On January 7, 2013, the Times of India announced that, in a landmark move, India is planning to impose a blanket ban on testing cosmetics on animals.
Drug Controller General of India, Dr G. N. Singh told the Times of India that the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization is examining the feasibility of such a ban, and the Bureau of Indian Standards is revising the method of safety testing for cosmetics in the country. (Standard IS 4011 â€”).
Maneka Gandhi, animal activist, met with Dr Singh last week to discuss the legislation. Dr. Singh responded, "Several developed countries have put in rules that ban testing cosmetics on animals. We are thoroughly examining them. We don't want to be cruel to animals. If other countries don't allow it, we will also ban animal testing of cosmetics. The decision will follow a thorough examination and a strong scientific examination."
Gandhi sent a letter to the Drug Control General, giving plenty of scientific evidence supporting a total ban and concluding. "As a priority, we as a nation need to go cruelty free as far as testing cosmetics are concerned."
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Gandhi cited that the European Union (EU) has prohibited testing of finished cosmetic products since September 2004 and the U.S. Federal Drug Administration (FDA) does not require it. In spite of this, the Indian BIS standards' draft being proposed still includes two painful tests on animals.
Ms. Gandhi explains that India would lose a tremendous revenue if the European countries are unable to purchase cosmetics from India because of its failure to comply with the EU anti-cruelty laws, which prohibit subjecting innocent animals to unnecessary pain and suffering to test products.
However, because of the EU prohibition, adopting this law in India would undoubtedly open a larger export market of Indian herbal cosmetics to the EU.
Ms. Gandhi’s letter added, "It is important that India acts. Harmonization of India's regulation with that of Europe's cosmetics regulation will ensure an immediate upgrade of India's safety standards in cosmetics testing using non-animal methods."
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Gandhi advised that the easiest way to accomplish this would be to amend Drug and Cosmetic Rule 1945, to bring it in harmony with the EU cosmetics legislation of November 30, 2009.
The Healthy Ministry of the European Union has also made it mandatory that all cosmetics, including skin care and hair care products that are imported after April 1, 2013, are registered. This requirement was originally scheduled to go into effect on October 1, 2012, but was delayed.
In India’s new standard’s draft, the DCGI is following the EU guidelines in developing a $250 registration fee per cosmetic category; such as, lipstick, mascara, tooth paste, soap, etc. for manufacturers of cosmetics, as included in the EU law. Violators of the new rules will result in both a fine and jail term, according to Times of India.
In regard to the ban on animal-tests, Dr Singh said, "If animal testing of cosmetics isn't mandatory by either the US FDA or the EU, it seems unnecessary for India to have them at all."