Brazil became the first Latin American nation to place restrictions on cosmetics that have been tested on animals.

Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, South Korea & Taiwan

Although bans do not yet exist in these countries, definitive action to bring about change has begun. With momentum on this issue increasing daily, bans or restrictions in these nations may be a real possibility in the near future.

As of this posting, the United States has not placed restrictions on animal testing, however, legislation to do so has been introduced and many organizations, successful brands and high-profile individuals have committed to taking up the cause to enact change. Given changing international and national attitudes toward the use of animals for cosmetic and pharmaceutical testing, the United States is primed to take action. The U.S. prides itself on the ability to be front runners on freedom and justice…so why not extend the same ideas to animals?

What You Can Do

By supporting companies that do not test on innocent beings, you are telling the world that you do not support the cruel practice of animal testing. After all, in a capitalist society supply and demand rules what is placed in market, so why not drive out products that test on animals?

Make sure your voice is heard!

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To find companies who have taken a stand against animal testing, check out Leaping Bunny’s shopping guide, PETA’s searchable database and be sure to read up on some awesome cruelty-free companies right here on One Green Planet!

Image source: USDA/Wikimedia