Things That Matter

Mexico Makes History As First Country In Americas To Ban Animal Testing For Cosmetics

Every year about half a million animals die when they are put through horrible tests and experiments, all in the name of the giant cosmetics industry.

Thankfully, there are several brands that committed to never testing on animals some time ago, and, in fact, consumers have long preferred cruelty-free brands over those that test on animals. A 2019 poll commissioned by Humane Society International and Te Protejo found that 78% of Mexican citizens prefer cruelty-free cosmetics.

That’s why it’s so encouraging to see another country step up and do the right thing.

Mexico bans animal testing for use in cosmetic products.

Earlier this month, the Mexican Senate unanimously passed a federal bill that will ban animal testing for the cosmetics industry – making it the first country in North America and the 41st country globally to do so. But the bill goes one step further: it also prohibits the manufacture, import and marketing of cosmetics tested on animals elsewhere in the world.

Antón Aguilar, Humane Society International Mexico’s (HSI) executive director, released a statement after the bill’s passage, saying “This is a monumental step forward for animals, consumers and science in Mexico, and this ground-breaking legislation leads the way for the Americas to become the next cruelty-free beauty market, and brings us one bunny-leap closer to a global ban.”

It was largely the work of HSI Mexico together with Mexican non-profit Te Protejo that made this major win for animals a possibility. Their #BeCrueltyFree Mexico campaign urged lawmakers to support the bill and it seems to have worked.

The groups said in a joint statement, “We are thrilled to see Mexico become the first country in North America to outlaw cosmetic animal testing, and commend our bill sponsor Senator Ricardo Monreal, and all congressmen and women for voting to end cosmetic animal testing in Mexico.”

Also, perhaps most importantly, the new legislation has the support of several major cosmetics companies – including Lush, Unilever, P&G, L’Oréal, and Avon. Together the groups will work on training measures to support smaller companies and government authorities in transitioning from animal testing to state-of-the-art non-animal methods.

Many credit the law’s passage to an animated video voiced by Rosario Dawson.

A major component of the #BeCrueltyFree Mexico campaign was the stop-motion animated film Save Ralph, which many credit with pushing the bill over the finish line. The film shares the heartbreaking story of a rabbit “tester,” who was brought to life by a star-studded multilingual cast.

Save Ralph quickly went viral worldwide – with more than 150 million views across social media platforms and over 730 million tags on TikTok – which led to more than 1.3 million petition signatures in Mexico, urging politicians to vote yes on the bill.

The Spanish-language version was voiced by actress and advocate Rosario Dawson.

“I was delighted to lend my voice to Humane Society International’s campaign to abolish animal testing for cosmetics, and could not be more proud to see the impact of #SaveRalph in leading Mexico to become the first country in North America to go cosmetics cruelty-free,” Dawson said.

Mexico has long been a leader in animal protection laws – but enforcement is lacking.

Mexico has several laws on the books that are meant to ensure animal welfare. However, Mexico scores poorly when it comes to overall animal welfare in the country. In fact, in 2014, Mexico received a D out of possible grades A,B,C,D,E,F,G on World Animal Protection’s Animal Protection Index. In 2020, Mexico received a C grade.

But the laws are there. Not only has the country had an animal welfare act (for farmed animals since 2007) but it was in 2014 when the Mexican Congress passed legislation banning the use of exotic animals in circuses. Then in 2017, the country passed legislation which makes dogfighting a felony nationwide with criminal penalties.

Now, with the addition of Mexico, animal testing for cosmetics is outlawed in 41 countries – along with 10 states in Brazil and seven in the U.S. Meanwhile, the U.S. house has recently introduced the Humane Cosmetics Act which would ban the practice in the U.S. at the federal level.

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