Virginia Becomes the 4th State to Ban Animal-Tested Cosmetics

Jourdyn Grandison | Staff Writer

An increasing number of states in the country are prohibiting animal-tested cosmetics. Virginia is the latest to join the list that already includes California, Nevada, and Illinois. 

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed the Humane Cosmetics Act into law on March 16, formally prohibiting cosmetics manufacturers from “conducting or contracting for cosmetic animal testing [within the state]” and selling animal-tested products. The law will go in effect in January of 2022. 

This isn’t the first time the Virginia legislature has taken steps to ban animal research in favor of humane alternatives. In 2018, Virginia State Senator Jennifer Boysko’s bill was signed into law, prohibiting state research facilities from using animals to test cosmetics and household goods when a valid alternative test method is available.

Several other states, including New Jersey, Maryland, Rhode Island, Hawaii, and New York, may also pass similar laws in the future, according to ABC News. The rise in state-specific anti-animal testing legislation is expected to be part of a more significant state-by-state effort.

“This is a great move for Virginia because this can spark a national change in the cosmetics industry,” said Sierra Williams, a senior economics major. “Brands have already begun shifting to being cruelty-free, so maybe Virginia’s ban may be what pushes for a more environmentally conscious society.” 

The Humane Cosmetics Act’s passing is the second time in recent years that Virginia legislators have been at the forefront of national legislation for animal testing. Virginia Congressman, Jim Moran, sponsored the first federal Humane Cosmetics Act in 2013. Moran’s successor, Congressman Don Beyer, has championed the law with bipartisan support.

Monica Engebretson, Head of Public Affairs of the North American division of Cruelty-Free International believes that Virginia’s law will help pass the law at a federal level.

“We are delighted that Virginia has continued to be a national leader in ending animal testing for cosmetics,” said Engebretson. “This is a significant step not just for Virginia but for the entire US, as history has shown that state activity leads to changes at the federal level.”

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