The Animal Rights Movement

The animal testing issue first emerged as a major concern for the cosmetics industry in the late 1970s. Animal welfare and animal rights groups focused their criticism on the industry's use of the Draize eye irritancy test to substantiate the safety of ingredients and products.

Picketing of CTFA headquarters and CTFA member companies in 1979 thrust the issue to the forefront. In the summer of that year, CTFA prepared an official position paper on animal testing entitled "Animal Testing: What Are the Choices?"

As pressure continued to mount, the Executive Committee ordered CTFA's science committees to continue exploring the issue and directed the drafting of a detailed legal position.

In April 1980, CTFA's Pharmacology and Toxicology Committee established a task force that would review the Draize test, explore alternative testing procedures, and recommend research programs for the development and/or validation of alternative testing procedures.

In October 1980, CTFA sponsored a symposium on animal testing, bringing together both sides of the issue for an open exchange of opinions and ideas. At the meeting, CTFA stated that it was "ready, willing, and able to consider modification of procedures to address alternative procedures."

In 1981, the CTFA Board approved a program for the industry to fund a national center for the development of alternatives to animal testing. It awarded The Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health a $1 million three-year grant. This initial grant was supplemented with an additional $700,000 in 1984 and continued funding in subsequent years.

In cooperation with the Battelle Memorial Institute, CTFA has conducted since 1988 an evaluation of the alternatives program. Although the industry was able to greatly reduce the number of animals used in safety testing, animal rights groups continued their offensive throughout the 1980s.

CTFA's Board decided to concentrate resources on defeating legislation that would ban animal testing at the state level, rather than conduct a general educational campaign.

Californiabecame a critical test ground for this issue and became the only state to actually pass legislation banning animal testing. In 1990, California Governor Deukmejian vetoed the legislation.

After this legislation again passed both the California Senate and General Assembly in 1991, CTFA orchestrated a state-wide editorial campaign in more than 50 California newspapers. CTFA also gained the support of former Surgeon General Dr. C. Everett Koop, who helped convince decision makers.

These efforts resulted in the veto of the legislation by California Governor Wilson.