Great news for animals! South Korea’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs just announced a draft for their plans to ban animal testing for cosmetics. Cruelty Free International has been working tirelessly with the South Korean government for the past two years to come up with a plan to phase out the use of animals in cosmetic testing.

Though not all animal testing will be ended right away, the plan will be to follow the steps the European Union took to phase out this unnecessary torture. The European Union banned the testing of complete cosmetics on animals back in 2004,  following with a ban on the testing of cosmetic ingredients on animals in 2008, and then a complete ban for all animal cosmetic testing in 2013. South Korea’s newly announced draft of a “Five Year Plan for Animal Welfare” is going to follow this same progression, beginning with a ban on testing finished cosmetic products on animals. This is an amazing first step towards phasing out all cruel testing methods in the country. There is still some way to go before securing meaningful change for animals in the labs of South Korea, though.

None of the proposals have yet been agreed upon, states Humane Society International. This plan must next be reviewed by the MFDA, Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning as part of a consultation period before being finalized.

If everything works out, though, South Korea will be joining not only the E.U., but also India, Brazil, and China in their efforts to stop the use of animal testing for beauty products. Nine alternative methods to animal testing have already been validated in Korea and there are two more in the works. When all of the alternatives are complete, the Ministry of Food and Drugs Safety will publish official guidelines for testing cosmetics, animal free.

“We will now be urging implementation as soon as possible so that the full ban can be achieved at the earliest possible date, bringing Korea into line with Europe and India,” said Michelle Thew, Chief Executive of Cruelty Free International. “We hope to see this echoed in 2015 by other Asian countries where we are active. This is a great start to the New Year.”

Claire Mansfield, HSI’s #BeCrueltyFree Campaign Director, warns that we can’t get too excited yet. She says that “MAFRA’s Five Year Plan is certainly progress, and a sign that HSI’s several years of lobbying for increased alternatives funding and replacement of animals in toxicology testing is starting to have a real impact. But it would be premature to claim a victory for animals used to test cosmetics just yet, as no bans have actually been finalized let alone implemented.”

The next goal for South Korea is the implementation of this Five Year Plan and to push for the ban on cosmetic ingredients. When this happens, a real change for animals in this country will begin to take place.

With more individuals and companies supporting the ban on animal testing, we can only hope the U.S. will follow the path that many other countries, including South Korea, have planned and decided to take.

Image source: Jon Rogers/Flickr