With the recent exciting news that the Taiwan animal testing laws may be changing, I wanted to work with Humane Society International to dig a little deeper into things. I was having a hard time finding detailed information that was easily available online, so I reached out and was able to set up an exclusive Q&A all about the potential new changes in Taiwan that could ban animal testing.
Claire Mansfield, a Be Cruelty-Free Campaign Director, was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule to answer the questions I had about these changes, and the questions I knew readers of Logical Harmony would have too. In this Q&A I ask about what inspired the change, what is helping it move forward, and how it may impact brands selling in Taiwan and internationally.
Continue reading An Exclusive Q&A with Humane Society International on the Taiwan Animal Testing Laws!
Logical Harmony (LH): The launch of this new bill is very exciting news! Does Taiwan currently have any regulations on animal testing for cosmetics?
Humane Society International (HSI): In Taiwan cosmetics are classified into two categories. General cosmetics do not require pre-market approval and therefore there are no requirements to provide safety data and thus no regulations on testing whatsoever. Medicated cosmetics (a category which includes sunscreens, hair dyes, perms, antiperspirant deodorant, and teeth?whitening products among others) and colour additives do require pre-market approval – which includes providing data from toxicological tests. Recently the TFDA issued an official notification which adjusted the requirements for technical documents necessary for review of new compounds contained in medicated cosmetics and encouraged companies to prioritize the use of non-animal alternatives for safety tests. So, although there is no requirement to use non-animal tests yet we can see positive change in how officials are beginning to think and talk about the issue.How did Legislator Wang and Humane Society International come together to work on the proposed changes to the Taiwan animal testing laws?
Logical Harmony: How did Legislator Wang and Humane Society International come together to work on the proposed changes to the Taiwan animal testing laws?
Humane Society International (HSI): #BeCrueltyFree Taiwan is a partnership between Humane Society International and the Taiwan SPCA. Together we launched the #BeCrueltyFree campaign in Taiwan last year, and have steadily been growing public and political awareness of the issues, as well as our other #BeCrueltyFree successes in other countries, which we find legislators are always pretty attentive to. So with our #BeCrueltyFree legacy behind us, and the fact that the Taiwan SPCA had worked with Legislator Wang before on amending the Taiwan Animal Protection Act and other animal welfare issues in Taiwan, and the fact that legislator Wang is a huge animal lover and animal welfare supporter so based on the existing relationship it made sense for us to work together on the proposed changes.
Logical Harmony: It looks like this bill has a lot of support from Legislators, brands, and the public. Is there a good chance that it will go into effect?
Humane Society International (HSI): We certainly hope so! #BeCrueltyFree Taiwan will be campaigning hard for this bill to be passed by mid-June which is when the lawmakers break for summer vacation. We have the support of 19 other legislators, so we are positively optimistic. But we’re not under any illusions about the work ahead of us, we’ll need to keep the pressure up which is why we have a packed schedule of political and public campaigning initiatives in the coming months.
Logical Harmony: Which brands are currently supporting this change?
Humane Society International (HSI): A variety of brands available in Taiwan support legislation to end cosmetics animal testing including: Lush, Sparitual, Burt’s Bees, South of France, Natures Gate, Antipodes, Amore Pacific, Butyshop, Couleur Caramel, Dr. Bronner’s, Argital, Paula’s Choice, Method.
Logical Harmony: Based on your press release, Legislator Wang is proposing amendments to Taiwan’s Control for Cosmetic Hygiene Act. Is there a reason for proposing changes to a current act instead of starting a new act or bill? What are the advantages of approaching it this way? Does this mean it is more likely to pass, would go into effect quicker, etc?
Humane Society International (HSI): Because Taiwan already has an act dealing with the regulation of cosmetic products it’s a much simpler process to propose or make amendments to the existing regulation dealing with that subject matter. From a legislative perspective this avoids multiple bills dealing with the same issue that might have to both be amended in the future to ensure that the comprehensive law on an issue is in alignment etc. There’s no real procedural advantage in terms of speed or likelihood to pass, just a matter of practicality and cohesiveness of legislation really. If passed, how would this impact cosmetic brands that are currently selling both in Taiwan and internationally?
Logical Harmony: If passed, how would this impact cosmetic brands that are currently selling both in Taiwan and internationally?
Humane Society International (HSI): Simply put, a cosmetic company wouldn’t be able to conduct or commission new animal testing within Taiwan, nor will a cosmetic company be able to sell newly animal tested cosmetics or cosmetics containing newly animal tested ingredients within Taiwan. (If a product had previously been tested on animals or contains an ingredient previously tested on animals that product would still be allowed to be marketed as long as no NEW animal testing occurs. This is the same as the EU ban etc).
All of the above being subject to the relevant enforcement timetable included in the bill, ie:
- 1 year after the passing of the bill finished product testing is banned.2 years after the passing of the bill semi finished product and ingredient testing is banned.
- 2 years after the passing of the bill semi finished product and ingredient testing is banned.
- 3 years after the passing of the bill the sales ban will start.
Logical Harmony: Lets say that a brand is currently testing on animals or using ingredients that are tested on animals. What changes would brands potentially need to make in order to comply with the proposed changes to the Taiwan animal testing laws?
Humane Society International (HSI): A brand would have to stop testing (and commissioning testing) on animals in Taiwan pursuant to the timetable of the various bans on types of testing I’ve referenced above. Existing ingredients (and products) that have been previously tested on animals would still be allowed as long as no NEW animal testing takes place (again, pursuant to the timetable above). So that means developing their future products based on the thousands of existing cosmetic ingredients that are available, for which safety data already exists on record, instead of using new ingredients that require new testing.
Logical Harmony: Would these changes have any impact on brands who take part in required by law animal testing to sell their products in countries like China? For example, how would these changes impact a brand like MAC, L’Oreal, Benefit, or Revlon?
Humane Society International (HSI): Each country can only legislate on what happens within their own borders, so in general these changes would not directly impact brands that sell in China. However, should a brand conduct or commission new animal testing outside of Taiwan in order to meet Chinese regulatory requirements they could not then use that data to assure ingredient or product safety in Taiwan. Of course we would sincerely hope that with every new country that bans animal testing of cosmetics, the case for these animal testing companies to stop testing themselves becomes ever more compelling.
Logical Harmony: What can readers of Logical Harmony do to help? I always encourage them to share the news via social media and to contact their Government representatives to let them know they want changes like this in their country. Are there any bigger steps that they can take?
Humane Society International (HSI): Demonstrating consumer concern about cosmetics cruelty is a really powerful tool for us, so our main action is for people to sign the #BeCrueltyFree pledge at www.hsi.org/becrueltyfree if they have not already done so. If they live in Taiwan they can visit http://www.spca.org.tw/be-cruelty-free-pledge to take the Taiwan pledge. Social media is also incredibly powerful, because by spreading the word about the #BeCrueltyFree campaign and our activities around the world, our collective influence increases and we can be stronger together to push for change. Through liking our End Animal Testing Facebook page they’ll be kept up to date with all the very latest news and actions. And of course they can help support the work we do around the globe by becoming a Lab Animal Defender and donating to fund our efforts.