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May 28, 2014

Taiwan Urged to Join Asia’s Trend Toward Banning Cosmetics Animal Testing, as Vietnam and China make Inroads in the Cruelty-Free Movement

Humane Society International; Taiwan Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

  • Taiwan SPCA

Be Cruelty-Free campaigners from the Taiwan Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Humane Society International are urging Taiwan legislators to take decisive action to join Asia’s growing trend towards banning cruel animal testing for cosmetic products and ingredients. Such testing is already banned throughout the European Union, Norway, Israel and India, but now countries across Asia are moving towards cruelty-free cosmetics, too.

India banned cosmetics animal testing in June 2013, and this month proposed to ban the sale of animal-tested cosmetics. Last week the Vietnam government announced a ban on the cruel Draize rabbit eye test for cosmetics and next month China is set to remove mandatory animal testing for domestically-produced cosmetics.

Beki Hunt from TSPCA said: “Here in Taiwan it is still permitted for animals to suffer in cruel and scientifically discredited eye, skin and oral toxicity tests for cosmetics. This is completely out of step with the growing global trend towards ending such testing. Across Asia, countries are taking action, and we don’t want Taiwan to be left behind. But it’s important that policy makers support robust legislation, as a ban with loopholes won’t help animals at all. Be Cruelty-Free Taiwan is part of the largest campaign in the world to end cosmetics animal testing, with experts who were instrumental in achieving the EU and India bans, so we are best placed to advise on a Bill that Taiwan can be proud of on the world stage.”

Cosmetics regulation in Taiwan does not require animal testing for non-medicated beauty products. However, some companies may continue to conduct a range of animal tests for new chemical ingredients in cosmetics. Rabbits and other animals have chemicals rubbed onto their shaved skin or dripped into their eyes, even force fed to them in massive lethal does. But in recent years scientists have increasingly recognised the scientific disadvantages of these outdated tests.

Troy Seidle, HSI’s director of research & toxicology, and a globally recognized expert in non-animal testing, said: “Some of these animal tests were first developed in the 1940s, making them extremely outdated and unfit to offer reliable levels of consumer safety. One key problem with animal tests is that rabbits and mice have important physiological and biochemical differences to people, such that they simply don’t react to chemicals in the same ways that we do. Using them to assess whether a cosmetic might be safe for humans is like playing Russian Roulette with consumer health and so governments around the world are advised to move quickly to remove them from cosmetics regulation. By contrast, modern non-animal test methods have been scientifically validated to the highest international standards, and when used in combination with the thousands of existing ingredients already established as safe, they provide a way to assess cosmetics safety that is faster, cheaper, more reliable and more ethical than animal testing.”

The Be Cruelty-Free campaign is driving forward change across the world, working at the highest levels with governments, regulators and legislators, as well as funding hands-on training for scientists in non-animal test methods. Thanks largely to Be Cruelty-Free, Bills or legislative amendments to ban cosmetics animal testing have been introduced in Australia, Brazil, New Zealand and the United States.

Emily McIvor, HSI policy director to the Be Cruelty-Free campaign, says Taiwan legislators must choose wisely when crafting a Bill to ensure an effective ban. McIvor was instrumental in helping to achieve the EU ban on animal-tested cosmetics, and was awarded the prestigious Henry Spira Award in recognition of her outstanding contribution to animal welfare, as well as the LUSH ‘Special’ Prize.

McIvor said: “Taiwan has an opportunity here to very swiftly and easily ban animal testing for regular cosmetics and I think it would be well advised to do so for the benefit of consumer and animal welfare. This would very sensibly follow the precedent that we have established in the EU, Israel and India, and that is also under development elsewhere. Not only would Taiwan be embracing the Asian trend towards cruelty-free, but globally it would position itself to benefit from undisrupted trade and ensure that Taiwan’s cosmetics companies can sell in the EU market.”

Taiwan’s consumers can show their support for an end to cosmetics animal testing in Taiwan and globally by going online and signing a Be Cruelty-Free pledge. Be Cruelty-Free Taiwan recently held a star-studded cruelty-free pamper party in Taipei at which legislators, celebrities, beauty writers and cosmetics companies gathered to learn more about the global campaign.

Media contacts:

Connie Chiang  +886(2)-2367-0317 connie.chiang@spca.org.tw

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