Activists urge animal testing ban

EUROPEAN EXAMPLE: Demonstrators said animal testing was unnecessary because many ingredients are sold that have not caused harm to people

By Lee I-chia / TAIPEI TIMES

Animal rights activists yesterday rallied in front of the Legislative Yuan building, urging lawmakers to pass laws to ban animal testing in the making of cosmetics products.

More than a dozen people wearing white T-shirts that read: “Beauty with Heart,” fake bunny ears and holding signs that read: “Say no to animal testing” or bearing pictures of white rabbits used in such animal testing marched to the Legislative Yuan’s front gate yesterday morning.

The organizers of the rally — animal rights group the Life Conservationist Association and an international cosmetics company, said yesterday marked the one-year anniversary since the European Commission announced a total ban on animal testing for cosmetics.

The phasing out of animal testing for cosmetics in the EU began in 2003 with a ban on testing cosmetics products and cosmetics ingredients on animals. The EU later banned the sale of cosmetics products and ingredients that were tested on animals.

“Animal testing is only done because it is relatively cheap, but it limits the marketability of the products, because they cannot be sold to countries in the EU,” association member Tang Yi-jhih (湯宜之) said. “Taiwanese should learn from the EU’s example and refuse to use cosmetic products that were tested on animals.”

Taiwan Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals executive director Connie Chiang (姜怡如) said that many cosmetics sold by international brands have proved that thousands of ingredients are safe, and no longer require animal testing.

She said animal testing for cosmetics include applying the ingredients or products on the skin of rabbits after their fur has been shaved off, dripping the substances into rabbits’ eyes and observing their reactions and “lethal dose tests” that test the limit of the animals’ survivability after being exposed to different dosages of chemicals.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Tien Chiu-chin (田秋堇) urged women in Taiwan to take a stand against animal testing by only using products that guaranteed they had not been tested on animals.

DPP Legislator Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators Ting Shou-chung (丁守中) and Apollo Chen (陳學聖) also appeared at the rally to show their support and urge the public to boycott all cosmetics that had been tested on animals.

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