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China Ends Animal Testing on Some 'Ordinary' Cosmetics

Jul 02, 2014 04:05 PM EDT

Animal right activists everywhere are celebrating after Monday when China removed a controversial animal testing rule for certain types of cosmetics.

According to the China Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the new rule applies to "ordinary cosmetics," such as shampoos, makeup, fragrances, hair, nail and skin care products, but not imported products or special-use products like hairdyes or sunblock.

Even so, the move will save approximately 10,000 animals a year.

"During cosmetics testing, animals can have chemicals dripped in their eyes, spread on their skin or force-fed to them in massive, lethal doses," wrote the Human Society International (HSI) in a press release.

"As well as causing animal suffering, many of these tests are notoriously unreliable in predicting real chemical reactions in people," they added.

According to HSI, which launched Be-Cruelty Free, a global campaign to end animal testing, between 100,000 and 300,000 rabbits, guinea pigs, mice and other animals have so far been used to test cosmetics in China every year.

HSI, along with over 20 other animals rights protection groups, welcomed the ban, and wrote a letter to the China FDA applauding their decision.

"We commend the CFDA for facilitating the first step in what we hope to be a technology transition for China's cosmetics industry. We hope this marks the start of a new era for China whereby companies may develop innovate, safe beauty products without testing on live animals," the letter read.

Animal advocates even celebrated Monday at a rally in Dalian, China, complete with 100 life-size rabbit cut-outs, the animal most used in cosmetic testing.

Cosmetics companies can still use alternative methods of testing that don't involve animals, such as advanced, internationally approved in vitro testing.

Though the regulation is certainly a huge step in the right direction, activists are already thinking into the future. China imported nearly $1.7 billion in cosmetics products last year, and so these groups still aim to see the rule applied to foreign imported products as well.

"We're determined to end all such suffering, and this rule change is a step in the right direction, but we're not there yet," Peter Li, HSI's China policy adviser, said in the release.

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