“In response to concerns raised by Beauty Without Cruelty and many others and in consultation with many organisations, I initiated a process of drafting a bill that tackled many aspects of animal cruelty.

The Animal Protection Bill presently before Parliament is however focused primarily on banning testing on animals for cosmetic purposes.  The broader the scope of the bill the more contentious it becomes and the less likely it is to gain consensus or the support of the majority in Parliament.

The success of the banning of testing on animals in the EU and other countries with thriving cosmetic industries and the birth of new industries based on methods of testing more reliable than testing on animals is a tremendous incentive for countries like South Africa to follow their example. The banning of testing on animals for cosmetic purposes therefore seemed like the most logical place to start.

Although the people of South Africa, and indeed our highest courts, recognise the plight of animals and the need to protect them from abuses there is inadequate protection in law for this purpose.

The European Union (28 States), India, Israel, Guatemala and Norway have already formally banned the testing of cosmetics on animals as well as the sale of cosmetics that have been tested on animals outside of their borders; New Zealand, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Korea, USA and Taiwan are in the process of passing laws to ban the testing of cosmetics on animals. This means that one of the BRICS partners (India) already has legislation in place to ban the testing of cosmetics on animals and another one (Brazil) is following suit. South Africa could lead Africa in this area.

A concern is that while no cosmetic manufacturers in South Africa confess to testing on animals it is very likely that as other countries shut their doors South Africa will be seen as a destination for this purpose as no restrictions in law exist.

The Animal Protection Bill tabled in 2017 was widely consulted on, prior to being published for comment. Comments on the bill have been carefully considered and together with all submissions on the bill, further recommendations will be made to the committee for consideration when dealing with the bill.

The Committee on Agriculture is scheduled to be briefed on the bill on 14 June by the State Law Advisor after which a decision is expected to be taken as to whether the committee feels the bill is desirable or not.

If the bill does not get the support of the committee I will ask for a debate in the House as a precedent has been set in this regard.

If a Motion of Desirability is moved the bill will be advertised, submissions will be called for and public hearings held. This is where huge support for the bill will be important and recommendations regarding amendments to certain clauses can be proposed for the committee to consider and deliberate on.

I will keep you posted through Beauty without Cruelty and CTUFA on any developments.

I would like to thank Toni Brockhoven for her incredible energy, passion and tenacious commitment to this cause and to ensuring I had the motivation and support necessary to get the job done - thank you Toni!

The voice of the people of South Africa must not only be heard but be seen to be heard - we in the ACDP have heard you and are grateful for the opportunity to work with you in making South Africa an even more caring and humane society.

I would also like to take this opportunity to appreciate Parliament's Legal Services for the amazing service they provide to Parliament under huge pressure of workload and deadlines. I would especially like to recognise the tireless and excellent work done on this legislation by Charmaine van der Merwe at legal services.

Once again, thank you for your support! I will keep you posted on developments as I look forward to being able to congratulate our Parliament very soon on another job well done!”

Objects of the bill

The purpose of the Bill is to amend two Acts with the intention to prohibit the sale and manufacturing of cosmetics that were tested on an animal in the Republic; criminalise the testing of cosmetics on animals; and criminalise the failure to provide an animal with an appropriate environment; and matters related to these objectives. The Bill amends the definitions section in both Acts and furthermore amends—

The Animals Protection Act, 1962, (Act No. 71 of 1962) (hereinafter referred to as the principal Act), to provide for new offences related to the testing of a cosmetic or ingredient of a cosmetic on an animal; and related to the failure to make sufficient space in an appropriate environment available to an animal and matters related thereto—including penalties, interim orders and an award of damages. The Bill also provides for the qualification requirements of an officer of any Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and empowers the Minister to make regulations setting standards for the testing of other substance (other than cosmetics) on an animal; and

The Foodstuffs, Cosmetics and Disinfectants Act, 1972, to create an offence for the selling or manufacturing of a cosmetic that has been tested on an animal in the Republic, and matters related thereto. The Bill further makes provision for an inspector appointed under the Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1993 (Act No. 169 of 1993), to conduct certain inspections under this Act and for all inspectors authorised by this Act to retain the powers conferred by their appointing laws. The Bill also provides for the process when seizing an animal. This Act is amended by way of inclusion in a Schedule as it is administered by the Department of Health.

23 April 2018