PETA Urges MPs to Protect UK Ban on Animal Testing for Cosmetics

Posted by on August 16, 2021 | Permalink

In 1998, the UK became the first country to ban experiments on animals for cosmetics products and their ingredients. A sales ban on cosmetics products and ingredients tested on animals followed 15 years later, in alignment with EU legislation at that time. Now, the UK government is set to destroy this progress by allowing animal tests for cosmetic ingredients.

PETA has been warning consumers for years that these two important pieces of legislation are being undermined, and we’ve previously demanded action from the Home Office. We also wrote to all MPs asking them to insist the government enforce the ban on selling cosmetics products tested on animals and ensure that cosmetics are brought to market without new tests on animals.

So, Why Must Consumers Remain Cautious?

Companies can sell products in the UK even after they’ve been injected into guinea pigs, forced down rats’ throats, or applied to rabbits’ eyes in China or other countries, as long as the tests aren’t used to demonstrate product safety for the UK. This means companies may continue to pay for experiments on animals in China – where they’re required for many products – as long as they feature only data from non-animal methods in their UK paperwork.

Now, the Home Office has confirmed that it intends to permit animal testing for cosmetics in the UK. As we’ve previously reported, the European Chemicals Agency introduced guidance contrary to the existing EU regulations against animal testing for cosmetics by requiring new tests on animals for certain chemicals – even though they’re used exclusively as cosmetics ingredients. And instead of holding firm, the Home Office is set to confirm that it will follow. Such a policy will undermine the current rules banning animal testing for cosmetics ingredients and goes against the original intention of creating them: to ensure that animals no longer suffer and die for the sake of cosmetics.

Why Is the Government Allowing Animal Tests for Cosmetics?

Regulatory agencies claim that the tests are needed to demonstrate safety for workers who manufacture or handle the substances. Yet, the ingredients in question have a long history of safe use by consumers and have been handled safely in factories for many years.

What’s more, testing ingredients on thousands of animals won’t help protect workers. Fundamental biological differences between humans and other animals mean the results of experiments on animals just don’t reliably predict what will happen in humans – whereas humane and human-relevant non-animal methods do.

Following its exit from the EU, we hoped the UK would take a stand against animal testing, but disappointingly, the government has failed to rule out such tests on animals for cosmetics ingredients under UK chemicals regulations.

What Can You Do to Help?

Testing beauty products on animals is ugly, full stop. Do your part by always using cruelty-free products – when in doubt, check the PETA US international database to learn which companies do and don’t test on animals.

Please help us demonstrate the scale of public opposition to testing cosmetics on animals and all other experiments using animals.

Sign our petition urging the government to mandate an end to all experiments on animals: