Hawaii is set to pass the Cruelty Free Cosmetics Act, making it the 5th U.S. state to implement a cosmetic animal testing ban.
The new act passed its final vote at the end of April, and the final step is for Governor David Ige to sign the bill into law. The Cruelty Free Cosmetics Act will restrict the sale of all newly-tested cosmetics in the state, but not existing products.
While Hawaii is the 5th state to implement such a restriction — joining California, Illinois, Nevada, and Virginia — it was one of the first to consider legislation to restrict cosmetic animal testing. New Jersey, Maryland, New York, Rhode Island, and Oregon are also considering restrictions.
Senator Mike Gabbard first introduced the Hawaii Cruelty Free Cosmetics Act back in 2018 and has reintroduced it each year since then. This time House Majority leader, Representative Della Au Belatti’s companion bill in the House joined him.
“People in Hawai’i and across the nation care about animals and are increasingly looking for cosmetic products that are cruelty-free. By moving forward with this legislation, we are doing the right thing without sacrificing the necessary product testing needed to protect human health,” said Gabbard.
Americans oppose cosmetic animal testing
According to animal advocacy and certification nonprofit Cruelty Free International, at least 79 percent of Americans (of diverse ages, beliefs, and political views) support a federal ban on cosmetic animal testing.
Opponents of animal testing frequently cite its relative ineffectiveness when compared to modern, high-tech, and non-animal tests. These tests are typically both more accurate and more cost-effective. But there is also a huge body of ingredients with a long history of safe use already available, negating the need for new products and new tests.
“Non-animal testing methods are more effective, humane, and human-relevant,” said the organization’s Head of Public Affairs in North America, Monica Engebretson. “Hundreds of successful cosmetics companies of all sizes now rely on non-animal testing methods.”
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has already announced that it will phase out animal testing over the next 14 years, with aims to fully replace traditional methods with non-animal testing by 2035.
More than 40 countries have now banned or restricted cosmetic animal testing to some extent, including China, which will no longer require animal testing for imported products — a contentious and long-running issue for cruelty-free certified producers.
“We thank Senator Gabbard and Representative Belatti for their work to make Hawai’i one of the first cruelty free cosmetic zones in the US. Our success in ending animal tests in other countries and states proves that positive change is possible,” said Engebretson.