In a pathbreaking announcement that signals a certain end to the cruel practice of testing cosmetics on animals, the industry giant Unilever – maker of such popular brands as Dove, Degree and TRESemmé — today announced it will support a global ban on such testing, in collaboration with Humane Society International, the Humane Society of the United States and the Humane Society Legislative Fund.
Unilever is one of the world’s most recognized companies and a global market leader, with more than 400 brands on store shelves in 190 countries and a reach of 2.5 billion customers a day. The company has a stellar record on developing non-animal alternatives to animal testing and has collaborated with more than 50 key partners around the world, including governments, to end cosmetics testing using animals.
“We’re very hopeful that through collaboration – amongst companies, NGOs and governments – it will soon be possible to assess the safety of all cosmetics products without any need for animal testing anywhere in the world,” Unilever’s chief research and development officer David Blanchard said in today’s announcement.
As part of our collaboration, Unilever will support HSI’s #BeCrueltyFree initiative, which leads the global legislative effort to prohibit animal testing for cosmetics as well as the sale of cosmetics that have undergone any form of new animal testing, anywhere in the world, after a ban comes into effect. This approach is consistent with the precedent established in the European Union, where a cosmetics testing ban was imposed in 2013. The HSI-Unilever partnership will also provide much-needed training of government authorities and future scientists in the latest non-animal safety assessment approaches for cosmetics. Our shared goal is to have animal testing bans in place in 50 major beauty markets worldwide by 2023.
Testing cosmetics on animals is not only cruel, but also unnecessary. In traditional tests, rabbits, mice, rats and guinea pigs have substances forced down their throat, dripped into their eyes, or smeared onto their skin, and are left to suffer for days or weeks without pain relief. Fortunately, cosmetic companies can create new and innovative products the cruelty-free way by choosing from thousands of ingredients that have a history of safe use. For new ingredients, animal tests are increasingly being replaced with non-animal methods that are often quicker, cheaper and more reliable as predictors of toxicity in humans.
Across the globe, 37 countries so far have enacted legislation to fully or partially ban animal testing for cosmetics. HSI played a key role in securing enactment of the final phase of the EU ban, and in subsequent victories in India, Taiwan, New Zealand, South Korea, Guatemala and seven states in Brazil. Today HSI and its partners are driving additional efforts in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Mexico, the Philippines, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. Recently, the HSUS, HSLF and others worked to make California the first state in the United States to ban the sale of animal-tested cosmetics.
More and more companies are stepping up in the campaign to end cosmetics testing. In the United States, 250 companies in the cosmetics industry are supporting the Humane Cosmetics Act – bipartisan federal legislation that would end the production and sale of animal-tested cosmetics here. Businesses are eager to make the change because they realize that, increasingly, consumers in the United States and elsewhere are demanding products that are cruelty free. We are proud to work with lawmakers and businesses like Unilever to drive this change toward a world where animals do not have to suffer for cosmetics.