The proposed legislation would ban new cosmetics testing on animals in the United States
WASHINGTON (September 20, 2023)— Today, a stellar cast assembled on Capitol Hill to support passage of the Humane Cosmetics Act; the Humane Society of the United States, Humane Society Legislative Fund and Humane Society International were joined by celebrity advocates—TV personality and entrepreneur Lala Kent and actress Tricia Helfer—and Lush Cosmetics in urging members of Congress to pass the Humane Cosmetics Act (H.R. 5399), which would end new cosmetics testing on animals in the United States and would prohibit the import and sale of cosmetics in the U.S. that have been newly tested on animals elsewhere in the world.
U.S. Representatives Don Beyer, D-Va., Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., Paul Tonko, D-N.Y., Ken Calvert, R-Calif., and Tony Cárdenas, D-Calif. are sponsoring the legislation. Kent, Helfer and Lush Cosmetics are also speaking at a reception which will include a screening of HSI’s OSCAR®-shortlisted Save Ralph for members of Congress.
"A compassionate, stop-motion-animation puppet named Ralph is doing more to shine a spotlight on the continued use of animals in cosmetics testing than some of us who have lobbied for decades to end it,” said Sara Amundson, president of Humane Society Legislative Fund. “He’s joined by an increasing number of bipartisan members of Congress and two amazing advocates in Lala and Tricia to pass the Humane Cosmetics Act. Right now, there is no second act for animals like Ralph. The U.S. Congress needs to pass the bill and Save Ralph.”
Rabbits, mice, rats and guinea pigs are used in traditional animal testing for cosmetics such as perfume, moisturizer, nail polish, makeup—such as mascara and lipstick—and hair products such as hairspray and conditioner.
"I have been an animal lover all my life, and becoming a mother inspired me to help create a more humane world for my daughter to grow up in. Cosmetics testing on animals is a barbaric practice that has no place in the United States,” said TV personality and entrepreneur Lala Kent. “It is an honor to be given the opportunity to use my voice and advocate for animals today on Capitol Hill. Our nation’s leaders need to join the fight for all animals, especially the ones kept in the shadows."
In typical cosmetics animal tests, rabbits are locked in neck restraints and have chemical substances dripped in their eye or applied on to the shaved skin on their back. Guinea pigs and mice have the chemicals spread on their shaved skin or on their ears. None of these animals are given pain relief, and all of them will be killed at the end.
"Despite having been involved with the beauty industry my entire career through modeling and acting, I was woefully unaware of the ongoing cruel testing on animals for beauty products until I started working with Humane Society International. I was astonished while advocating for HSI's cruelty-free campaign by how many Americans told me the same thing,” said actress Tricia Helfer, voice of “Cottonballs” in the English-language version of Save Ralph. “With modern testing methods, there is absolutely no need for animals to suffer in the name of beauty. Save Ralph has done a remarkable job bringing that awareness to the public, and I am honored to be here on Capitol Hill today to help push the Humane Cosmetics Act to become a reality."
“The U.S. is woefully behind other countries in ending the use of animals in cosmetics testing and is the only North American country that still allows this cruel and wasteful practice. The Humane Cosmetics Act would finally end cosmetics animal testing in one of the world’s largest cosmetics markets, helping to create a more humane world for animals and we are in full support of it,” said Kitty Block, president and CEO of Humane Society of the United States. “Already 11 states have passed bans on cosmetics animal testing, and we are proud to have led these campaigns. The federal government should reflect the values of an increasingly humane-minded public by implementing a national ban.”
California, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Virginia have already passed laws to ban the sale of cosmetics that have been newly tested on animals. Ending cosmetic testing on animals is a top priority for the HSUS, HSLF and HSI, and the organizations have been key players in these successful efforts.
“Thanks to the passion and determination of animal loving consumers and politicians across the globe who share our desire for a cruelty-free world, animal testing for cosmetics is already banned in 44 countries. HSI and our partners have been instrumental in securing bans in Canada, Mexico, India, South Korea, Brazil, Australia and beyond,” said Jeffrey Flocken, president of Humane Society International. “We’re now urging policy makers in the United States to join this list of nations banning animal testing for cosmetics.”
In 2021, HSI released Save Ralph, a short film and global viral sensation which follows a rabbit’s daily routine as a “tester” in a lab, illustrating the cruelty of animal testing. In addition to Helfer, the award-winning English-language version features the voices of Taika Waititi, Ricky Gervais, Olivia Munn, Pom Klementieff and Zac Efron and has amassed over 150 million online views and 900 million+ #saveralph views on TikTok. The film is also available in Spanish, Portuguese, French and Vietnamese, that include the voices of actors George Lopez, Rosario Dawson, Wilmer Valderrama, Rodrigo Santoro, Pom Klementieff, Denis Villeneuve, H’Hen Nie and Diem My Vu. Save Ralph was instrumental in propelling Mexico, Brazil and Canada to ban cosmetic animal testing and is helping advance other legislation in several other countries that make up the world’s most influential beauty markets. Today, the film will be screened for members of Congress at a reception headlined by Helfer, Kent and Lush Cosmetics.
World-renowned cosmetics company Lush continues to lead the way in fighting against new animal testing for cosmetics and strongly supports the Humane Cosmetics Act.
“As a company committed to ending animal testing since inception, manufacturing and selling cruelty-free cosmetics and transparency into our non-animal tested supply chain has not limited our ability to invent and grow," said Carleen Pickard, Advocacy & Activism Manager of Lush Cosmetics. "We continue to campaign globally and welcome the reintroduction of the Humane Cosmetics Act to this Congress so that the United States can support consistent cruelty-free regulation and meet the public’s desire for cruelty-free products and future environmental needs of our planet."
The cosmetics industry itself largely supports an end to animal testing for its products, and the HSUS and HSLF have worked closely with the Personal Care Products Council, the trade organization representing 90% of the U.S. cosmetics industry, on the Humane Cosmetics Act. The legislation also has the endorsement of more than 390 individual companies including global beauty giants Unilever and Procter & Gamble, official supporters in the #BeCrueltyFree campaign to ban animal testing for cosmetics in all major global beauty markets.
More than 1,500 cruelty-free beauty brands are available in North America. Cosmetics companies are able to create new and innovative products using thousands of ingredients that have a history of safe use and do not require additional testing. For new ingredients, modern testing methods—such as human cell-based tests and sophisticated computer models—provide a more human-relevant and efficient replacement for decades-old animal tests.
Watch Save Ralph in English here.
Stills from Save Ralph and photos of animals used for cosmetics testing are available here.
Photos and video from the Hill meetings and reception will be available here after 9 PM EST on Wednesday.
Kate Sarna: 202-836-1265; firstname.lastname@example.org
The Humane Society Legislative Fund is a social welfare organization incorporated under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code and formed in 2004 as a separate lobbying affiliate of The Humane Society of the United States. The HSLF works to pass animal protection laws at the state and federal level, to educate the public about animal protection issues, and to support humane candidates for office. Visit us on all our channels: on the web at hslf.org, on our blog at hslf.org/blog, on Facebook at facebook.com/humanelegislation and on X, formerly known as Twitter at @HSLegFund.
Founded in 1954, the Humane Society of the United States and its affiliates around the globe fight the big fights to end suffering for all animals. Together with millions of supporters, the HSUS takes on puppy mills, factory farms, trophy hunts, animal testing and other cruel industries, and together with its affiliates, rescues and provides direct care for over 100,000 animals every year. The HSUS works on reforming corporate policy, improving and enforcing laws and elevating public awareness on animal issues. More at humanesociety.org.
Subscribe to Kitty Block’s blog, A Humane World. Follow the HSUS Media Relations department on X, formerly known as Twitter. Read the award-winning All Animals magazine. Listen to the Humane Voices Podcast.
Advancing the welfare of animals in more than 50 countries. Humane Society International works around the globe to promote the human-animal bond, rescue and protect dogs and cats, improve farm animal welfare, protect wildlife, promote animal-free testing and research, respond to natural disasters and confront cruelty to animals in all its forms. Learn more about our work at hsi.org. Follow HSI on X, formerly known as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.