Continued from part one…
To read part one first, click here.
A wave of support
With Humane Society International (HSI) spearheading the campaign Be Cruelty Free, many groups and individuals joined the effort to ban cosmetics testing on animals, including Maneka Gandhi, Blue Cross of India, the C.P.R. Environmental Education Centre (CPREEC), and a host of others, including celebrities and politicians.
On May 3, 2012, a human-sized mouse, holding a pink heart with the words, “Ban Cosmetic Testing on Animals” met, as part of a delegation of animal protection groups, with Minister Jayanthi Natarajan, Ministry of Environment and Forests, to thank the minister for making India the first country in the world to ban the use of research on live animals in education and to ask her support for the cosmetics testing ban.
Dr. Chinny Krishna, member of the CPCSEA, wrote a letter, on behalf of HSI, CPREEC, and Blue Cross, to three ministries, including the Bureau of Indian Standards, which falls under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, presenting the case against animal cosmetics testing on the grounds that it is both cruel and entirely unnecessary.
Many thousands of people signed petitions and wrote letters to both the Bureau of Indian Standards and to the Drug Controller of India. Ms. Alokparna Sengupta, the HSI Campaign Manager for Be Cruelty Free, also served as a member of the Bureau of Indian Standards.
In November of 2012, HSI, CPREEC, and Blue Cross held a conference in Chennai, where Wayne Pacelle, CEO of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), spoke out passionately against cosmetics testing on animals.
In the early weeks of December, on behalf of HSI, Dr. Chinny Krishna, drafted a suggested amendment to the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, for a meeting that Maneka Gandhi was about to have with the Drug Controller General of India.
During December, the initiative to ban cosmetics testing picked up significant parliamentarian support. Legislators Ms. Debasree Roy, a well-known actress from West Bengal, and Shri Ramalinga Reddy, from Karnataka, wrote letters to the relevant ministries in support of the ban.
In January, a press conference was held in Kolkata, hosted jointly by HSI and the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI). Ms. Debasree Roy, attired as a white rabbit, spoke eloquently on the need to spare animals from any further suffering in cosmetics testing.
In the spring of 2013, at least ten elected representatives took part in HSI’s Be Cruelty Free campaign. MP Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda, from Odisha, called for the end of cosmetics testing on animals as soon as possible, lending his support to the use of alternative testing methods, now readily available, which are both cheap and effective. MP Suresh Kumar Shetkar, from Andhra Pradesh, made a similar appeal for the ending of archaic cosmetics testing on animals.
At the beginning of the year, Israel had banned the import of cosmetics tested on animals, following an earlier ban on conducting such testing within Israel. In March, the EU followed suit with a similar ban, having also earlier banned cosmetics testing on animals within the EU. Throughout 2012, HSI conducted a sustained, dynamic, global campaign with initiatives in the U.S., Brazil, Australia, South Korea, and other countries.
On June 28, 2013, the Bureau of Indian Standards modified the rules of the Drug Control Act, eliminating animal testing for cosmetics and requiring non-animal testing instead. At last, the use of animals in India for cosmetics testing was banned.
The wording of the ban was supported by Dr. Chinny Krishna, member of CPCSEA, Mrs. Norma Alvarez, Chairperson of the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO) and member of CPCSEA, and by leading Indian toxicology scientists and many Indian citizens. In her role as HSI Campaign Manager, Ms. Alokparna Sengupta had provided the driving force behind the successful campaign.
With this major milestone, many thousands of animals have been spared suffering, mostly small animals; rabbits, mice, and guinea pigs. Up until this time, companies had still been conducting testing. In many cases, these were unnecessary, repetitive experiments, re-testing ingredients that had already been tested previously, for the sole purpose of being sure that companies could not be held liable in law suits. Now this kind of testing can no longer be done in India.
It is still possible to buy cosmetic products in India that have been tested on animals in other countries, but this ban is a huge leap forward in the struggle to ban all animal testing in India. Like so many of India’s very enlightened animal laws, this establishes a model for the rest of the world to follow.
Dr. Chinny Krishna said, “With this ban now in effect, people using cosmetics that are made in India can be assured that these products were produced without any cruelty to animals.”
Thanks to all who played a role in this groundbreaking legislation. May the time soon come when no animals anywhere will be used in laboratories.
Author Ravi Varna Studio / Wikimedia Commons / “This work is in the public domain in India because its term of copyright has expired. This file may not be in the public domain outside India. The creator and year of publication are essential information and must be provided.” / “Ganesh sits affectionately with his vahana, Mushika [a mouse] (carved and painted ivory plaque, later 1900′s).”
Attribution: Larry D. Moore / This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. / Wikimedia Commons / A cottontail in the wild in Montana.
Author: Peter Maas / / “This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license.” / Wikimedia Commons / A Syrian hamster filling his cheek pouches with Dandelion leaves.