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Understanding China’s Animal Testing Laws

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Cosmetics sold or made in China have been under scrutiny by shoppers worldwide as China remains to be one of the last country to require cosmetics to be tested on animals by law. On June 2014, compassionate consumers were thrilled to hear that China finally made some changes to their animal testing requirements.

With these changes, 10,000 animals a year will be saved from being tested on! (Horray!) However the changes also created a lot of confusion about whether companies making or selling their products in China should be considered cruelty-free.

To help you better understand China’s animal testing laws, I’ve created this infographic to clarify if a product needs to be tested on animals as required by China’s laws or not.

China's Animal Testing Laws

*INFOGRAPHIC UPDATED: APRIL 8, 2018. You’re welcome to share the infographic but please do not edit, crop, translate, or modify the original image in any form.

As noted on Humane Society’s website, here is a short version of the state of cosmetic animal testing laws in China today:

1. Foreign imported ordinary cosmetics – still require animal testing
2. Domestically produced ordinary* cosmetics – animal testing no longer an absolute requirement
3. Both foreign imported and domestically produced ‘special use’** cosmetics – still require animal testing
4. Domestically produced ordinary cosmetics for foreign export only – have never required animal testing
5. Any cosmetic bought in China via a foreign e-commerce website – has never required animal testing.

*Ordinary cosmetics include make up, fragrances, skin, hair and nail care products.

**Special use cosmetics include hair dyes, perms and hair growth products, deodorants, sunscreens, skin-whitening creams, and other products that make a functional claim on the label.

If you want more information, check out HSI’s website and FAQ.

Thank you Humane Society’s Be Cruelty Free campaign and for all of the hard work they’ve done to help animals in need! Be sure to sign the global pledge and #BeCrueltyFree!

107 Responses
  • Kristina
    October 6, 2015

    SO happy that I just stumbled upon this site. AMAZING references. <3

  • Sarah
    September 19, 2015

    Thank you so much for making this! Makes it so easy to understand

  • gigi
    September 16, 2015

    This is an INCREDIBLE infographic! Thank you so much for all the information!

    • Vicky Ly
      September 18, 2015

      Oh you are SO welcome!! Glad you found it helpful! =)

  • Skeptical
    September 11, 2015

    But what about ‘ethical’ companies knowingly bulk mail ordering through websites to Chinese distributors who then sell in Mainland China stores?

    • Vicky Ly
      September 11, 2015

      Ahh! That’s a great point!! and I wish there were better regulations for these scenarios because I’m sure there are some tricksters who do this! sometimes it’s difficult to tell which companies are selling in China until someone actually sees their products in a physical store. Unfortunately there’s no other way of tracking cases like these =(

  • Lovely Witches
    September 11, 2015

    This is so useful Vicky! It makes the topic so easy to understand at a glance, particular;ly for understanding the info in a visual way 🙂

    • Vicky Ly
      September 11, 2015

      Thanks so much Gemima! and also thanks for linking this page from your site! =) means the absolute world to me! =D

  • Sasha
    September 9, 2015

    Thank you for this post! I’ve heard many different views on animal testing in China – thank you for clearing it up!

    • Vicky Ly
      September 9, 2015

      Glad to help clear things up for ya! =) It gets confusing when companies themselves don’t really understand China’s animal testing requirements and still claim that their products are not tested on animals! Hopefully we’ll see more changes to China’s laws soon!

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