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Mexico moves toward banning animal testing after unanimous Senate vote

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Mexico may become the next country to ban animal testing for cosmetics.   

Mexico's Senate (and the Senate Health Committee) just unanimously endorsed a bill that would outlaw animal testing across Mexico.

As Humane Society International (HSI) explained in a press release, the bill would make it illegal to conduct any animal testing for cosmetics in Mexico. It would also outlaw the manufacture, import, and marketing of cosmetics tested on animals. If this bill has similar exceptions to the California Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act, there will probably be an exception for cosmetics sold where animal testing is required. China is the only country where animal testing is compulsory on all imported non-special use cosmetics, and, generally, any brand that wants to sell in China cannot be certified cruelty-free.

Next, the bill will move forward to the Chamber of Deputies (the lower house of Mexico's Congress of the Union). Should the bill become law, Mexico will be the first North American country and the 40th country on the planet to ban animal testing.

“We commend Senators Ricardo Monreal, Jesusa Rodríguez and Verónica Delgadillo for sponsoring this bill, and we congratulate the Health Committee and all Senators for supporting our #BeCrueltyFree campaign and voting in favor," Anton Aguilar, executive director of Humane Society Mexico, said in a statement. "This brings us one step closer to ending unnecessary animal cruelty in the cosmetics industry, and demonstrates Mexico’s leadership within the Americas.”

The organization Cruelty Free International (CFI) also applauded Mexico's Senate for the move. "Every bill brings us closer to a global end to this cruel and unnecessary practice. We would urge the USA to follow suit and get the Humane Cosmetics Act on the statute books as soon as possible," CFI's Head of Public Affairs North America, Monica Engebretson, said in a statement. 

Animals used in cosmetic testing include bunnies, mice, rats, guinea pigs, and dogs (beagles). More than 1 million animals are bred, experimented on, and killed every year for the industry, according to the Animal Legal Defense Fund. The tests conducted on these animals are far worse than what humans go through in the makeup chair. Common tests include rubbing chemicals into shaved skin, pouring chemicals into eyes, feeding animals a chemical over and over to determine the chemical's "lethal dose" — and tests are usually conducted without anesthesia.  

Fortunately, there are plenty of animal-free methods of cosmetic testing — which some experts believe are even more accurate than animal tests. Additionally, there are numerous certified cruelty-free brands on the market that do not test their products or ingredients on animals or contract third parties to do so.

And the market for cruelty-free cosmetics is growing — not only are more and more brands going cruelty-free, but more and more consumers are prioritizing cruelty-free labels when shopping for makeup and other personal care products. In 2019, HSI and the animal protection non-profit Te Protejo (whcih translates to "I Protect You") partnered to commission market research firm Parametría to poll people about cruelty-free shopping preferences. The firm found that 78 percent of 880 polled Mexico citizens "place importance on making sure their cosmetics are cruelty-free" when shopping. 

Last November, HSI and Te Protejo started a Change.org petition to outlaw cosmetic animal testing in Mexico. Just a few months later,  more than 21,000 people have signed the the bill, and it is already moving through Mexico's legislative system. All of that just goes to show how powerful citizen voices can be in making government change.

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