California Becomes First State to Pass Bill Banning Sale of Products Tested on Animals

On Tuesday, Sept. 4, California passed a bill banning the sale of animal-tested products, becoming the first state in the U.S. to do so. Championed by California Senator Cathleen Galgiani, the bill was first introduced in Feb. 2018 and is waiting to be signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown.

Named the California Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act, the bill will ban the sale of products with any ingredients tested on animals beginning on Jan. 1, 2020. For shoppers looking for ethically-minded companies, the law will make it easier to shop cruelty-free, as there’ll be no need to search for the white bunny logo or find products online. The Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine (a non-profit organization dedicated to advocating for holistic, vegan lifestyles and preventative medicine) and The Social Compassion in Legislation (an advocate for animal welfare) are co-sponsors of the bill. Both organizations seek to create a healthier environment for humans by creating a better world for animals. 


Why do companies still test on animals?

Many cosmetic companies belong to large corporations that seek to extend their reach to new markets. The reason behind continuing to test on animals is primarily financial, as most animal testing occurs in China. The Chinese government requires products to be tested on animals before being sold to consumers, unlike the European Union, which has banned the practice since 2013. This creates a dilemma for companies like NARS Cosmetics, which seeks to sell its products to both European and Chinese customers. Though animal testing rarely occurs in the United States, companies still have to do so in China if they wish to sell to Chinese consumers. 

What are the alternatives?

Recent scientific advances provide hope that there can be a world devoid of animal testing. Scientists have discovered a way to test new products through creating three-dimensional models of human skin, eyes and lungs through isolating human cells. This way, cosmetic product developers can more accurately test how a consumer will respond to a product far more effectively than with animal testing. California’s push for a new law may lead to worldwide developments within the cosmetics industry, should companies chose to forgo animal testing altogether.

Which cosmetics brands are cruelty-free?

Luxury brands like Too Faced, Urban Decay, Smashbox and Aveda do not test on animals. Drugstore finds include NYX, e.l.f., YesTo, Tom’s, Method, and more.

Which cosmetics brands test on animals?

Benefit, Clinique, NARS, Maybelline, Proctor & Gamble, Victoria’s Secret, and Origins, just to name a few.