The Chinese Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) announced changes to its animal testing requirements in cosmetics. Previously, domestically manufactured cosmetic products were required to use animal testing to confirm product safety. However, the CFDA have now taken notice of global trends of cruelty-free cosmetics, leading China to abolishing the mandatory requirement. Domestic companies no longer have to provide the government with product samples for animal testing. These companies are now free to perform their own risk assessments. Unfortunately, this new regulation change is not relevant to imported or special-use cosmetics. These cosmetics are still required to perform animal testing before they are allowed to market in China. This continues the dilemma between company values and entering such a lucrative market. Many western companies have pledged cruelty-free, but by entering the huge Chinese market, they would be going back on their ethical principles.
In the European Union (EU), animal testing was banned in 2013. In 2003, the EU began its ten year conversion period of banning animal testing, and then allowing companies enough time to evaluate the 20,000 ingredients registered in the EU database to use. Finally, this phase in period concluded with a complete ban of animal testing on new cosmetic ingredients. In Canada, animal testing is not needed to validate products, but it is still allowed. The U.S. has recently made waves by beginning its phase in program in 2014 which bans animal testing on products. This will be followed by a three-year phase in period to prohibit any animal tested cosmetic products.