The New Zealand government is considering a ban on inhumane animal testing of cosmetic products. The proposed changes to its animal welfare laws will legally require the government to stop animal testing, according to animal charity SAFE.
The animal charity is leading the Be Cruelty-Free NZ campaign, together with the Humane Society International. The proposed revision in New Zealand's animal welfare laws was introduced by Green Party MP Mojo Mathers which would make animal testing of cosmetics like lipstick or shampoo a criminal offence and punishable by law.
New Zealand's Animal Welfare Act 1999 already imposes restrictions on animal testing, but there was no specific detail about cosmetics. Mr Mathers' proposed revision, a Supplementary Order Paper (SOP), will change the Animal Welfare Amendment Bill currently in the consultation process to include the use of animals in experiments related to cosmetic products.
SAFE Campaign Manager Mandy Carter said the government of New Zealand has been aware for some time that the rest of the world is staying away from animal testing of cosmetic products. She said New Zealand has the chance to keep up with other countries.
Ms Carter said New Zealand's reputation in animal testing is under international scrutiny, and failing to impose a ban on "cruel" cosmetics testing will not continue to remain unnoticed. She said an animal testing ban will ensure that animals do not need to suffer "horrific deaths" for the sake of cosmetic products.
Mr Mathers' proposed changes to animal welfare laws are the latest in the increasingly popular trend of supporting cruelty-free products. India, Israel and 28 other member-countries of the European Union, including the city of Sao Paulo in Brazil, have already prohibited the use of animals in testing cosmetics. The legislative process remains in discussion in Australia, South Korea, Brazil and the U.S.
Reports claim that animal testing in New Zealand rarely occurs, but without a ban, nothing will stop it in the future. The proposed amendments to the animal welfare laws have already been under "rigorous scrutiny," and it is up to the government to sign on the dotted line, according to Ms Carter.