Post-market cosmetic testing in the country will no longer include animal tests, the Chinese government has announced.
China used to be known for the controversial practice of testing international and domestic products on animals after they had come to market.
But the Gansu Province National Medical Products Association says China will end cosmetic animal testing for all finished imported and Chinese-made products.
The announcement comes at a time when international pressure on governments to ban certain forms of animal testing is intensifying.
International animal welfare organisation Cruelty Free International (CFI) applauded China’s move as an “important step” to banning animal testing around the world, especially given the country’s growing power and influence.
“This assurance by the Chinese authorities that post-market animal testing is now not normal practice is an enormous step in the right direction and most welcome,” CFI Chief Executive Michelle Thew said.
Ms Thew acknowledged that this doesn’t mean cosmetic products imported to China can be declared cruelty free overnight. But she did say she was “delighted” at the direction of travel, and hopeful that the step would be enshrined in legislation.
“We hope that this will pave the way to actual legislative change that will benefit cruelty-free companies and the Chinese consumer as well as many thousands of animals,” Ms Thew added.
A cruelty-free world in sight?
This isn’t the first move China has made to phase out cosmetic animal testing. In October last year, according to animal-welfare organisation Live Kindly, the National Institute for Food and Drug Control announced it was looking into “viable alternatives” to cosmetic animal testing. It also claimed that development and research into cruelty-free methods was a top priority.
In Australia earlier this year, a bill was passed that effectively outlaws cosmetic animal testing completely.
According to the new law, the government will no longer deem results from animal tests to be evidence of a product’s safety, meaning all brands in the country will have to show the effectiveness and safety of their products without the use of animals.
Hannah Stuart, a campaigner for animal-welfare group the Humane Society International, praised the move: “This ban reflects both the global trend to end cosmetics cruelty, and the will of the Australian public, which opposes using animals in the development of cosmetics,” she said.