"The United States must be a world leader and not a follower," Beyer told supporters in a campaign email that stressed the issue to his supporters.
Beyer is expected to push the issue when the new congress reconvenes in January, when he takes over from outgoing Virginia Democratic Senator Jim Moran.
Newly appointed senator takes up the battle
Beyer is taking up the baton where Senator Moran left off, after he introduced legislation that seeks to outlaw the sale of any cosmetic product containing any sort of component that was tested on animals.
To date over 140 companies have endorsed Moran’s Humane Cosmetics Act (H.R. 4148) which has been backed by cosmetics brands such as the Body Shop, Paul Mitchell and Aubrey Organics.
Very little animal testing on cosmetics and ingredients is thought to be still carried out in the United States, which is why Moran’s bill specifies the both the prohibition of animal testing in the U.S. and phase out the sale of cosmetics tested on animals in foreign countries.
Not widely practiced, but not outlawed
Although animal testing of cosmetics is completely outlawed in the European Union, India and Israel, animal testing remains a requirement for some products and ingredient in many other countries, including China.
Both Moran' and Beyer’s initiatives aimed at outlawing animal testing of cosmetics have met with a warm reception from animal right advocates.
“We thank Congressman Moran for his leadership on this legislation, which will align the U.S. with the global trend moving away from animal testing of cosmetics,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, when Senator Moran’s bill was announced.
“We have powerful and reliable alternatives available and it's time to embrace those new technologies and stop harming animals for unnecessary reasons."
Political struggle in Congress?
However, despite the support of the animal rights groups and many individuals, the changing political landscape in the Unites States may bring fresh challenge to making the bill law, especially following the mid-term elections that left Congress Republican controlled.
Further to this, political observers believe that Senator Beyer may be facing a tough struggle in a Republican-controlled Congress that has not historically had much sympathy for the issue.