As we worked toward the introduction of the Humane Cosmetics Act in the last Congress, one of our most important partners was the Personal Care Products Council, the leading industry trade organization that represents more than 90% of the U.S. beauty industry, including our Be Cruelty-Free partners Unilever and Procter & Gamble. PCPC and its members worked closely with us to come up with strong language for the bill, demonstrating that the U.S. cosmetics industry is ready to move away from the unnecessary cruelty of animal testing.

Today, we are honored to present PCPC with our Henry Spira Humane Corporate Progress Award for championing federal legislation to ensure cosmetics are free from new animal testing and for leading its approximately 600 member cosmetics companies toward a humane future.

The Spira awards are given each year to forward-thinking companies, business associations and entrepreneurs whose efforts and actions have brought relief from cruelty and suffering to millions, if not billions, of animals worldwide. That it should go to the PCPC is especially fitting because Henry Spira, after whom the award is named, focused national attention on major cosmetics manufacturers’ use of animals to test cosmetic ingredients, formulations and finished products. Spira led a decades-long campaign to push cosmetics companies to end new animal testing.

The Humane Society family of organizations has kept Spira's mission alive and we have made it an integral part of our own mission, by pursuing corporate reform to make a difference for animals. Over the years we’ve worked successfully with hundreds of major corporations with corporate social responsibility commitments to animal welfare, and to encourage actions that help or spare animals from pain and suffering. Past winners of this award have included fur-free pioneer Gucci and corporations like Unilever and Nestle.

The Humane Cosmetics Act introduced in the last Congress would have, with certain exceptions, ended all animal testing for cosmetic products and ingredients in the United States and prohibited the import of cosmetics that have been tested on animals anywhere else in the world. By the time the last Congress ended, it had the unprecedented support of 23 Senators and 183 Representatives as well as more than 300 individual cosmetics and personal care product companies, in addition to PCPC members. We are now working toward the reintroduction of the federal Humane Cosmetics Act in this Congress.

Were he alive today, Spira would probably state that cosmetics animal testing should have ended years ago. We agree, and while we may not be there yet, we are pleased by the rapid progress we are making toward the day when no animal suffers and dies for cosmetics.

Sara Amundson is president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund.