Canada moves to (finally) ban animal testing for cosmetics

A Canadian senator has brought together animal welfare groups and the prime minister’s wife to support a new bill that would outlaw animal testing for cosmetics. The bill, part of the #BeCrueltyFree movement, was introduced this week. It would also ban the sale of cosmetics or ingredients that have been “newly” tested on animals around the world.

The Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act was developed with the input from Humane Society International and Animal Alliance of Canada. (Those groups have been lobbying for years for such legislation.) Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s wife, Laureen, who has long supported animal charities and fostered animals at their official residences, is also backing the bill.

“I was very pleased to meet with those involved this morning at 24 Sussex to discuss the importance of this landmark legislation,” Laureen Harper wrote on Facebook.

Animal testing for cosmetics has already been banned across the European Union, India, Israel, New Zealand and Norway. Other countries are also in talks to bring in similar rules. Canada’s Food and Drugs Act requires that all cosmetics sold in Canada are safe for use, but it doesn’t specifically require animal testing to back safety.

Conservative Senator Carolyn Stewart Olsen aims to finally change that.

“This is a great day for Canada and demonstrates our government’s commitment to ethical beauty and improved regulatory alignment in the cosmetics sector globally,” she said in a statement. “This is an important first step.”

HSI Canadian Director Rebecca Aldworth, Laureen Harper and Senator Carolyn Stewart Olsen launch the #BeCrueltyFree bill.

Troy Seidle, director of research and toxicology for Humane Society International, called it “an historic day for animals in Canada.”

Liz White, director of Animal Alliance of Canada, noted that the promises still need to be turned into action for animals.

“But this is certainly very exciting progress,” she added. “We hope to work with Senator Stewart Olsen and industry to make the legislation a reality.”

A poll conducted by The Strategic Counsel for those two groups has found 81 per cent support for a national ban on animal testing for cosmetics.

Photos Michael Bernard/HSI Canada/Facebook

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