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Should Canada ban animal testing on cosmetics?

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The European Union has banned the import of any animal-tested cosmetics. Photo: Hailey McDonald

The European Union announced a ban on the sale of animal-tested cosmetics last week and many Canadians are calling for their country to follow suit.

Testing cosmetics on animals has been illegal within the EU since 2009. The new law bans the sale of all animal-tested cosmetics, including those imported from other nations.

“Animal welfare was indeed what prompted our work towards this ban 20 years ago,” Tonio Borg, spokesman for the European Commission said in a press release. “The process was long, but it has finally come to fruition.”

Canada lacks the same regulations as Europe

Canada currently has no laws in place regarding animal testing in cosmetics, according to SPCA spokeswoman Amy Morris.

Government-funded organizations are required to abide by certain guidelines laid out by the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC), which state: “Teaching and testing must be done to the well-being and safety of the animals.” However, private companies aren’t lawfully required to adhere to the regulations.

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Many Langara student think testing cosmetics on animals is unethical. Photo: Hailey McDonald

CCAC spokeswoman Dr. Gilly Griffin said that while cosmetics companies aren’t required to affiliate themselves with the organization, they’re encouraged to.

“In general, companies are under public pressure not to test on animals,” said Griffin. “The CCAC Certificate is a tangible way for companies to show that they are implementing CCAC guidelines and policies, including assurance that animals are only used when absolutely necessary.”

“No cosmetics or cosmetic ingredients sold in Canada should be allowed to be tested on animals,” said Morris. “Many companies around the world develop reliable products without using animal testing.”

UBC has animal research facility

UBC has an animal research facility on campus, which public affairs director Lucie McNeill said is different than the facilities used for animal testing.

The department’s website states: “Testing typically involves routine validation of a product after it has gone to market, such as testing of cosmetics and other substances for consumer safety purposes. Such animal testing is not part of UBC’s research program.”

Langara students react to animal testing

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Negeen Shojaei puts on make-up that has not been tested on animals. Photo: Hailey McDonald

Langara nursing student Heather Godfrey thinks cosmetics testing on animals is unethical. “I think there are other ways to make sure makeup is safe,” she said. Godfrey wants cosmetics animal-testing banned in Canada altogether.

Design formation student Emma Leigha Munro said the government should require companies to specifically disclose which ingredients in their products have been tested on animals.

Microbiology student Negeen Shojaei disagrees with all forms of animal testing. “Either way, you’re taking an animal away from its natural habitat and doing procedures on them just for our own human benefit,” she said.

“You’re still testing them,” said  Shojaei, who used to work as a beauty advisor.  “So no matter what, you’re affecting the animal – it’s very selfish of us.”

Reported by Hailey McDonald

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