Following pressure from cruelty-free consumers around the world, animal welfare organizations such as Humane Society International and Cruelty Free International, as well as some of the largest corporations on the planet, China has gradually relaxed their animal testing laws.
Since 2021, the prerequisite for pre-market animal testing has been lifted for most cosmetics being sold in the country. In addition to this, we've confirmed that the practice of post-market testing no longer uses animals to determine safety.
We're happy to announce that starting in 2023, Cruelty-Free Kitty's database will include select brands that are available for sale in China. The select brands added do not engage in any animal testing in mainland China, and their products are not tested on animals at any point during production and beyond.
Considering the size of China's beauty market, this news is tremendously exciting for animal rights activists and cruelty-free consumers alike. With the lifting of animal testing requirements, large beauty brands will no longer have to fund animal cruelty in order to enter the Chinese market. This is a major step towards a more ethical and compassionate beauty industry, and we hope to see more brands follow suit.
These Brands Are Now Cruelty-Free
Here's a full list of brands that were added to our cruelty-free list following this update:
- Herbal Essences
- Wet n Wild
- Physicians Formula
- First Aid Beauty
The Latest on China's Animal Testing Laws
China has been gradually relaxing their animal testing laws in recent years. Starting June 30, 2014, companies were able to enter the Chinese market without testing their products on animals as long as (1) the products were manufactured locally and (2) the products did not consist of special use cosmetics. Special use cosmetics mainly include sunscreen, deodorant, hair dyes, and skin-lightening products. This means that most cosmetics manufactured in China have been exempt from animal testing since 2014.
Since May 1, 2021, China extended the possibility to bypass pre-market animal testing to products that were not domestically-manufactured. This means that it's currently possible for any beauty brand to sell their products in China without having them tested on animals as long as they are not considered to be special use cosmetics (sunscreen, deodorant, hair dyes, and so on).
Post-Market Animal Testing No Longer a Threat
Although the possibility of pre-market animal testing has been "lifted" for over a year, we did not immediately consider all brands sold in China to be cruelty-free due to the possibility of post-market animal testing.
Post-market animal testing consists of testing cosmetics on animals once they've already hit store shelves. Although these cosmetics were tested on animals before being deemed safe to sell, the Chinese government holds the right to remove any product from the shelves in order to have it re-tested. This can happen in case of a safety concern or a customer complaint.
At Cruelty-Free Kitty, we've been monitoring for changes to both pre-market and post-market laws in China for the past decade. In recent years, official documents show that not only were there non-animal testing methods approved for post-market testing, but animals are no longer being used in these tests. As of 2023, we're confident that post-market animal testing is no longer a threat for beauty brands in China.
Moving Toward a Cruelty-Free Beauty Industry
China's animal testing laws are the main obstacle when it comes to eliminating animal testing in the beauty industry today. With the changes to pre-market testing and with post-market animal testing no longer being a threat, companies can now enter the Chinese market without funding animal cruelty.
On behalf of all of us at Cruelty-Free Kitty, I want to sincerely thank you for choosing to shop cruelty-free. Together, we're making a true impact and working towards a kinder vision for the beauty industry. I hope that our updated database will make it easier for you to shop ethically and make informed purchasing decisions. If you ever have any questions about a brand's animal testing policy, please feel free to search our database for more information.
Which Brands Are Cruelty-Free?
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