Cosmetics Tested on Animals Banned in Three States

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Source: Pegasus Foundation, “Cosmetics Test on Rabbit Animal,”, Oct. 9, 2018

California, Illinois, and Nevada no longer allow the import or sale of cosmetics tested on animals as of the first of the year. In each state, “cosmetics” include not only make up products such as eyeliner or lipstick, but also deodorants and shampoos, among other products.

California’s ban, signed into law by former Governor Jerry Brown in 2018, adds to an existing 2002 law (section 1834.9 of the California Civil Code) that banned animal testing for any product when other scientifically validated methods are available. The new law (1834.9.5) states that no cosmetic product may be imported or sold in the state if animal testing was conducted on the product on or after Jan. 1, 2020.

Governor Steve Sisolak signed Nevada’s ban (Chapter 598 of Nevada Revised Statutes) on June 1, 2019. Illinois became the third state to ban the import and sales of cosmetics tested on animals when Governor JB Pritzker signed the law (410 Illinois Compiled Statutes 620/17.2) in Aug. 2019.

Kitty Block, President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, and Sara Amundson, President of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, stated, “With Humane Society International, we’ve driven this global momentum to end cosmetics testing… Most people do not want their beauty products to come at such great cost to innocent animals, and this has led to more and more consumers scanning labels on products to ensure they are cruelty-free. With thousands of ingredients having a history of safe use and an increasing number of non-animal test methods available to provide data more relevant to humans, often in less time and at a lower cost, companies can still create new and innovative cosmetics without any additional animal testing.”

Some animal activists find fault with the laws because each of the three states still allows exceptions if animal testing is required for foreign markets or to meet federal requirements only if the animal testing was not required to provide proof of safety for sale in the state. China has historically required that cosmetics be tested on animals in order to be sold in the country, a regulation that perpetuates animal testing by companies that want a piece of the nation’s $28 billion beauty industry. Developments in 2019, however, indicated that China may begin allowing non-animal test methods to demonstrate product safety in 2020.

PETA stated about Nevada’s ban, “While the new law is certainly exciting progress, we’re not quite ready to call this one a total victory for animals. Like the California act, it contains exemptions for products tested on animals to meet the regulatory requirements of federal, state, or foreign jurisdictions. In other words, products tested on animals in countries like China are not subject to the ban and can still be sold in Nevada.”

At the federal level in the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is phasing out animal testing, but the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) said last year that animal research is still necessary in many areas. While animal testing is not specifically required for cosmetics, the FDA says it advises manufacturers “to employ whatever testing is appropriate and effective for substantiating the safety of their products.”

In addition to California, New Jersey (2007), New York (2014), and Virginia (2018) also have laws banning the use of animal testing when other appropriate alternative tests are available.

Discussion Questions – Things to Think About
1. Should animals be used for cosmetic testing? Why or why not?

2. Should animals be used for scientific testing for products such as prescription drugs? Why or why not?

3. Does the method of testing impact what products you purchase and use? Why or why not?


Tal Axelrod, “Illinois Bans Animal-Tested Cosmetic Products,”, Jan. 4, 2020

Becky Bargh, “Illinois Becomes Latest State to Ban Animal Testing for Cosmetics,”, Aug. 13, 2019

California Legislative Information, “1834.9,” (accessed Jan. 6, 2020)

California Legislative Information, “1834.9.5,” (accessed Jan. 6, 2020)

FindLaw, “New York Consolidated Laws, Public Health Law – PBH § 505. Animal Irritancy Tests Prohibited,” (accessed Jan. 6, 2020)

Illinois General Assembly, “(410 ILCS 620/17.2) Sec. 17.2. Cosmetic Testing on Animals,” (accessed Jan. 6, 2020)

Justia, “2013 New Jersey Revised Statutes Title 4 – Agriculture and Domestic Animals Section 4:22-59 – Animal Testing Prohibited under Certain Circumstances,” (accessed Jan. 6, 2020)

Cody Miller, “Nevada Passes Bill Banning Cosmetics Tested on Animals, Not ‘Total Victory’ for Activists,”, June 18, 2019

Daniela Morosini, “China Will No Longer Require Animal Testing on Cosmetic Products,”, Apr. 10, 2019

National Anti-Vivisection Society, “State Laws,” (accessed Jan. 6, 2020)

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Nicole Pallotta, “California Bans the Sale of Most Cosmetics Tested on Animals,”, Oct. 15, 2018

Jeena Sharma, “These Three Major States Just Banned Animal Testing in Cosmetics,”, Jan. 3, 2020

Andrew Sheeler, “These New California Laws Will Protect Animals in 2020, and Could Change the Way You Shop,”, Dec. 21, 2019

Katherine Sullivan, “Progress! Nevada Passes Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act–Here’s the Catch,”, June 12, 2019

US Food and Drug Administration, “Animal Testing & Cosmetics,”, Nov. 22, 2017

Virginia Acts of Assembly, “Chapter 672,”, Mar. 30, 2018