Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal Announces Passage of Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act

The bill would prohibit the sale of cosmetics after January 1, 2023, if any of the ingredients were tested on animals

Albany, NY – Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF-Manhattan) announced today that her bill to prohibit the sale of cosmetics products if their ingredients have been tested on animals subject to several exceptions) has passed the New York State Assembly, after passing the State Senate in M. The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk for her signature. Once it becomes law, New York will join 8 states, including California, Nevada, Illinois, Virginia, Maryland, Maine, Hawaii and New Jersey, along with the European Union, which have implemented the same legislation.

“The old adage that ‘beauty is pain’ should not apply to people, and it should certainly not apply to innocent animals,” said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal. “The sad reality is that thousands of innocent animals, mostly bunnies, are injured and killed each year in the pursuit of beauty, even though effective alternative tests exist, and animal irritant testing is not indicative of the impacts that an ingredient will have on people. My bill will help put an end to the cosmetic industry’s needless torture of innocent animals and ensure that cosmetics are safe for humans and animals alike.”

Monica Engebretson, Head of Public Affairs North America for Cruelty Free International said, “We are thrilled that the New York Cruelty Free Cosmetics Act has successfully passed the New York Assembly and Senate. US history has shown that state activity leads to changes at the federal level. Because of New York’s association with the fashion and beauty industries, passing the New York Cruelty Free Cosmetics Act could be the tipping point that leads to the passage of a federal Humane Cosmetics Act.”

It is estimated that up to 500,000 animals, including rabbits, guinea pigs, mice, rats and others, are injured and killed each year in the United States for cosmetics testing. Irritancy tests determine the potential that an ingredient will irritate a user’s eyes or skin. The lethal dose test is used to evaluate the potential toxicity of a substance. Companies that conduct these tests are not required to provide the animals with any pain relief before, during or after testing.

The animals, which are often forced fed toxins or have their eyes held open in devices, can suffer blindness, paralysis, diarrhea, convulsions and bleed as a result. If the animals somehow live through the testing ordeal, they are killed when they outlive their usefulness, usually via painful means, such as asphyxiation, neck breaking and decapitation.

Animal testing was used in the mid-1940s before alternative means to evaluate a substance’s toxicity were available. Since then, new tests have been developed that are better indicators than animal testing of a substance's toxicity. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration recommends that alternative methods should be considered before animal testing is used, and it is leading a multi-agency approach to identifying and creating additional alternative testing means.