13 / 11 / 2023
Cruelty Free International recently launched a petition urging the UK government to rule out all cosmetic animal testing in the UK in response to a letter from the Home Office confirming that it intends to permit animal testing for cosmetics in the UK, following guidance from the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).
The UK became the first country to ban animal testing for cosmetic products and their ingredients in 1998, which was followed by a ban on the sale of cosmetics products and ingredients that had been tested on animals in 2013.
In 2021, the Home Office confirmed that animal testing may be permitted in the UK, following decisions made by ECHA to enforce a German specialty chemicals company, Symrise, to carry out animal tests on two chemical substances that were used purely for cosmetic products in order to meet EU REACH (registration, evaluation, authorisation, and restriction of chemicals) regulations.
Despite the ban on animal testing for cosmetics in the EU, compliance of REACH regulations overrules these laws.
Whilst the UK is no longer a member of the EU, EU REACH regulations were carried over into UK law on the 1st January 2021 as UK REACH regulations. The government has stated that the 1998 law surrounding cosmetic testing on animals will not change, however inheriting these regulations will allow for this type of testing to take place. As its own regulations separate from EU REACH, there is no reason the UK must follow the decisions made by ECHA regarding cosmetic animal testing.
Experts within the chemical testing industry have stated that animal testing for cosmetics is unnecessary due to the number of relevant and reliable non-animal methods, and existing safety data from historic animal tests that is available. These regulations could also require chemicals that have previously been tested and assessed as safe to be retested using animals, just for the sake of complying with regulations that are not necessary, when non-animal methods are available for assessing the safety of chemicals used in cosmetics.
The government has a huge opportunity to step up and surpass the regulations set by the EU, proving the commitment to scientific innovation and animal welfare that is talked about so often. At FRAME, we call for the government to close the loophole created by the conflict between EU laws and REACH that have been carried over to UK law, and legally acknowledge that there is sufficient history on the use of non-animal methods available within the chemical industry for cosmetics that renders any further safety testing involving animals obsolete.
There is absolutely no reason for cosmetics or their ingredients to require animal testing in 2022, and we fully support Cruelty Free Internationals petition and encourage members of the public the sign and share the petition to urge the government to rule out all cosmetic testing in the UK.SIGN THE PETITION