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September 13, 2018

Humane Society International pushes back against Brazilian cosmetic industry effort to overturn state bans on animal testing

“Ugly heart of the beauty industry on full display,” says HSI, which calls on progressive brands to join counter-campaign

Humane Society International

  • Viorel Simaj/istock

BRASILIA—Leading cosmetic brands represented by the Brazilian Association of Personal Hygiene, Perfume and Cosmetics have taken an aggressive stand against cruelty-free beauty in Brazil by filing two constitutional challenges with the federal Supreme Court on August 23, calling for the repeal of state laws in Rio de Janeiro and Amazonas that ban animal testing for cosmetics. At the same time, ABIHPEC continues to obstruct the passage of a similar law at the federal level. Seven Brazilian states have outlawed animal testing for cosmetics, binding more than 70 percent of the national industry to a cruelty-free production model.

Humane Society International Campaign Manager Helder Constantino said: “This two-faced tactic puts the ugly heart of the beauty industry on full display. The brands are claiming not to oppose an end to cosmetic animal testing in Brazil while doing everything possible to block federal progress and tear down bans at state level. HSI invites progressive brands to stand with us in convincing the federal Senate to vote in support of a meaningful, nation-wide ban on cosmetic cruelty, ending this dispute once and for all.”

ABIHPEC is the trade association for major cosmetic companies established or operating in Brazil. In its pleadings to the Supreme Court, the association calls for the immediate suspension of Rio de Janeiro and Amazonas state bans until the Court pronounces its judgement on their merits. If either law is deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, similar measures in São Paulo, Minas Gerais, Pará, Paraná and Mato Grosso do Sul could also suffer the same fate, meaning that the use of animals to tests cosmetics could be reintroduced in these states in the future.

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HSI has offered its support and expertise to the legal teams of the assemblies and governments of Rio de Janeiro and Amazonas to counter these legal challenges. The organization is confident that the industry’s rearguard action will fail in light of the power granted by the Constitution to states to take on additional measures to protect animals, and the fact that ABIHPEC’s case is built on a legal precedent that was recently overruled.

HSI has also written to all companies represented on ABIHPEC’s Council to request confirmation as to whether they provided support and funding for the association’s legal action. Most have either not replied or have declined to clearly distance themselves from the state legal challenges. So far Natura, Baruel and Procter & Gamble are the only brands that have expressly disavowed the ABIHPEC action in writing. HSI applauds these companies for choosing not to support a retrograde action that flies in the face of consumers’ wishes, and the worldwide trend to end these painful and unethical tests.

Globally, cosmetic tests on animals have been banned in 37 countries, including the whole of the European Union, Israel, India, Norway, Switzerland, Taiwan, New Zealand and Guatemala, with similar laws being considered in the United States, Canada, Australia, Chile, South Africa and elsewhere.

ABIHPEC’s Supreme Court challenges (Portuguese):

Media contact: Helder Constantino, (21) 98342 4163, hconstantino@hsi.org

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