Virginia is now the fourth US state to ban cosmetic animal testing after Governor Ralph Northam recently signed the Virginia Humane Cosmetics Act [VHCA] into law. The legislation was drafted by state Senator Jennifer Boysko and Delegate Kaye Kory, authoring the policy that aims to ban the testing of new cosmetics and the sale of animal-tested cosmetics by January 1st of next year. Virginia joins California, Nevada, and Illinois in banning animal cruelty in cosmetic production.

“This fantastic news illustrates a growing momentum in efforts to end unnecessary testing on animals in the United States and around the world for products like shampoos, mascara, and lipstick,” president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund Sara Amundson said. “Consumers are scanning labels and demanding products free of animal testing, cosmetics companies are listening to them and changing their practices and lawmakers are solidifying these changes into a permanent policy.”

Four US States Have Signed Bans on Cosmetic Animal Testing

The law prohibits animal-tested products, but many cosmetic companies have already taken measures to minimize and eliminate animal testing practices within their structures. Companies including Estee Lauder, Procter & Gamble, and Unilever have publicly supported animal testing bans. Animal testing has been found to be useless and mostly ineffective as well as extremely cruel, leading many in the cosmetic industry to abandon animal experimentation.

“Today, Virginia became the fourth state in the country to ban the sales of animal-tested cosmetics. The overwhelming consensus from hundreds of cosmetic companies, 40 countries, and a growing list of states is that there is no reason to support the cruel and unnecessary use of animals in cosmetic testing,” Virginia State Director for the Humane Society of the US Molly Armus wrote in a  statement. “We thank the bill patrons Senator Jennifer Boysko and Delegate Kate Kory for their leadership and Governor Northam for the signing of this important legislation.”

California was the first US state to propose and vote into law a statewide ban on cosmetic animal testing, passing the Cruelty-Free Cosmetic Act in 2018 to prohibit the sale of cosmetics that are tested on animals after January 1, 2020. The act holds two exceptions that include if the Food and Drug Administration requires testing due to a health concern or as regulatory compliance from a foreign authority, which is due to expire by January 2023. A year after, Nevada followed Califonia, and soon after Illinois also voted for the ban in August of 2019. The four states may be joined by six others who have proposed similar legislation including New Jersey, Maryland, Rhode Island, Hawaii, New York, and Oregon.

The Humane Cosmetics Act Seeks to Ban Animal Testing Nationwide

The statewide bans are accompanied by a federal movement to ban cosmetic animal testing nationwide. Through a bipartisan effort, politicians including vegan Senator Cory Booker [D-NJ] proposed the Humane Cosmetics Act. The action plans to ban cosmetic animal testing across the US while also prohibiting the import of any cosmetics produced with animal-testing nationwide. The bill is currently supported by more than 900 companies and the HSLF predicts that the bill will be reviewed again in the current congress.

“Cosmetics animal testing is simply not needed to ensure the safety of cosmetics for human use. Each year, thousands of animals endure harsh testing methods, including having chemicals dripped into their eyes or rubbed onto their skin, after which they are killed,” Amundson said. “But there are thousands of ingredients already available for companies to create great products without any new testing, animal or otherwise. In the case of new ingredients, many non-animal test methods have been, and continue to be, developed that are as effective–or even more effective–than animal tests have been.”

Although an increasing number of US states are adopting animal-friendly policies, many other countries have already taken such measures further. Nearly 40 countries worldwide have prohibited or limited the use of animal testing in the cosmetic industry including Australia, Guatemala, and Turkey. With Virginia joining Illinois, California, and Nevada, the likelihood of a nationwide effort to ban cosmetic animal-testing seems all the more possible.

More From The Beet