The UK government will follow EU laws to allow the use of animal testing for cosmetics for the first time in 25 years. Despite wide condemnation from makeup brands and animal rights groups, a High Court ruling concluded that the government was acting legally and aligns with a similar change within the EU.
"We are pleased that the High Court has agreed with the Government's position in this case. The government is committed to the protection of animals in science,” a Home Office spokesperson said, talking to the BBC.
In a letter written by Cruelty Free International, over 80 makeup brands condemn the UK leadership for a “missed opportunity” in preventing needless animal testing for purely cosmetic purposes.
The UK was the first nation to impose a ban on cosmetics and cosmetic ingredients from being used in animal testing in 1998, paving the way for similar legislation by the EU; in 2004 for finished makeup, and ingredients in 2009.
However, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) subsequently imposed Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation, and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulations on makeup ingredients in 2020, forcing companies to test them on “hundreds of thousands of animals” to ensure they are safe for workers. Now, the UK government looks to follow their decision.
The brands themselves state that the approach is archaic and does not accurately reflect the technological advances that have been made since the original ban, including in vitro testing (for example, using mini-tissues and organoids) and computer modeling to simulate drug interactions. Instead, regulatory bodies are reverting back to methods that may not be necessary nowadays.
They also claim that the move does not reflect brand and public opinion, which is largely in favor of removing animal testing from cosmetics.
The government states that the policy will now reflect existing laws and that the move is entirely legal.