The EU Bans Animal Testing for Cosmetics. Should the US Follow Suit?

Starting next month, people living in the European Union won't have to wonder whether their cosmetics have been tested on animals. The EU has banned the practice in all member countries.

Deciphering whether your favorite body wash, toothpaste, hair dye or lipstick has been tested on animals can be frustratingly difficult—as anyone who’s ever tried can attest. While some brands label their products with a vague ‘cruelty-free’ sticker, most make no reference to the issue at all. It’s usually up to concerned consumers to do their own investigative leg work about the products they use—or simply remain in the dark.

Shoppers in many European counties, however, soon won’t have to guess whether their personal care products were tested on animals. Starting March 11th, the practice will be banned in all in all EU member countries, reports The European Union’s new rules will not mean that testing and regulation of products will end, but that they will be done through alternative methods used by brands like Aveda and the Body Shop.

While many American shoppers assume that animal testing was phased out after all the attention it recieved in the 1990s, the Humane Society of the United States provides a list of some of the procedures still practiced here. Anesthesia-free cosmetics experiments on mice, rats, rabbits guinea pigs and other animals can range from eye- and skin-irritation tests to some arguably pretty gruesome studies that involve force-feeding and lethal-dose tests.

What’s your take on animal testing for cosmetics? Do you think that America should move toward the EU standard of using alternative methods of testing?

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