New Delhi : After receiving recommendations from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, which released its new Cosmetics Rules 2020 – providing a separate and updated regulatory framework for testing, manufacturing, selling, stocking, exhibiting, and importing cosmetics in India – has included provisions in the Rules to ensure that the ban on the import of cosmetics tested on animals is stringently enforced.
Soon after a ban on the import of cosmetics tested on animals was notified by the central government in 2014, PETA India drew the government’s attention to apparent violations of this law. Evidence submitted by PETA India demonstrated that cosmetics marketed by companies in India are also registered under the same name and for sale in China, where cosmetics tests on animals are mandated. Every company that sells in China knows that many imported products will be forced down the throats of rats or applied directly to the shaved skin or eyes of rabbits. PETA India further pointed out that regulators in India were simply relying on the declaration received from the importers, rather than scrutinising the safety data generated to ensure compliance with the import and marketing ban.
To facilitate effective enforcement, the new Rules now mandate that manufacturers and importers must submit safety data using only non-animal assessment methods, with documentation demonstrating the specific methods used and the list of countries where marketing authorisation or import permission has been granted. This will be accompanied by a self-declaration that “[no] cosmetic manufactured by us shall be imported into India which has been tested on animals”.
“We applaud the government for heeding our calls and taking a move to ensure stringent regulatory oversight over the cosmetics import ban,” says PETA India Research Associate Dr Ankita Pandey. “We hope that the new Rules will help uphold the ban in letter and spirit as intended by the legislators.”
India became the first country in South Asia to ban the testing of cosmetics and their ingredients on animals as well as the import of cosmetics that have been tested this way, following talks with PETA India. Significantly, the Rules are based on the fundamental principle that any harm caused to animals can never be outweighed by the potential benefit of new cosmetics.