When I mention lab animals, nearly everybody assumes that I’m talking about torturing innocent creatures – shampoo in bunnies’ eyes – but it’s not so. Here in Britain and elsewhere in Europe, that kind of thing has been illegal for years already.
The not-for-profit Understanding Animal Research (UAR) explains. ‘It has been illegal to test finished cosmetics on animals in the UK since 1998, and animal testing of ingredients that may be used in cosmetics has been illegal across Europe since 2009. From March 2013 it has been illegal to import and sell cosmetics that have been tested on animals outside the EU.’
Wendy Jarrett of UAR says, ‘It is clear that we must do more to explain how and why animal research is conducted in the UK. Animals are used for a wide variety of scientific and medical studies, such as mouse breeding programmes to study genetics and for developing human and animal medicines. Almost all the medicines that doctors and vets have available to them today were developed and tested using animals. But animals are not used for testing cosmetics and have not been used in this way in the UK for the past 15 years. There is a risk that well-intentioned members of the public oppose animal research because they mistakenly think this means cosmetics testing.’