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December 13, 2013

South Korea to Accept Non-Animal Tests for Functional Cosmetics

HSI’s Be Cruelty-Free Korea campaign celebrates milestone in ending cosmetics cruelty

Humane Society International

  • We're fighting to end needless suffering. Alamy

SEOUL—South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety has announced a policy proposal to formally recognise non-animal test results for assuring the safety of sunscreens, anti-wrinkle creams and other “functional” cosmetics. Humane Society International’s Be Cruelty-Free Korea campaign, run in partnership with Korea Animal Rights Advocates, welcomes the news as a significant milestone in its efforts to end all animal testing for cosmetics in South Korea.

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The proposal is open to public comment until 26 Dec. and represents a major shift in South Korean policy concerning functional cosmetics, which require pre-market evaluation by MFDS and testing both medicated and non-medicated ingredients alike. Animal testing for ordinary cosmetics is already non-mandatory.

Troy Seidle, HSI’s director of research and toxicology, said: “This is the second major move towards non-animal testing that Korea has taken in as many months and that pace of change is commendable. The creation of a Korea Centre for Alternatives, announced in October, demonstrated a commitment to cutting-edge science. Allowing cosmetics companies to now take advantage of these new techniques by replacing unreliable animal tests is a welcome development. With similar moves towards alternatives in China, and India responding to our call for a sales ban on animal-tested cosmetics, we are delighted to see Humane Society International’s Be Cruelty-Free campaign across Asia spearheading real change for animals in our on-going efforts to end cosmetics cruelty.”

HSI and KARA will be submitting a formal response to the public consultation to endorse the policy proposal, but also to urge that the policy shift is as far-reaching as possible. Borami Seo from KARA said: “This is a welcome step in the right direction for our Be Cruelty-Free Korea campaign and one that the public will be pleased to see. However, testing cosmetics on live animals must end because it is cruel, not simply if alternative tests are available. Most Korean cosmetics companies already claim not to test on animals, so we will be renewing our call to the MFDS to remain focused on a testing ban, with this policy shift the first important step towards that cruelty-free goal.”

Be Cruelty-Free Korea is part of the largest campaign in the world to end cosmetics animal testing. Globally, the Be Cruelty-Free campaign is working to end cosmetics cruelty in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Russia and the United States.


Media contacts:

KARA (Korea): Borami Seo, +82.10.7666.1405, rami@ekara.org

HSI (UK): Wendy Higgins, +44 (0)7989 972 423, whiggins@hsi.org

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