India Bans Animal Testing for Cosmetics

India is becoming Westernised. This is demonstrated in many ways including developments in respect of the relationship between citizens and companion animals. Recently, there was a first in the cat world: a cat show in India. There are purebred cats in India but they are yet to get a pedigree (a family history). They will in time when they might create a proper cat fancy.

The latest, extremely pleasing development in India is the banning of animal testing for cosmetics. It sounds obvious that animal testing by cosmetic companies should not happen but it was only totally banned recently in Europe. By “totally” I mean including banning the importation of cosmetics made with animal testing from outside the European Union as well as animal testing of cosmetics within Europe.

We should thank the Humane Society International (HSI) for their work in campaigning for the change in legislation in India.

They say:

…After more than a year of intensive campaigning and policy negotiations by HSI/India, the Drug Controller General has approved the complete removal of any mention of animal tests from India’s cosmetics standard. India now joins the ranks of Europe and Israel as subjecting rabbits, rats, and mice to painful or lethal testing becomes illegal and is replaced with modern non-animal alternatives…

The next stage is to ban the importation of cosmetics into India made on the back of animal testing. This will be a big step.

On the understanding that the relationship between India’s citizens and their cats will evolve and become more Westernised, what are the aspects of the Western cat world that should be avoided if possible?


  • If and when India do create a cat fancy they should take the best from the cat fancy in the West. I am not against the cat fancy as long as it respects the cat. Overbreeding of purebred cats is not good. India has a chance to look and learn to avoid this pitfall.
  • Declawing cats. I cannot believe that India will start to declaw cats.
  • Shooting stray and feral cats. India accepts community cats. However, I am sure many live poor lives. I don’t see shooting of feral cats being a problem in India. Gun ownership is far below the US for a start and there appears to be an acceptance of community cats.
  • Ignoring the benefits of trap-neuter-return programmes. A lot of people in the West don’t believe in TNR. It can work and it is something that India’s local authorities can start to implement.
  • Doing what a part of American society does, namely, letting female cats breed and produce one litter before being spayed. This is a misconceived policy. India should improve sterilisation policies and practice.
  • The mass culture of keeping cats indoors full-time. This is a North American idea. It is meant to be a refinement on the human to cat relationship. I don’t believe it is. Where possible, a refinement would be building large cat enclosures. Many Americans with large yards (gardens) still confine their cats to the inside of their homes. For me, this is wrong. However, I respect the views and opinions of others.
  • Setting up cat shelters where cats are not sheltered but killed en masse. I realise there is a problem with cat overpopulation in the West but the solution of mass killing of cats is a short term, ineffective response.
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India Bans Animal Testing for Cosmetics — 6 Comments

  1. I wonder what crazy ways the cosmetics industry used animals to test their products. I suspect they injected them with stuff that is only used topically, inflicting unnecessary suffering and thus only learning that lipstick should not be injected!! Why else would testing on animals be banned?

    • Exactly – I see your point – clearly the general term of ‘testing’ is very soft compared to the reality of what’s happening.

      I think it’s good news and a big step.

    • Harvey you really don’t want to know too much about how cosmetics are tested on animals, sufficient to say they suffer agonies of their eyes and their skin. For example rabbits heads are held in a vice while shampoo is dripped into their eyes, animals have their fur shaved off and different cosmetics applied to their bare skin.
      One of the worst firms for animal testing is L’Oreal whose ‘beautiful’ models say ‘Because I’m worth it’
      No they are not ‘worth it’ in fact they may be ‘pretty’ outside to some but they are ugly inside from using cosmetics made by a cruel firm.

  2. Michael, the average Indian has always been tolerant towards pets which includes cats and dogs.Stray dogs were once euthanized in India but the practice banned and as for cats, honestly, no one cared about the stray cats and even pet cats were a rarity in homes until recent years.I have toured all the major city’s in India and its not uncommon to see poor almost homeless people having the companionship of a stray dog or cats.The tragedy in India is its “WILD-LIFE CONSERVATION” and “FOREST CONSERVATION”. Human population is uprooting forest land for cultivation and today its a common news to find herds of wild elephants invading the suburbs of a metropolitan city like Bangalore ! The Western World is familiar with Bangalore as India’s “Silicon valley”. I had recently visited the Bandhavgarh Tiger National park in the state of Madhya Pradesh and was sad at the miniscule population of the tigers in the park, that too confined mostly to a particular zone in the park, the “Tala Zone”. Check my blog on this tour written as viewed from a wild-life conservation aspect :- . Most people return back without spotting a tiger but the jungle safari compensates the disappointment.The lack of tigers could lead to rapid in-breeding, besides, the forest territory might not be enough to support a larger population of tigers. Tigers akin to our very own domestic cats are very territorial by nature.Apologize for drifting from the topic but i just wanted to highlight the dangers of India’s wild-life gradually disappearing due to habitat loss and poaching. Ad for pets, i personally feel that pet animals, including strays lead the best life in India.Pets of the rich are pampered beyond imagination while stray pets are at least allowed to live their lives on the streets rather than be euthanized as in the West and most First world Country’s.Again , i am writing from experience having travelled to most First World City’s and Country’s. My fear as a Indian is the preservation of India’s immense wild-life along with its diverse habitat.

  3. I think this is good news and another step forward for the world. People in more countries are beginning to realise now that in this day and age of technology animals don’t need to suffer.
    The only reason some firms still use them is that animal life is cheap, they can be killed and thrown away when they are no more good.

    • Totally agree. I think it is important. India is an Asian country and they are taking the lead. China hardly has any animal welfare laws at all so India can put some pressure on Asian countries to make changes. It is a world matter as you say.

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