Japan’s largest cosmetic company, Shiseido, which is also one of the oldest companies in the world providing women’s beauty products, announced on Friday that it will no longer be selling cosmetics tested on animals.
In the future, Shiseido cosmetics will have their safety proven through other means; such as using data from previous experiments, human volunteers, or other forms of testing, Japan Daily Press reports.
Shiseido stopped animal-testing at its own labs in 2011, but formally took the policy one step further at a board meeting on Thursday in order to assure continued commerce with countries in the European Union, which is a key market for the Japanese firm.
As of March 11, 2013, the EU will ban the import and sale of animal-tested cosmetic products (including ingredients) for all of its member states. From that date forward, anyone manufacturing or selling cosmetic products and ingredients in the European Union will not be allowed to test them on animals anywhere in the world. Not only can they not be tested on animals, but neither can any of a given products' ingredients, according to mnn.com.
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The Tokyo-based Shiseido company says its new policy will go into effect in April and will be applied to all of its cosmetic production sites, including those run by suppliers. (European Union Bans Cosmetic Testing on Animals.)
Shiseido stated that its business partners that supply materials will also not conduct animal testing. However, the company clarifies that there may be exceptions in "rare cases in which the safety of an ingredient has been called into question," or in certain countries that legally require animal testing, according to WWD.
This would apply to cosmetics being exported to China, which has strict policies regarding registration and licensing. In order to comply, the Japanese Shiseido company must continue to perform specific tests on animals. “Basically, any ingredient new to the Chinese market is required to undergo some of these tests,” writes Racked.com. PETA has announced that it is working with scientists in China to implement alternatives to animal-testing.
On January 7, 2013, the Times of India announced that, in a landmark move, India also is planning to impose a blanket ban on testing cosmetics on animals in order to comply with the standards being set by the European Union.
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Animal rights activists around the world have long called for cosmetic companies to find alternatives to painful and unnecessary animal testing. The announcement by Shiseido is a major victory in this effort.