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Colombian Senate Bans Animal Testing for Cosmetics

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The Colombian Senate banned the testing of animals for cosmetics on June 11, 2020. The legislative text will now be reconciled in both Houses in preparation for the president's signature. Bill 120/2018 was championed by Animal Defenders International (ADI).

According to ADI, Congress sessions had been postponed due to COVID-19 but resumed virtually so this bill and other legislation could move forward in discussions. The Senate was nearly unanimous in passing the bill. 

ADI provided research and testimony in support of the bill, which was introduced in 2018. The group also worked with bill author, Congress member Juan Carlos Losada, to advance the legislation. The bill is supported by the Colombian Government, National Association of Businessmen and all 14 political parties.

This legislation is expected to come into force in four years, and it prohibits the use of animals for testing cosmetics products and their ingredients—whether imported or manufactured in Colombia. With many multinational companies based in Colombia to serve the Latin American market, the measure also will impact Pacific Alliance countries Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru.

Incentives and facilities will be generated to strengthen the capacities of national laboratories and research institutions to develop and apply alternative models to avoid the use of animal tests.

According to a report by El Tiempo, Losada noted the bill is not intended to "create restrictions on pharmaceutical researchers. ...The bill only refers to the use of animals in cosmetic tests, grooming products and absorbents," he explained.

Losada also highlighted one of the main achievements sought by the bill is the creation of "alternatives" to cosmetic animal experimentation. Also according to El Tiempo (translated), the third article of the bill states, "incentives and facilities will be generated to strengthen the capacities of national laboratories and research institutions to develop and apply alternative models to avoid the use of animal tests in this industry validated by the international scientific community."

Responding to the ban, Senate co-author Richard Aguilar said, "Today, Colombia becomes a better and more humane society. The prohibition of cosmetics testing on animals will avoid the suffering of thousands of sentient beings and lead to the development of new methods of research;" as reported ADI.

House Representative and author of the bill Juan Carlos Losada: "Supported by the public, we are delighted that this historic and anticipated initiative to protect animals has finally been approved."

ADI notes that nearly 40 countries have ended the use of animals in cosmetics tests, including the UK, which was the first country to introduce a ban in 1998; India; Israel; New Zealand; and the 27 countries of the European Union. In the U.S., as previously reported, The Humane Cosmetics Act is before Congress and seeks to phase out animal testing for cosmetics, as well as the sale of animal-tested products.