NGO also calls for animal testing for cosmetics to be made illegal
Animal lovers are being urged to sign a pledge in support of policies to end animal testing in the UK, and ask their MP to do the same, as part of a new campaign launched by animal protection NGO, Cruelty Free International.
The pledge can be signed at https://crueltyfreeinternational.org/pledgecrueltyfree.
The campaign, which runs until the next General Election, expected to be held in Spring or Autumn 2024, is a direct response to the government’s decision, revealed in May, to secretly abandon the UK’s 1998 ban on animal testing for cosmetics. This information came to light as part of Cruelty Free International’s legal challenge to the Home Office on the UK’s policy on animal testing.
Since this revelation, and following legal pressure exerted by Cruelty Free International, the government has partially reinstated the cosmetics testing ban, to include ingredients used exclusively in cosmetics but, as this only covers approximately 20% of the total ingredients used in cosmetics, that is not enough.
Members of the public can ask their MP to make a commitment to put the 1998 ban, covering ingredients used both predominantly and exclusively in cosmetics, into ‘law; make our homes safer by removing animals and modernising the system for testing the chemicals that go into the products we use every day, such as food, clothes, household cleaning, furniture, electronic goods, paints and dyes; and ask that the government create a plan to phase-out animal testing forever, with a minister dedicated to delivery across government.
Home Office statistics show that there were over 2.76 million uses of animals in laboratories in Great Britain in 2022.
Ten per cent of those are tests required by regulators to assess the safety or effectiveness of chemicals, medicines and other products.
Yet, despite tests which are designed to keep us safe, the pharmaceutical industry is in a silent crisis: 92% of drugs fail in clinical trials even though they passed extensive pre-clinical tests (including animal tests) which suggested that they were safe and effective.
Of the remaining uses of animals in British laboratories in 2022, 45% were in the creation and breeding of genetically altered animals; and a further 29% in basic, curiosity-driven research. Many of these tests, which aren’t required by the regulator and are essentially voluntary, could be removed without very little impact. This should be one of the first areas to be addressed in a comprehensive government led plan to phase out testing on animals. Many other animal tests could be ended immediately, as they are conducted despite already having approved non-animal alternatives available.
Dylan Underhill, Head of Public Affairs, Cruelty Free International, said: “The UK stands at a crossroads in its approach to animal testing, and we know that, as a country, can do so much better. Animal testing touches our lives in many ways that most of us don’t appreciate, from cosmetics and household products to clothes, furniture, plastics, electronic and white goods, paints, dyes, and food. To stop millions of animals being used in needless and painful tests every year, we need progress and compassion, not the same old status quo. The government must do more to promote alternatives and end the cruel use of animals in science, especially when modern innovations in non-animal methods can produce better results, potentially saving lives and resources.
“By rolling back the cosmetics testing ban to only cover approximately 20% of all cosmetics ingredients , the government has shown how little it cares about the opportunities that are in front of us. We need your help to tell the government that this isn’t good enough, and that animal testing for cosmetics ingredients should be made illegal. Contacting your MP today can give a voice to the animals who suffer in laboratories, and with a general election on the horizon there is no better time to do this than now. All MPs need to know the strength of feeling on this issue so that current and future governments will make the right choices for the benefit of the people of the UK and the animals we all care so much about.”