Animal testing licences for makeup banned

The government has banned the issuing of licences for animal testing of chemicals used as ingredients in cosmetics products.

The government had allowed animal testing for makeup ingredients to resume despite a 25-year ban.

A recent court ruling said the government changed a policy on animal testing to align with EU chemical rules.

But Home Secretary Suella Braverman said no new licences will be granted.

A ban on animal testing for makeup ingredients was introduced in 1998 and is still in place, but the government said it changed policy to match rules in the European Union (EU).

In 2020, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), an EU agency which oversees chemical regulation, ruled that companies needed to test some ingredients used in cosmetics on animals to ensure they were safe for workers manufacturing the ingredients.

Earlier this month, it emerged that since 2019, the government had been issuing licences for animal testing of cosmetic ingredients in line with EU chemical rules, which it retained despite leaving the EU in 2020.

The news of continued testing on animals outraged some cosmetic brands and animal rights groups, which said the government had effectively lifted the ban.

In a written statement to Parliament, Ms Braverman said: "The government recognises the public concern around the testing on animals of chemicals used as ingredients in cosmetics, and the new opportunities available to us to depart from the EU testing regime.

"I can confirm, therefore, that from today no new licences will be granted for animal testing of chemicals that are exclusively intended to be used as ingredients in cosmetics products.

"The government is also engaging with the relevant companies to urgently determine a way forward on these legacy licences."

Ms Braverman said the EU chemical rules explained "why it has been possible that a chemical used in cosmetics production may be required to be tested on animals".

"This has been reflected in the issuing of a small number of time-limited licences between 2019 and 2022."

Ms Braverman said the government was reviewing how the ban on animal testing would work in practice over the longer term.

Animal rights and cosmetics groups welcomed the home secretary's statement.

Dr Penny Hawkins, head of the RSPCA's animals in science department, said the public were strongly against the use of animals to test cosmetics.

She cited RSPCA research, which shows that 76% of UK adults are very concerned about the use of animals in scientific research and testing.

"The outrage following the UK government's decision to quietly follow European Union chemical testing rules really reinforces just how important this issue is to the public and we are pleased that outcry has been listened to," Dr Hawkins said.

The Cosmetic Toiletry and Perfumery Association (CTPA) said the makeup industry "do not want any animal testing".

Dr Emma Meredith, director general of CTPA, said key industry stakeholders had met with the home secretary to discuss the government's action, adding "we support the clarity and reassurance that this new ban will provide to the public".