Delhi – Today, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India and its global affiliates are launching an online campaign aimed at the Indian Beauty & Hygiene Association (IBHA) and its small group of members – which includes largely foreign brands, such as L'Oréal and Procter & Gamble, as well as Hindustan Unilever– to urge them to support the existing ban on testing cosmetics and their ingredients on animals in India and the proposed ban on the importation of animal-tested cosmetics.
PETA launched the initiative following numerous high-level meetings in which the IBHA and some of its members made it clear that they are in favour of weakening the ban and continuing animal tests and/or are against the proposed ban on the importation of cosmetics whose ingredients or finished products were tested on animals –even though most of the companies speak out against animal testing on their websites, likely because most consumers are against it.
Other IBHA members include Chanel, Oriflame, ELCA Cosmetics (a subsidiary of Estée Lauder), Johnson & Johnson, Nivea (owned by Beiersdorf), PZ Cussons, Pierre Fabre, Amway, Avon, Shiseido, Marico, Reliance, Wyeth, SH Kelkar& Co, VVF Ltd, Dabur, Godrej, Metropol India, Himalaya Drug Company, ITC Ltd, Jocil Ltd, Wipro Ltd, Kaya and Baccarose. In contrast, more than 1,400 companies around the world – including LUSH and The Body Shop as well as the Indian companies Cosmoceuticals,Omved Lifestyle, Shahnaz Husain, Trumount, Future Skin,Vicco and others – refuse to test their products on animals.
IBHA's own member Cholayil has assured PETA India that it does not test on animals.
"Consumers have a choice when they go shopping, and most want to ensure thatthey are purchasing onlybrands that do not support cruelty to animals. Through our online campaign, we'll be getting consumers involved to urge these companies to modernise and to support, not obstruct, efforts to stop animal testing for cosmetics in India", says Poorva Joshipura, PETA India CEO.
During tests for cosmetics, harsh chemicals may be dripped into rabbits' eyes, smeared onto animals' abraded skin or forced down their throats.
Following efforts by PETA, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi and others, animal testing for cosmetics and their ingredients was banned by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, effective 21 May 2014, via a Gazette notification amending the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945. The ministry also published a draft notification for a ban on the importation of cosmetics tested on animals abroad on 5 May 2014.
Such a move would bring India in line with the European Union and Israel, which have already banned the marketing and sale of animal-tested cosmetics. Israel has also banned the marketing and sale of animal-tested household products. Ironically, many IBHA members are European and are not permitted to test cosmetics on animals in their own countries.