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China Almost Ended Post-Market Animal Testing, But Here’s Why It’s Not Over

by Suzana Rose

Oct 8, 2019

China is now one step closer to ending their mandatory animal testing policy for cosmetics. At the beginning of the month, Global Cosmetic News reported that "Cruelty Free International is celebrating an important step towards a global ban for animal testing as China’s Gansu Province National Medical Products Association has announced that post-market testing for finished imported and domestically produced cosmetics in China will not include animal tests."

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This brought hope that it might be the end of animal testing in China, and I've received many questions about this news. Is post-market animal testing now banned in China? Does this mean the end of animal testing for cosmetics?

Unfortunately, although it signifies a big improvement, post-market animal testing is not yet over in China. Based on what was reported by Cruelty Free International, "post-market animal testing is now not normal practice":

“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. At this stage, this does not automatically mean that brands can import to China overnight and be cruelty free, but we are delighted that through co-operation and partnership our aim to end cosmetics animal testing everywhere and forever is coming closer. 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.”

Post-market animal testing is standing in the way for some companies who sell in China to be cruelty-free. Meaning, there are companies who have manoeuvred their way around the pre-market animal testing law, but fail to fall under the "cruelty-free" criteria in our book because they're still subject to post-market animal testing. This means that their products can be pulled off the shelves and tested on animals.

There have been headlines reporting this news as "China ending animal testing requirements on post-market cosmetics", which is misleading.

Humane Society International confirmed on Twitter that it's unfortunately not the end of post-market animal testing in China.

"The headline is misleading, it’s encouraging but not yet a guarantee that no animal testing will ever again happen post-market, and pre-market animal testing for imported cosmetics remains as before. So what’s changed? China recently released for the first time its post-market testing plan, & it reveals that no animal tests are listed for routine post-market surveillance. However, in the case of non-routine tests, eg: a consumer complaint about a product, unless/until authorities accept modern non-animal eye/skin irritation tests, & invest in local infrastructure to use such tests, animal testing could still be the default. Pre-market cosmetic animal testing in China for foreign imports and special-use products, remains unchanged."

Bottom Line

Basically, China has removed animal tests for routine post-market inspection. However, animal tests could still be performed in the case of non-routine post-market inspections, such as for a consumer complaint.

Is this the end of post-market animal testing in China? Unfortunately not. However, this is a giant step in a positive direction. China has been slowly making progress in this department, like they've proven yet again this month, and we can see a bright future ahead.

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+ Show Comments (20) - Hide Comments (20)
  • Karin Brown says:

    so what is pre market testing? is that meaning it can be tested at the import site before it goes to the consumer?

  • Joy says:

    This is good news but unfortunately the beauty products are not so “cruelty free” at least not to the kids that mining for Mica. They use child labor and this makes me so sad.

  • Thanks for the update and the clarification, I am not surprised but hold on to the hope that they will eventually change!

  • Nicole says:

    Always a pleasure hearing from you Suzi, thank you for your continued hard work!

  • Vanessa says:

    Thank you for pushing an email out about this! I was skeptical of the headlines, and appreciate getting a better explanation from a source I trust.

  • B Mccartney says:

    Suzanna please could you help.me with a query ? I have been told that number 7 products by boots are cruelty free as they avoid animal testing in China by not having stores is this true?

  • Isabelle says:

    Thank you so much for this update. I look to you for the most reliable cruelty-free information, and wasn’t going to trust the mainstream media reports on this before seeing what you had to say on the matter.

  • Feeling Hopeful says:

    Thank you for this article.

  • August McNamara says:

    Hey cruelty free kitty! thanks for letting me know i’m appreciative but disappointed that china has not ended there intolerable policies love your stuff! saved me alotta time with my hair care products and such keep doing you!

  • FabulousOlives says:

    Thank you for this update and really useful summary! It makes the situation a lot easier to understand.

  • Turina says:

    Just want to say thank you for being my source of information in this realm. I don’t have the know-how or always the time to stay up on the Developments, so I appreciate your page for educating me!

  • Maureen Sullivan says:

    Very disheartening in this day and age that widespread animal cruelty is so accepted in ANY country. Sadly, they have a terrible history of human cruelty as well so it’ll take hundreds of years for them to wake up about animals. Don’t hold your breath.

    In the meantime, while it’s almost impossible to NOT buy items made in China we can ALL refuse to buy beauty products involving animal testing. Don’t always believe the headlines, no matter how much you want to as this has sadly proven.

    Thanks for the clarification and updates, as always!

    • Melody says:

      This is a somewhat xenophobic comment to make. We’re all here to avoid purchasing brands that are 100% cruelty-free. Let’s not dehumanize entire countries and claim that people would not care; especially since “terrible history of human cruelty” is yet best applied to nations with horrible imperialism and colonization. Let’s refrain from making remarks like that mirror Marsha Blackburn.

  • Elizabeth Mitchell says:

    I just want to say how much I appreciate the update. It can be very difficult and time-consuming to do all the research, and I for one am very thankful to have people like you who do so much for the rest of us:) Thanks!!!

  • FAY THOMAS says:

    I don’t see why with all the products available to us that we need testing . If it has an adverse affect then don’t use it again . Humans should be used as the guinea pigs there happy enough to use the products after all .

    • Peyton says:

      cruelty isn’t applicable to only one species – testing on humans is no better than testing on a puppy, believe it or not, because the people recruited would probably be those of lower social standing. they could be young, or old, or desperate. human testing would merely fuel yet another incredibly inhumane movement.

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