China considers end to mandatory animal testing on cosmetics
November 15, 2013 -- Updated 0649 GMT (1449 HKT)
A worker holds white rats at an animal laboratory of a medical school in 2008 in Chongqing, China.
- China considers allowing sale of some cosmetics without requiring them to be tested on animals.
- The proposal covers products made in China, but not imported products
- Campaign group said change came quicker than expected
- But does not expect wholesale end to animal testing of cosmetics in China
Hong Kong (CNN) -- Cosmetic companies and animal rights groups have welcomed a proposal by China to allow sales of some cosmetics without requiring them to be tested on animals.
Animal testing would no longer be mandatory for "non-specialized cosmetics", including shampoo, soaps and certain skin products manufactured in China from June next year, according to a document posted on the website of the China Food and Drug Administration earlier this month.
Beauty companies have long faced an ugly dilemma in China.
Local laws and regulations require animal testing for cosmetic products sold in the country, which has made the lucrative market a tricky area for brands that want to sell in China without alienating consumers in other places that frown upon animal testing.
State's new problem: Stoned dogs
Was Westminster dog poisoned?
"Non-specialized cosmetics produced in China could avoid toxicological testing after going through risk and safety checks," the China Food and Drug Administration said.
Imported cosmetics are not covered in the proposal. But the document indicated that China would gradually ease regulations on animal testing, which would allow more international firms opposed to animal testing to enter China's 134 billion yuan ($22 billion) cosmetics market.
READ: From poison to potion: Toxins turned into life-saving drugs
Current regulations require all cosmetics to go through a lengthy approval process known as "toxicological testing" which involves testing on animals like rabbits and guinea pigs.
"The Body Shop welcomes the signals that the Chinese authorities are adopting a new approach to cosmetic testing," spokeswoman Louise Terry said in emailed comments from London.
"We have campaigned against animal testing for over 20 years and we look forward to selling our products in China one day."
Cosmetic brand Urban Decay last year abandoned plans to sell its products in China in response to pressure from consumers and campaign groups, according to Cruelty Free International.
Dave Neale, animal welfare director at campaign group Animal Asia, told CNN the planned changes had come quicker than expected given that local campaigns against animal testing have only been going for two years.
"That's a very significant development because it took many years for European Union to allow these products to be sold (without being tested on animals)."
Earlier this year, a complete ban on the sale of cosmetics developed through animal testing took effect in the European Union.
But Neale added that this proposal would not mark the end of animal testing in China.
"As far as I'm aware, products can still be tested on animals. It just opens the opportunity for non-animal products to be sold," he said.
CNN's contributed to this report
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 0551 GMT (1351 HKT)
David McKenzie meets some American teenagers who are spending a year in China to be fully immersed in the culture.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 0259 GMT (1059 HKT)
The Chinese government pledges to protect a boy with HIV, who was shunned by his entire village in Sichuan, state media reported.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 1144 GMT (1944 HKT)
A Chinese couple allegedly threw hot water on a flight attendant and threatened to blow up the plane.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 0503 GMT (1303 HKT)
China's 1.3 billion citizens may soon find it much harder to belt out their national anthem at will.
December 10, 2014 -- Updated 0021 GMT (0821 HKT)
Los Angeles in the last century went through its own smog crisis. The city's mayor says LA's experience delivers valuable lessons for Beijing.
December 6, 2014 -- Updated 0542 GMT (1342 HKT)
At the height of his power, security chief Zhou Yongkang controlled China's police, spy agencies and courts. Now, he's under arrest.
December 5, 2014 -- Updated 0826 GMT (1626 HKT)
China says it will end organ transplants from executed prisoners but tradition means that donors are unlikely to make up the shortfall.
December 5, 2014 -- Updated 0648 GMT (1448 HKT)
China's skylines could look a lot more uniform in the years to come, if a statement by a top Beijing official is to believed.
December 3, 2014 -- Updated 0855 GMT (1655 HKT)
Despite a high-profile anti-corruption drive, China's position on an international corruption index has deteriorated in the past year.
November 26, 2014 -- Updated 1201 GMT (2001 HKT)
A daring cross-border raid by one of Russian President Vladimir Putin's associates has -- so far -- yet to sour Sino-Russian relations.
November 24, 2014 -- Updated 0051 GMT (0851 HKT)
A 24-hour bookstore in Taipei is a popular hangout for both hipsters and bookworms.
November 25, 2014 -- Updated 0153 GMT (0953 HKT)
China is building an island in the South China Sea that could accommodate an airstrip, according to IHS Jane's Defence Weekly.
November 19, 2014 -- Updated 1057 GMT (1857 HKT)
North Korean refugees and defectors face a daunting journey to reach asylum in South Korea, with gangs of smugglers the only option.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 2319 GMT (0719 HKT)
China and "probably one or two other" countries have the capacity to shut down the nation's power grid and other critical infrastructure.