Mexico just passed a ban on cosmetic animal testing with unanimous support in the country's Senate, marking the first time a North American government has passed this legislation. Mexico’s ban will make it the 41st country in the world to ban animal testing in the cosmetics industry. The bill will extend to prohibit the import, marketing, and manufacturing of all cosmetics tested on animals. The federal bill is sponsored by Senator Ricardo Monreal and supported by cosmetic giants Unilever, P&G, L’Oreal, Avon, LUSH, and more.

The Mexican government passed the bill following years of campaigns and petitions to abandon cosmetic testing within the industry. The campaigns led by ONG Te Protejo and the Humane Society International lobbied the government to pass the ban and replace animal testing with cruelty-free methods.

“We thank the Mexican government for showing leadership on this important issue, and we will continue to work with them to implement the commitments and enforce a robust ban,” Executive Director of Humane Society International in Mexico Antón Aguilar said. “This is a monumental step forward for animals, consumers, and science in Mexico, and this ground-breaking legislation leads the way for the Americas to become the next cruelty-free beauty market, and brings us one bunny-leap closer to a global ban.”

The ONG Te Protejo launched the #CrueltyFreeMexico campaign to challenge the Mexican government to move against cosmetic animal testing. The organization aimed to draw awareness to the harm and unnecessary involvement of animals within the industry. The ban was celebrated by the organization following years of petitioning highlighting how unnecessary the practices have become.

“For Mexico to become the 41st country to ban animal testing for cosmetics is a great advance for the entire region,” Director of Communications and Corporate Affairs at ONG Te Protejo Nicole Valdebenito said.” Cosmetic consumers are increasingly convinced that their products should not involve animal suffering and brands. They are meeting these requirements by changing their analysis processes to ones that are kind to animals and better for human beings.”

Humane Society International recently produced the short film Save Ralph starring acclaimed New Zealand director Taika Waititi as a rabbit who lost sight and hearing following animal testing. The animated short film is claimed to have heavily influenced the legislative decision, presenting audiences with an insightful and relatable short film criticizing the animal testing practices in the cosmetic industry.

“I was delighted to lend my voice to Humane Society International’s campaign to abolish animal testing for cosmetics, and could not be more proud to see the impact of #SaveRalph in leading Mexico to become the first country in North America to go [cruelty-free with] cosmetics,” Rosario Dawson, who played “Bonnie” for the Spanish language version of the film, said.

The film enlisted an impressive cast of celebrities alongside Dawson including Olivia Munn, Tricia Hefler, Pom Klementieff, Zac Efron, and the narrator Ricky Gervais. The film was written and directed by vegan filmmaker Spencer Susser, animated by Tobia Fouracre, and filmed by acclaimed cinematographer Tristan Oliver.

Following the ban, Mexico joins 40 countries that have enacted similar bans. The country’s ban is expected to put pressure on the neighboring North American governments. Canadian Senator Carolyn Stewart Olsen introduced the Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act in 2015 with the support of the Animal Alliance of Canada and the Humane Society International. The senate passed the bill in June 2018, but the government has yet to sign it into legislation following several delays.

Within the United States, several state governments have enacted cosmetic animal testing bans such as Nevada, Illinois, California, Virginia, Maryland, Hawaii, and Maine since 2018. New Jersey Senator Cory Booker [D-NJ] introduced a federal bill to prohibit animal testing practices in 2019. The Humane Cosmetics Act would ban cosmetic animal testing across the United States and disallow the import of cosmetics tested on animals. The bill is supported by more than 900 companies and several senators. Following Mexico’s quick and unanimous decision, both Canada and the US are expected to take action on the federal level bills.

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