No more testing of cosmetics on animals

Recently World Week for Animals in Laboratories was observed by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in the City where the focus was on the inhuman, cruel and painful process animals are put through to give the consumers the best of cosmetics and household products like cleaners and soaps.

The toxicity of the chemicals used in these items is tested by forcefully inserting chemicals inside the mouth of these tiny creatures or by applying the compounds on their shaved skin to check the reaction.

This sounds heinous and downright beastly if you care even a little about animals.

Though testing standards in India do not include animal test there are demands to place a ban on the sale of animal-tested products and its import.

“The testing standards for cosmetics and household products in India no longer include animal tests, so why should animal–tested cosmetics and household products be sold here?” asks Dr Chaitanaya Koduri, Science Policy Adviser, PETA India. 

But, he points out that companies have their own research and development team that do not fall under any regulations.

Therefore, there are no records as to how many animals are sacrificed each year for the experiments. 

“Despite the availability of non-animal tests and ingredients that are known to be safe, many companies still choose to subject animals to painful experiments in which chemicals are dripped in their eyes, smeared on to their skin or chemicals are forced down their throats,” says Dr Chaitanaya, who has been working in cooperation with the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and  the Ministry of Health  and Family Welfare  to bring reforms in Government testing regulations.

“We want the Government to follow the progressive examples of the European Union, which has banned animal tests for cosmetics as well as sales of animal-tested cosmetics. Israel on the other hand has also banned their import,” he says.

Notably, last year in a meeting of the Cosmetics Sectional Committee, (PCD 19), the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) decided to delete the requirement of tests on animals and replace it with suitable non-animal methods.

He emphasised on the need to end animal testing of cosmetics without compromising consumer safety.

The DCGI also said that when it is necessary to evaluate cosmetics products in order to exonerate oral toxicity and/or oral mucosal irritation, manufacturers should submit safety
data, based on non-animal testing methods.

Dr Arun Kumar Panda, Joint Secretary (Regulations), Ministry of Health says, “We are currently working on framing laws for two priority areas. First is the manufacturing of such products which requires animal testing and secondly regulations on their import.
We have already notified a draft on the former and sent it to the law ministry for concurrence. We are still working on framing the guidelines for import regulations.
But the priority is to make changes in Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940.”

Ask him about the regulations on laboratories run by private companies, he says, “ They still need to come under new rules.”

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