why the new law banning cruel cosmetics is the best news ever

As we wait a couple more weeks for an industry-wide ban of cosmetic products tested on animals in Australia, we examine the implications for consumers and brands.

by Briony Wright
31 May 2017, 12:40am

still from watership down

On July 1st this year, a new Australian law will come into effect, banning the sale of cosmetics tested on animals. More specifically it will ban the sale of any cosmetic product containing any ingredients that were tested on animals. While arguably more progressive nations like New Zealand and the European Union figured out some time ago that this was the right thing to do, in Australia, it's better late than never. Passed during the 2016 election, the introduction of the new law was delayed by a year to allow the industry time to transition. And right now it is almost business time, not only great news for the adorable, innocent creatures who will be spared the pain and suffering of unnecessary experimentation, but also for companies and consumers who've been behaving ethically despite the prior lack of regulation.

For a number of significant reasons, the new law is likely to benefit and reward Australian-made products already engaging in cruelty-free practices, which is great news. For one they'll be at an instant advantage in terms of sales and marketing as they won't have to make any changes that would cause disruption to their production and distribution. They can continue to operate freely amongst the brands that are going to have to pull any remaining offending product from shelves and change their ingredients if they choose to continue selling in Australia. And, if companies intent on animal testing are forced out of the market, that's even better news for their more principled competitors. It's an industry shake up that promises to separate the good from the bad, making the industry more honest in the process.

In a universe filled with giddying options when it comes to beauty and skincare, it's actually entirely necessary for anyone who puts anything on their skin to first narrow down their options and determine their priorities. Selecting a brand, let alone a product, would be virtually impossible otherwise. And thankfully, according to recent studies, products that don't test their potions on animals are not only rated highly amongst the legends in government who fought to pass this law, but by Australian women generally. According to a recent Roy Morgan study, 46 percent prefer their cosmetics not to be tested on animals. And while this doesn't bode well for the remaining 54 percent of the population, this number is still up from 41 percent of Australian women who thought the same way in a poll taken just five years ago.

Possibly unsurprisingly however, an animal-cruelty-free sticker on their product doesn't currently top the list of what women rate most highly. For most women the moisturizing benefits trump anything else, followed by value for money and the promise of a natural look. Products not tested on animals come in closely behind these appeals but the best part about the new ban is that once this law is passed, we can take that concern off the list and get back to worrying about how deeply our serum penetrates our dermal layers or whether the hyaluronic acid to peptides ratio will guarantee optimal results.

Complicating the issue for years however has been China's requirement that all cosmetics sold there be tested on animals for toxicity prior to being sold to people. This means that any Australian brand keen to tap into China's huge consumer base had no option other than to take their products into the animal-testing lab. It's estimated that of the 500,000 animals being tested on each year in the world, almost 400,000 of them are in China. And while organisations like the Humane Society International are working hard to change cultural attitudes and legalities in regards to cruelty in such countries, there are also great strides being made in cosmetic technologies that will help ultimately help render cruelty obsolete. With so many new, approved ingredient alternatives, there will ultimately be no need for external testing.

In Australia there is an ever-increasing shift in preference for cosmetics made locally and this is great news for so many local, natural skincare and make-up brands. And thankfully, it's not at all confusing - it's actually relatively easy to find which companies are made locally and have ethical practices. Guaranteeing market transparency are independent, non-profit organisations like RSPCA and Choose Cruelty Free (CFF), who maintain an updated list of accredited cruelty-free products amongst other ethically worrying practices. So get ready to embrace more natural skincare that comes free of trauma and harmful chemicals as we guarantee in that knowledge you'll definitely achieve that aspirational healthy glow you've been searching for. 


Text Briony Wright

animal testing