Sat, Apr 18, 2015 - Page 3 News List

SPCA calls for end to animal testing

TESTING TIMES:The KMT’s Alicia Wang said that although amendments to cosmetic testing laws had been proposed before and failed, there is now stronger public support

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Alicia Wang, right, holds a rabbit at a news conference in Taipei yesterday addressing a proposal to ban testing cosmetics on animals.

Photo: CNA

The Taiwan Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), accompanied by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Alicia Wang (王育敏), yesterday called for an end to cosmetics testing on animals in the nation, with Wang proposing an amendment to the Statute for Control of Cosmetic Hygiene (化妝品衛生管理條例) to officially ban the act.

The group, which last year launched the #BeCrueltyFree Taiwan campaign in conjunction with the Humane Society International to raise awareness of animal testing in the cosmetics industry, said that, as an increasing number of countries have disallowed the use of animals in cosmetics testing — including Israel, India, nations in the EU, and most recently, New Zealand — Taiwan should follow the international trend and be the first nation in East Asia to ban cosmetics cruelty.

The Taiwan SPCA showed “the ugly truth behind cosmetics animal testing” with a video clip at the news conference showing how a chemical substance is applied to a rabbit’s eye to assess potential eye injury hazards.

“The test can cause painful eye swelling or lead to ulcers and blindness, and all such tests are conducted on animals without the use of painkillers,” the group said.

“Close to 70 percent of Taiwanese consumers said they would like to see cosmetics animal testing banned, according to a poll commissioned by the Taiwan SPCA conducted this month,” campaign coordinator Joy Liou (劉子瑜) said, adding that the poll also found that 76.5 percent of respondents believe animals should not suffer in the name of beauty.

While Taiwan does not require cosmetics to be animal-tested, the possibility would remain until an official ban is in place, Liou said.

An announcement made earlier by the Ministry of Health and Welfare said that alternatives to animal testing should be considered as a priority when conducting cosmetics safety tests, but such an announcement has limited restraining power, Liou added.

“With the number of countries that have banned or are in the process of banning animal testing of cosmetics on the rise and the global cosmetics market forecast to reach US$265 billion by 2017, Taiwan’s international competitiveness will increase and its cosmetic products will be better poised to reach the EU and Indian markets once the ban on animal testing is made official,” Liou said.

Wang said the amendments, which she proposed on Thursday, “are to ban animal testing of cosmetics, as well as the sale of cosmetics that have been tested on animals, following a three-year grace period.”

Those who violate the ban could be punished with one year in prison at most and a fine of no more than NT$150,000, she added.

The legislator acknowledged that the amendments had been proposed before and that the ministry’s attitude toward the change was reserved.

“In a public hearing held then, while positive support was in evidence, there were objections to the amendments from some in the industry,” she said.

“However, it was later discovered that the few of those who objected were conducting animal testing,” Wang said. “It is possible that the strong public support we have now can change the health authority’s attitude on the issue.”

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