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In November 2015 the UK Government implemented a policy ban on the testing of household products on animals.
The ban was a culmination of a 2010 Coalition Government pledge to end the testing of household products and their ingredients on animals; after decades of calls for an end to this unnecessary use of animals in consumer product testing.
The policy only served to ban testing finished household products on animals. The individual chemical ingredients that make up the content of those products, however, can still be legally tested on animals. Faced with government inaction, the responsibility falls to representatives of the household products cleaning sector to ensure that companies in their sector do everything they can to avoid animal suffering.
Here’s what the ban actually means:
- If less than half the amount of a chemical will be used in household products, it can still be tested on animals.
- Household product chemicals can still be tested on animals for regulatory purposes.
- If the commissioning company gives a really good reason, the chemical can be tested on animals. But the Government will not specify what those reasons might be.
Confused? You’re not alone. In essence, household product ingredients can still be tested on animals in the United Kingdom.
What is a ‘Household Product'?
For the purposes of the policy ban, ‘finished Household Products’ are defined as:
“Household Products are those bought by the general public for use in the domestic home and garden. They include, but are not limited to, detergents, polishes and cleaning products, laundry products, household cleaners, air fresheners, toilet cleaners, descalants, deodorisers, adhesives, paints and varnishes, sealants, caulks and other decorating materials.
This definition does not apply to:
- Biocides, pesticides and plant protection products;
- Food contact materials, food and feeding stuffs, medical products and medical devices;
- Cosmetics (as they are subjects to other restrictions on the use of animal testing);
- Products intended to be used in an industrial or institutional setting or by professionals; and,
- Packaging or delivery systems e.g. pump sprays etc., unless these are inherent parts of the household product.”
How many animals are tested on for household product ingredients in the UK?
The very latest government statistics published in July 2020, stated that in 2019, there were still 67 experimental procedures which involved the testing of household product ingredients. Of the 67 animals, 26 rats were used in procedures that were assessed as mild, 37 rats were used in procedures that were moderate, and 4 mice and 4 rats were used in procedures that were assessed as severe.
This is a very welcome reduction in numbers from the 397 animals reported in the 2018 statistics. Naturewatch Foundation will continue to press for further reduction and wholesale replacement for non-animal methods
We’re campaigning to end the testing of household product ingredients on animals in the UK – for good. We’re sick of waiting for the Government to change the laws to protect animals. Where they are failing animals, we will demand change as consumers. Here’s what you can do:
- Sign up to our newsletter to be among the first to hear about our campaigns and help lead the way to a cruelty-free UK.
- Help our campaign. The more support we have for the cruelty-free UK, the quicker we will get there.
- Become a compassionate consumer. Confused about household products and their animal testing policies? We’ve done the research for you. Get your own Compassionate Shopping Guide and start today!