Canada’s animal testing ban proposal applauded by humane societies

By Maria Vinca and Hana Mae Nassar

Canada plans to join over 40 other countries in banning cosmetic testing on animals.

The move was outlined in the release of the federal budget as part of changes to the Food and Drugs Act.

It’s a proposal that is being welcomed by many advocates, who say animal testing in the cosmetic industry causes unnecessary suffering and death.

“There’s about 20,000 chemicals out there that are used on a regular basis in cosmetics and they’ve all been tested on animals already, there’s no need to keep doing it. So this will stop that,” explained Barbara Cartwright, the CEO of Humane Canada, which is the country’s federation of SPCAs and humane societies.

“Anything you can think of — the makeups that people might use, shampoos, conditioners, any kind of body glitter or anything you would put on your body in that way would come under this.”

The proposed amendment to the Food and Drugs Act outlined in Budget 2023 would not only ban cosmetic testing on animals in Canada but would also prohibit the sale of any cosmetic products in Canada that rely on such testing data to “establish the product’s safety, with some exceptions.”

‘Cruelty free’

The changes also ban “false or misleading labelling pertaining to the testing of cosmetics on animals,” such as products that say they are “cruelty free” but actually are not.

“We’re feeling so grateful and excited and especially intrigued by it being tabled in the budget bill last week. It is well passed time,” Cartwright told CityNews, adding cosmetic testing is not required in Canada’s Food and Drugs Act.

Cartwright says she’s confident this proposed amendment will pass.

Related article: What really matters in 2023’s federal budget?

She tells CityNews mice, rats, and rabbits are commonly used in cosmetic testing on animals globally. In some cases, she says dogs — more specifically beagles — are also commonly used.

“I think it’s important that as the government moves forward into this really great commitment, whether it’s on cosmetic testing or it’s on banning toxicity testing, there’s also other types of animal testing,” explained Cartwright.

“As we move towards getting rid of all animal testing, the government needs to be supporting and funding non-animal alternatives. We have to have some place to go other than animals, so how can we encourage our government to invest more in non-animal alternative testing and research in order to make sure that we’re helping to contribute to the alternative?”

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