The Indian government announced on Monday that as of next month it will no longer permit the importation of cosmetics that have been tested on animals. The embargo comes less than five months after a country-wide ban on animal testing for the cosmetics industry. India now joins the European Union and Israel in banning both animal testing of cosmetics and the importation of animal-tested products. The new ruling from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare goes into effect on November 13, 2014.
The dual decisions have come after sustained campaigns by animal rights groups, including PETA and the Humane Society International India. HSI India told the Times of India, “Coming just few months after implementation of a ban on cruel cosmetics testing in India’s labs, the import ban now makes India the first cruelty-free cosmetics zone in South Asia and an example for other nations to follow.”
PETA Science Policy Adviser Dr Chaitanya Koduri also welcomed the news, stating, “This is a message to the whole world that India will not tolerate blinding bunnies for shampoo, mascara and other ‘beauty’ products – and this ruling now gives an upper hand to businesses that use superior, human-relevant, non-animal testing methods. We applaud the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for looking out for animals’ interests and for championing modern science.”
The new rule states, “135-B. Import of cosmetics tested on animals prohibited.—No cosmetic that has been tested on animals after the commencement of the Drugs and Cosmetics (Fifth Amendment) Rules, 2014 shall be imported into the country.” Union minister Maneka Sanjay Gandhi and senior BJP leaders LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi were apparently instrumental in getting the dual test and import bans passed. HSI India had also presented a petition of more than 70,000 signatures to the then new Union health minister Harsh Vardhan in June, to draw his attention to the issue. Keep campaigning folks, and hopefully we can get similar decisions enforced elsewhere: Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, Taiwan and the United States have all introduced bills proposing national national bans on cosmetic animal testing.
Via PETA India and The Times of India