Testing Cosmetics on Animals Banned in NZ

WIN: Testing cosmetics on animals banned in New Zealand!


There are no wins without the work. Thanks to a massive people-powered campaign driven by the determination of our supporters, together we did it!

The issue: We needed a ban in New Zealand because:

  1. Using animals to try and test if cosmetics are safe for humans is fundamentally flawed. It is bad science, and there are better, more relevant human-based methods that can be used instead.  
  2. Testing cosmetics on animals is blatantly cruel, and we wanted to prevent this needless suffering from occurring in NZ.

The solution: To push for this ban, NZAVS joined forces with the global group Humane Society International (HSI) and local group HUHA to create the - Be Cruelty-Free NZ campaign.

HSI led the international campaign focused on ending the testing of cosmetics on animals globally, which NZAVS and HUHA also fed into.  

In New Zealand, the first stage of this campaign was to get a ban on the testing of cosmetics on animals in NZ. 

Tactics included:

We helped draft a new law:

  • We achieved this by working directly with Mojo Mathers (Green MP) to create the second version of her supplementary order paper (SOP) as part of the Animal Welfare Act amendment. (Any MP can put forward an SOP, which is a proposed amendment to a bill going through Parliament). 
  • MP Mathers put forward a first amendment on her own, which asked for cosmetics testing on animals to be removed from the Act.
  • The National Party came back saying that MP Mathers proposal was ‘not feasible.’ We worked with MP Mathers, to make sure that her second SOP fitted in stronger with the Animal Welfare Act and the Medicines Act. 
  • Although the Green Party were the political party working hard on this change, in the end, the National Party put their own SOP forward to remove cosmetics testing on animals, which was the version that they accepted - a bit sneaky, to say the least! But a win for animals!

We lobbied political parties: 

  • To push for cross-party agreement on this ban.
  • This was to ensure that the ban would be long-lasting and therefore not in threat of being overturned by the National-led government (at the time) and/or future governments.
  • We did this lobbying by providing political parties with information on the proposed ban and sent them all letters from a coalition of organisations from around the world who wanted to encourage NZ to accept the ban. 
  • We also met with Nicky Wagner (then, Christchurch Central National MP) in person to enforce the idea that this would be the first time in the world that a proposal for banning cosmetics testing on animals would be voted on and not passed if National did not accept the SOP. 
  • We encouraged our supporters and the wider public to send an online letter to all political party leaders. In total, more than 90,000 people signed this letter.
  • We presented this 90,000-strong-signed letter to parliament with MP Mathers, SAFE and HUHA.

We secured celebrity endorsements:

  • We organised multiple high-profile Kiwis to endorse the – Be Cruelty Free NZ - campaign, including Brian May, Tiki Tane, Miss Universe NZ and Flip Grater.

We promoted cruelty-free brands:

  • By promoting cruelty-free cosmetics brands, we were also able to highlight to our supporters and to the wider public that ethical companies do exist.
  • We encouraged our supporters to spend their hard-earned dollars supporting these companies and to avoid those products that still test on animals.
  • There are more than 500 cosmetics companies (and counting!) around the world that are 100% cruelty-free and do not support testing on animals. 
  • You can check out NZAVS-approved cruelty-free companies here.

Together with you, the next step is to get a ban on the sale and importation of cosmetics that have been tested on animals in NZ. Stay tuned to hear more about this second part of the campaign in 2024.

Until then, you can sign our cruelty free pledge here.


We want to thank the Human Society International for spearheading this campaign. Other charities that contributed to this win include SAFE and HUHA.

With your help we can end animal experimentation in Aotearoa.