New Bill Seeks to End Cosmetics Testing on Animals in Colombia

animal-testing[Image: Courtesy of Animal Defenders International]A new bill to end the use of animals in cosmetics tests was introduced in the Colombian Congress on Wednesday, August 29. Championed by Animal Defenders International (ADI), if passed, it would see Colombia join nearly 40 countries worldwide with such bans in place.

Jan Creamer, President of Animal Defenders International, said, “Colombia is taking its first steps to becoming a leader in Latin America and banning cosmetics testing on animals. With advanced alternatives available and already in use around the world, this historic bill should pass at the earliest opportunity.”

The legislation would prohibit the use of animals in testing cosmetics products and their ingredients, both manufactured in and imported into the country, and would come into force 12 months after being passed.

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Author of the bill (number 120 of 2018), the House Representative Juan Carlos Losada, says: “The main purpose of the bill is to stop animal suffering in the cosmetics industry and enable Colombian companies to enter the European market, a region that has for years rejected such tests.”

Nearly 40 countries have ended the use of animals in cosmetics tests including the UK, the first country to introduce a ban in 1998; as well as India, Israel, New Zealand, and the EU. In the US, The Humane Cosmetics Act seeks to phase out animal testing for cosmetics, and the sale and transport of such products.

In May 2018, Members of the European Parliament overwhelmingly adopted a resolution calling for a worldwide ban by 2023. ADI is urging the Colombian Congress to lead the way in Latin America by becoming the first to adopt a nationwide ban.

Cosmetics tests on animals can include repeat dose toxicity tests to observe chronic, long-term effects on organs. For such tests, animals may be forced to inhale products, have them pumped down their throats, or applied to their skin. For skin sensitization tests, to assess potential allergic reactions to substances, researchers may deliberately cause painful damage to the animals’ skin.

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Investigations undertaken by ADI – which has offices in Bogota, Los Angeles, and London – have exposed the terrible torment endured by animals in cosmetics testing, including racks of rabbits restrained in stocks while products are dripped into their eyes, and guinea pigs suffering raw and inflamed skin lesions.

Such tests cause immense suffering and are unnecessary and unreliable. Advanced non-animal alternatives are available that avoid the fundamental differences between species in their reaction to substances and misleading results from animal models.

The European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods holds a database on Alternative Methods to Animal Experiments, which shows 51 methods relevant to cosmetics and toiletries. These include the replacement of mouse tests for skin irritation, the use of human cells to test eye irritancy, mathematical models for predicting the metabolism and accumulation of chemicals in the human body, and 3 dimensional skin models for chemical absorption testing.

On an international level, regulatory agencies, governments and funding bodies are encouraging a shift away from animal testing, such as timetables and roadmaps to replace animal use in the US, the Netherlands and in Brussels.

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