Slowly but surely, the cruel practice of using animals for cosmetic testing is fading into obscurity. Countries across the globe are stepping up on behalf of the billions of animals suffering in labs for the sake of cosmetic testing by enacting all-out bans on the practice. In recent months, we’ve seen India do away with cosmetic testing on animals and many others introduce legislation that will lead to bans. Now, we have received news that South Korea has launched a bill that will begin their journey to phase out animal testing for cosmetics!

The new bill was introduced by Congresswoman Moon Jeong-Lim and marks the very first milestone in South Korea’s action against animal testing. As one of the world’s largest cosmetic manufacturers, this progress sends an incredibly powerful message about the need to do away with antiquated testing methods.


Humane Society International (HSI), as well as many other animal organizations, have been working with Congresswoman Moon for years to solidify the language and scope of the initial bill. While HSI does concede that there are a number of loopholes in this version of the bill, there is hope that these shortcomings can be amended in the future.

In its current form, the bill requires cosmetic manufacturers to use alternatives to animals for testing where Korean government approved alternates are available. If no alternative is in place for use, they will be allowed to resort to animals. The bill also allows ingredients that have been tested on animals for regulatory purposes to be used in cosmetics, excluding colorants, preservatives and sunscreen chemicals. Additionally, Korea will continue to test on animals if it is required by countries that import their cosmetics.

So, this bill is by no means an all-out ban on cosmetic testing, nor does it promise to phase out these stipulations within any given time frame. However, it still represents the beginning of a much larger journey towards a cruelty-free future.

Of course, we would have loved to see Korea commit to a ban similar to the one enacted in the European Union, Isreal and India (which all prohibit animal testing for cosmetics regardless of the availability of non-animal alternatives), but working to change laws and more importantly minds can be a lengthy process.


We congratulate all the organizations who have worked with the South Korean government to get this bill introduced and look forward to more progress in the future!

Image source: David O/Flickr