I am committed to maintaining high standards of animal welfare in science and to maintaining the UK’s rigorous and robust regulatory system. The system requires that no animal testing takes place if there is a validated non-animal alternative that would achieve the scientific outcomes sought.
A voluntary ban on the testing of cosmetics and their ingredients on animals was secured in the UK in 1998. Following this, the UK has been instrumental in introducing such measures across the European Union and beyond. Since the UK’s ban did not form part of any legislation, animal testing may still be legally performed, as a last resort, where no alternatives exist. This could include ingredients for which, at the time of testing, the sole anticipated use is in cosmetic products.
This said, I am assured that no procedures involving the testing of cosmetics on animals have been undertaken since 1998. Additionally, the Government continues to fund and support the development of techniques that replace, reduce and refine the use of animals in research.
In 2015, the Government implemented an additional ban on the testing of finished household products on animals as well as a qualified ban on household product ingredients. This is a clear statement of the UK’s commitment to animal welfare.
Further, the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 already prevent deceptive commercial practices and should enable consumers to make informed choices about which products they want to buy. The Regulations also cover the omission of material information where goods are offered direct for sale to consumers and where the omission would be likely to affect the transactional decision of the average consumer.
There are controls in place on advertising in the UK which requires all forms of advertising to be legal, decent, honest, truthful and prepared with a sense of responsibility to both consumer and society.
It is my understanding that the Government has no plans to change any of the legislation related to regulatory testing using animals in the UK.