27/01/2014 06:33 GMT | Updated 26/03/2014 05:59 GMT

São Paulo, Brazil Introduces Latin America's First Ban on Cosmetics Animal Testing

Exciting news just in from Humane Society International's Be Cruelty-Free campaign team in Brazil, where the State of São Paulo has just introduced Latin America's first ever ban on animal testing for cosmetics.

São Paulo may be just a single state, but this is significant nonetheless. It hosts more than 700 of the 2,300 cosmetics companies in the country, more than any other state in Brazil. And Brazil itself is a major player in the global cosmetics market, the third largest in the world and the biggest cosmetics market in Latin America with a 58 per cent share.

Testing cosmetics such as lip stick and shampoo on living animals has already been banned across the European Union, Israel and India. Across Asia our Be Cruelty-Free campaigning has delivered greater acceptance of modern, non-animal test data and the phase out of certain cosmetic animal test requirements in countries like China and South Korea. However, no such policy shifts have yet been seen in Latin America.

HSI's Be Cruelty-Free Brazil campaign aims to change that and we're hoping that this São Paulo ban marks the beginning of the end of cosmetics cruelty in Brazil. For more than a year we've been leading a high profile nationwide campaign to see Brazil's cosmetics animal testing banned. Be Cruelty-Free Brazil has attracted unprecedented cross-party support from Parliamentarians with more than 150 policy makers signing our Be Cruelty-Free pledge. And Brazilian stars such as super model Fernanda Tavares have added their celebrity sparkle to our call for cosmetics with compassion.

But in São Paulo credit really goes to the local animal protection groups that we support and ordinary citizens, all of whom have witnessed cosmetics animal testing banned elsewhere around the world and want to bring that change to their doorstep. While Brazil's politicians consider HSI's detailed proposals for national legislative reform, São Paulo wasn't prepared to wait and we commend Governor Geraldo Alckmin for signing the bill to prohibit these cruel cosmetics tests in São Paulo's laboratories.

What has happened in São Paulo sends a strong signal to the federal government to waste no more time in banning cosmetics cruelty nationwide. The countless rabbits and other animals who endure untold suffering for Brazil's beauty industry have waited long enough. Brazil's regulations still rely heavily on out-dated and painful skin, eye and oral toxicity tests, including the abhorrent testing of cosmetic chemicals on rabbits' genitalia.

Science and ethics have moved on. Cruelty-free companies around the world avoid animal testing by combining use of the thousands of existing cosmetic ingredients already established as safe, with available state-of-the-art non-animal test methods. It's a cruelty-free blueprint that makes ending cosmetics animal suffering the world over not only possible but preferable. Modern science and ingredients with long histories of use should instil consumers with far greater confidence than force-feeding rodents with mega-doses of chemicals in tests that were first developed in the 1940s.

In the coming months, Brazil's Conselho Nacional de Controle de Experimentação Animal (CONCEA) will decide whether or not to act on HSI's proposal for a nationwide ban on animal testing for cosmetics. If it does, Brazil will join the growing number of countries turning their back on beauty through cruelty, improving consumer safety and animal welfare in one go. As news gets out about São Paulo, the world will be watching what Brazil does next.

Sign the Be Cruelty-Free Brazilpledge for a world without cosmetics cruelty.


Photo by Humane Society International