Victory! Animal Testing of Ingredients Exclusively Used in Cosmetics Has Ended in the UK

Posted by on November 23, 2023 | Permalink

Update (23 November 2023): Animal Testing of Ingredients Exclusively Used in Cosmetics Has Ended in the UK

The UK is now one step closer to ending animal testing for cosmetics: tests for ingredients used exclusively in cosmetics are finally over! In May, the government stopped issuing new licences for such tests, and now the Home Office has confirmed that testing has also ended under all remaining legacy licences.

There are over 400 such ingredients registered in the EU, so this progress in the UK will potentially have an impact on thousands of animals. Rabbits, mice, and other animals will no longer be subjected to painful experiments just for shampoo or sun cream.

Thank you to everyone who supported PETA’s campaign to ban animal testing for cosmetics in the UK by e-mailing their MPs, sharing our posts on social media, and joining us in our efforts in other ways.

What Kind of Tests Are Covered in the Ban?

The UK policy applies to the health and safety assessment of ingredients used exclusively in cosmetics for consumers, workers involved in the manufacturing of cosmetics, and the environment. This is a commendable commitment.

PETA will continue pushing for the end of all tests on animals, including those for ingredients used in cosmetics and other types of products such as household cleaners.

What About the EU?

While the UK is making a big step towards ending animal testing for cosmetics, the EU is taking a giant leap back. Earlier this week, the Court of Justice of the European Union announced a decision that has destroyed the existing ban on animal testing for cosmetics. Animals in the UK and the EU deserve to live free from painful experiments. Get in touch with the EU officials now:

Update (17 May 2023):

In May 2023, the government won a court case allowing tests on animals for cosmetics under UK chemicals laws. The news outraged Brits, so less than two weeks later, the government issued a statement saying that it will not issue new animal testing licences. The licensing ban covers chemicals exclusively used in cosmetics.

The ban should protect animals, but it is not enough – there are still existing legacy licences in effect that allow companies to continue these cruel tests, and the ban doesn’t take into account the large number of ingredients that are used in both cosmetics and other types of products such as paint, washing-up liquid, or glue. Thousands of rabbits and other animals are still at risk of being tormented and killed for cosmetics right on our doorstep.

Please urge your MP to insist that the government recall and cancel current testing licences with immediate effect and update the ban so that it encompasses all cosmetics ingredients:

Original post (11 March 2023):

10 Years Since the Cosmetics Testing Ban, Rabbits Are Still Forced to Inhale Sunscreen Ingredients

Today, 11 March, was meant to be a celebration of freedom for animals from cruel cosmetics tests. However, despite bans and promises by decision-makers, rabbits, rats, and other animals are still being force-fed cosmetics ingredients.

In 1998, the UK became the first country to ban experiments on animals for cosmetics products and ingredients. Fifteen years later, on 11 March 2013, a sales ban passed in alignment with EU legislation at that time, meaning that companies wishing to bring any new cosmetics products or ingredients to market could no longer use new animal test data to demonstrate their safety.

Sounds promising, right? So why are thousands of rabbits, rats, mice, and other animals still being used as test tubes?

Rabbits Are Forced to Ingest Sunscreen Ingredients

Over 400 chemicals are registered in the EU as ingredients used exclusively in cosmetics, and some of these are subject to new animal testing requests by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).

These tests involve forcing tens of thousands of rats, rabbits, or fish to ingest shampoo or sun cream ingredients for months at a time. In some cases, pregnant animals are force-fed these chemicals before they and their unborn offspring are killed and dissected. In other tests, experimenters allow the offspring to be born, only for them to experience the same miserable fate as their mothers.

PETA has previously exposed that cosmetics products tested on animals in China are sold in shops and supermarkets across the UK. Now, the government is going a step further by following ECHA policy and allowing ingredients to be tested on animals for UK regulatory purposes.

These tests completely undermine the purpose of the ban: to bring safe cosmetics to market without requiring new tests on animals.

No Animal Should Suffer or Be Killed in Cruel Cosmetics Tests

There is a wealth of superior non-animal methods for assessing the safety of cosmetics and their ingredients – including cutting-edge tools like three-dimensional tissue models, advanced computer simulations, and species-relevant exposure data. All these methods that actually belong in the 21st century are routinely used to assess the safety of cosmetics without archaic tests that are harming animals.

Experts can now predict how an ingredient or combination of ingredients will affect the human body or the impact they may have on the environment – results that tests on rats, rabbits, and fish are unable to match.

Unsurprisingly, the PETA US database of companies that don’t test on animals lists over 6,100 brands, including Dove, Herbal Essences, Aveda, e.l.f., Tropic Skincare, and Urban Decay. These companies have pledged never to conduct, commission, pay for, or allow tests on animals at any phase of development for ingredients or final products. They’re required to have agreements in place with their suppliers guaranteeing that the ingredients they purchase weren’t tested on animals.


Take Action for Animals in Laboratories

Every time you buy cosmetics or household products, you are voting with your wallet for a cruelty-free future or for sentencing animals to torment and death in laboratories.

Right now, millions of animals need your support. Pledge to buy only cruelty-free products and support PETA’s campaign to end all cosmetics tests on animals: