We can judge a society by how it treats its most vulnerable. I am a believer, spurred by the writings of the moral philosopher Peter Singer, that we can and should extend these values to all species.
Last year on the campaign trail, I heard from many of you that one of Jim Moran’s legacies, which you deeply wanted me to continue, was the effort to enhance our treatment – and the world’s treatment – of animals.
One step in this process was this week’s introduction of the Humane Cosmetics Act. I was proud to join Reps. Martha McSally, Tony Cárdenas, and Joe Heck to introduce this important legislation, which would ban the use of animal-based testing for cosmetic products in the United States.
This bill would also eventually prohibit the sale of any cosmetics tested on animals in foreign countries, making sure that only safe products, tested with cutting-edge technology, enter the American market.
This battle is already half-won. Few American companies test cosmetics on animals. The transition to more reliable, cost-effective, and technologically advanced methods is well underway, and these approaches have the added benefit of predicting with greater accuracy whether cosmetics are safe for humans.
The knowledge that using animals as test subjects is neither cost-effective nor accurate should be enough for us to phase out this process. Add to that knowledge the fact that animals subjected to these processes undergo what can only be described as torture – harsh chemicals rubbed on their shaved skin, shoved down their throats, or dripped into their eyes – and this bill is essential. If we treat our most vulnerable with cruelty, we are not a humane society.
To continue our role as a moral leader it is time for us to end the painful and completely unnecessary process of testing American cosmetics on animals.
Today’s legislation is also about our societal values: You sent me to Congress to work across the aisle. I am trying to end the partisan divide that gridlocks Congress and leads Americans to stop believing in the power of our government.
I am delighted that this legislation, like the other four bills I have introduced so far, is a bipartisan effort.
With each legislative effort, I seek Republicans – as well as fellow Democrats – who share my interest in the topic at hand.
Rep. Beyer can be reached through his website at www.beyer.house.gov, on Twitter @RepDonBeyer or his office at (202) 225-4376.