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UK Cosmetics

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Where it all began

We’re working to make sure that the UK remains a cruelty free leader

In 1998, we celebrated the UK Government’s policy ban on cosmetics animal testing which was implemented through amendments to the conditions on project licences under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act. As the Government’s own website claims: “Cosmetics testing has been banned in the UK since 1998... No cosmetics sold in the UK have been tested on animals”. However, it is now clear that the ban has being significantly undermined and the Cruelty Free International team is working hard with Leaping Bunny partners and others involved in the cosmetics supply chain in the UK to ensure that it is protected and strengthened.

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, we fear that the UK government is set to turn the clock back by allowing animal tests for cosmetic ingredients once again.

In a letter to Cruelty Free International in August 2021, the Home Office confirmed that it intends to permit animal testing for cosmetics in the UK, following the European Chemicals Agency guidance which we believe is contrary to the existing EU regulations against animal testing for cosmetics by requiring new tests on animals for certain chemicals – even those used exclusively as cosmetics ingredients. This not only undermines the current rules banning animal testing for cosmetics ingredients but flies in the face of the original intention of creating them: to ensure that animals no longer suffer and die for the sake of cosmetics.

Regulatory agencies claim that animal tests are needed to demonstrate safety for workers involved in the manufacture or handling of the ingredients in question. However, these ingredients have a long history of safe use by consumers and have been handled safely in factories for many years. In addition, testing ingredients on thousands of animals will not help protect workers. If there are questions about the safety of an ingredient, then non-animal methods should be used, or the ingredient should not be permitted.

What you can do

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