A new law in Virginia makes it the fourth state in the US requiring that non-animal alternatives are used for testing cosmetics and household products.
The bill, introduced by Delegate Jennifer Boysko and signed by Virginia Governor Ralph Northam last week, means laboratories in the state must now use alternatives to animals for testing these items whenever they are available.
According to global organization Cruelty Free International: "The bill, [backed by us], is the first of its kind to be passed in the US in over 10 years. Virginia joins California, New Jersey and New York in passing such a law."
In her testimony to support the bill Cruelty Free International's North America Campaign manager Monica Engebretson wrote: "Bill HB 1087 reflects public expectation for the humane treatment of animals and would be consistent with existing laws concerning animals.
"Under existing law, a person who intentionally causes undue pain or suffering to an animal is guilty of a felony or a misdemeanor. There is no doubt that animals subjected to chemical tests experience extreme pain and suffering prior to death.
"Unfortunately, without a clear regulatory mandate to implement modern non-animal methods, hundreds of animals could legally be used each year in painful tests that have scientifically valid, humane alternatives. Avoiding animal pain and suffering in such tests should be a legal requirement, not merely an option."
Matthew Gray, Virginia State Director for the HSUS, said of the news: "By minimizing animal testing and instead focusing on the use of faster, cost effective and more reliable testing methods, Virginia companies can save lives, time and money,.
"We thank Delegate Boysko and Governor Northam for their leadership on this issue."
HSUS notes that this law does not apply to testing done for medical research, including testing of drugs or medical devices nor does it prohibit the use of animal tests to comply with requirements of state or federal agencies.