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Kindness Counts: Maryland Becomes 5th State to Ban Animal Testing for Makeup Products

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Susan Kelley
Susan Kelley
Group of rabbitsPhoto by pure julia on Unsplash

No more fluffy bunnies will be lab testers of makeup in Maryland thanks to recent legislation. The Maryland State Legislature recently passed the Prohibition on Testing Cosmetics on Animals bill. Specifically, the bill prohibits "a person from conducting or contracting for animal testing in the development of a cosmetic; prohibiting a manufacturer from selling or offering for sale in the State a cosmetic under certain circumstances beginning July 1, 2022."

It may be that few people think of Maryland as a large producer of cosmetics, but cosmetics giant Coty, the parent company of Covergirl cosmetics, is located just outside of Baltimore city in Hunt Valley, MD.

This is great news for animal rights advocates including the Humane Society, who have argued for this type of legislation for many years. The legislation follows a significant shift in the cosmetics market, led by changes in consumer sentiment. Many major brands have committed to developing cruelty-free brands in recent years.

As a top employer in Baltimore County, Coty, manufacturer of Covergirl cosmetics is one among many manufacturers to seek the "leaping bunny" certification. The leaping bunny logo is the internationally-recognized symbol of cruelty-free manufacturing, and is sought by customers worldwide.

Senator Clarence Lam, who represents Baltimore and Howard counties in District 12, was a big supporter of the bill, recently noted that "this is a real win and benefit for a lot of folks both industry, consumers as well as those of us who support our Animal Friends."

Maryland-based Mom's Organic market carries a number of cruelty-free brands as a part of their overall inventory, and customers there can expect to see a fuller line of Maryland-based products hitting the shelves after the July, 2022 procedures take effect.

States that came before Maryland in instituting the ban on animal testing include California, Illinois, Nevada, and Virginia. Virginia's governor Ralph Northam signed the Virginia Humane Cosmetics Act (VHCA) into law into March, not long before Maryland. Other states currently considering similar legislation include Rhode Island, New Jersey, Hawaii, Oregon, and New York. Over 900 companies including some 600 members of the Personal Care Products Council, a national trade association for cosmetics, officially endorse the Humane Cosmetics Act. It's likely that the momentum and publicity garnered by the state-level legislation will push forward action at the federal level. Global bath and body care company Lush is helping push for a federal ban.The Humane Cosmetics Act would end unnecessary cosmetics animal testing in the entire country.

The movement to ban animal testing has largely been driven by consumer opinion. Consumers are also demanding highger standards thanks to increased awareness about what goes into their skin products and in their cosmetics. Increased awareness about products, origins, and testing regimens has increased knowledge about how products come to market and the availability of alternate testing methods. The FDA and international regulatory agencies currently accept more than ten alternatives to animal testing for product safety.

Baltimore's strong connection to cruelty-free cosmetics begins with Coty. Coty doesn’t test any of its products on animals, but worked with Cruelty Free International to ensure that it met the standards to achieve the leaping bunny certification in 2018. According to Coty's website, "Leaping Bunny certification is the only globally recognized program that requires regular independent supply chain audits to ensure continued compliance."

Michelle Thew, CEO of Cruelty Free International, commented that the organization was "impressed with the company’s passionate commitment."

It should come as no surprise that with corporate compliance at such an outstanding level, and consumer demand at a rising high, that the bill passed the Maryland State Senate on February 5, 2021 without a single no vote, and passed the Maryland State House on March 29 with 94 Yeas and only 2 Nays.

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