As the second annual Be Cruelty-Free Week launches in 12 countries around the globe, and as The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) celebrates its 60th anniversary, we are eager to see an end to animal testing.

Landmark Federal Bill Introduced

The Humane Cosmetics Act, a landmark bill enhancing worldwide momentum in ensuring animals are not harmed in the process of creating or manufacturing cosmetics, was introduced last week by Rep. Jim Moran. The HSUS and Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF) strongly support this key legislation to end animal testing, which gives U.S. cosmetics companies one year to adopt alternatives to animal tests and foreign companies three years to switch to alternatives to evaluate product safety to sell in the U.S.

Now is your chance to make the United States the next cruelty-free marketplace. Please join forces with The HSUS’ Be Cruelty-Free U.S.A. campaign and contact your representatives today to ask them to co-sponsor the Humane Cosmetics Act.

Animal-Free Testing Alternatives Now Exist

In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t require animal testing, but advises manufacturers on the most effective methods for demonstrating the safety of their products and ingredients before they can be marketed. It’s inconceivable that our trust in product safety has been placed in animal methods that have never been scientifically validated by a regulatory body for the purpose of toxicity testing, human safety prediction, or any other purpose.

For example, the Draize test developed in 1944 relies on dripping ingredients into the eyes or on the skin of a restrained rabbit and subjectively scoring the level of irritation for up to two weeks. These eye and skin irritation tests are not only unreliable, but also extremely painful for the animals.

Today, three-dimensional artificial human skin models allow for scientific, quantitative, and human-relevant data. The future of safety testing relies on these types of advanced technologies that include computational and human cell, or artificial tissue, based models. These methods, based on human biology, are more predictive of human reactions and are faster and cheaper than animal testing methods.

Testing Bans on the Rise Around the World

Countries around the world, including the 28 states of the European Union, Israel, India, and the State of São Paulo, Brazil, have already compelled their domestic cosmetics industries to embrace validated alternatives by implementing a ban on animal testing. The success in those countries was driven in part by the Be Cruelty-Free campaign led by our global arm, Humane Society International. The EU, the largest cosmetics market in the world, and Israel also adopted a ban on the import of animal-tested cosmetics in 2013, and will soon be joined by India.

It’s time to demand the American cosmetics industry fully switch to 21st century science, align ourselves with the global trend away from cosmetics animal tests, and put pressure on those countries reluctant to give up on outdated, inadequate, and inhumane science.

There is an obvious economic advantage for companies to move away from animal testing. Not only are alternatives cheaper, but adopting those methods opens companies up to the world’s largest cosmetics market. In North America, more than 500 cosmetic companies are already manufacturing safe and compassionate cosmetics by choosing from the thousands of ingredients with a history of safe use, or by using advanced scientific alternative test methods.

Americans Want Cosmetics Testing on Animals to End

American voters are behind this bill and want to see an end to animal suffering for cosmetics testing. A poll conducted by Lake Research and commissioned by The HSUS and HSLF found 73 percent of American voters would be in favor of federal legislation that would begin to phase out – and eventually end – animal testing for cosmetics products and ingredients. In fact, a majority of voters (55 percent) said they would favor this legislation strongly. Three in four voters said they would feel safer, or as safe, if non-animal methods were used to test the safety of a cosmetic instead of animal testing. Americans and citizen around the world deserve to have access to safe and humane cosmetics.

To learn more about animal testing for cosmetics and ways to take action worldwide, view our Be Cruelty-Free infographic. For ways to get involved during Be Cruelty-Free Week, click here.

Image source: pdpics / Wikipedia Commons