Shiseido to abolish animal testing for cosmetics

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Shiseido Co., a worldwide leader and Japan’s largest maker of cosmetics, will abolish animal testing for products to be developed starting April 2013. This will be effective at both domestic and overseas laboratories, as alternative safety methods have been established.

Shiseido said it held five rounds of meetings with academics, animal welfare advocates and other stakeholders between June 2010 and this January to examine the matter in depth.

The Tokyo-based firm confirmed it did stop performing animal testing at its in-house laboratories in March 2011, following a European Union directive on cosmetics banning the practice. But from now on, Shiseido will ensure the safety of its products through the use of databases, in vitro tests and final stage trials on human subjects.

One exception to the ban is if Shiseido has to account for the safety of products already on the market, with animal testing as the only option to prove they do not pose any danger.

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Credit photo: AFP-Jiji


* Up for some thought-sharing on this topic?  

– The European Union first banned animal testing on finished cosmetic products in 2004. A second ban, on animal-tested ingredients this time, went into effect 4 years ago, but the deadline was extended due to heavy lobbying pushback. Major cosmetics manufacturers said some tests for effects like allergies and cancer still had no substitute. That was until March 11, 2013, when the second ban became effective.

– Europe’s idea is to put more pressure on lagging parts of the world to end animal testing. China for example, makes it mandatory for companies to be able to sell cosmetics on the national territory.

– With Japanese cosmetics leader Shiseido following suit on the European ban, it seems though that history goes toward cruelty-free beauty products.

– Yet, following up on scheduled timelines does not mean all test issues have been solved. Like the ones to detect allergies and cancer causing products or ingredients…

. Beyond the beauty (no pun intended) of such bans, what is the reality of testing? Are we buying products simply not tested for certain possible side-effects or serious condition-causing risks?

. Putting aside the open question about such tests and assuming all cosmetics are effectively tested for serious health risks, given the mere existence of  said risks, should we really put these products on our face to begin with?

. Are you selective in your beauty product picks (e.g. organic, cruelty-free, plant based…make your own?) or do you trust big companies and look at claims and benefits more than the ingredients list?

. Would a cruelty-free seal make a difference in your purchases?

Let us know… 


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