National Anti-vivisection Society


National Antivisection Society

Ban on household product animal tests a sham

Posted: 12 March 2015. Updated: 12 March 2015


A Government ban on the use of animals for household product tests announced today has been dismissed as a sham by the NAVS after it was revealed that the long-promised regulation will still allow animals to be used in tests on product ingredients.

The ban will prohibit the use of animals for testing finished household products, including bleach, washing detergent and floor polish, for which no animal experiments have actually been conducted in the past five years. Tests on animals for garden products such as pesticides will still be allowed, despite a pledge that they would be banned.

The announcement comes after almost five years of Government inaction on the matter and despite reassurances that ingredient tests would also be ended. The ban will come into effect from October 2015 and will apply to England, Scotland and Wales, but not Northern Ireland where Ministers have been unwilling to take action.

The Government pledged to “end the testing of household products on animals” in 2010. In a statement to MPs the following year, Home Office Minister Lynne Featherstone said that any ban “will apply to both finished household products and their ingredients, although in practice mainly the latter are tested”.

Making the announcement this morning Minister Lynne Featherstone said, “I can today announce the Government’s intention to ban the testing of household products in animals with a qualified ban on the testing of ingredients which are primarily intended for use in household products.”

Under the conditions of the announcement made today it will still be possible to test, with the approval of the Minister, household product ingredients either for an innovative benefit or in line with European chemical testing rules.

The Home Office has been deciding which household products to include for some time. The rules will apply to products including 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, but will not apply to pesticides and biocides.

There is widespread support for the ban to include ingredients. A recent Mori poll found that just 8% of the population think that testing of household product ingredients should be allowed in the UK. Shortly after the pledge was announced in 2010 more than 140 MPs from all parties signed a motion in the House of Commons calling for ingredients to be included.

Britain has had a ban on animal tests for cosmetics since the late 90s, both for finished products and ingredients. Non-animal methods are used and are available for household products too.

While the Home Office has been considering a household products ban, Croatia, India and Israel have all taken action, with bans there also extending to ingredients.

The NAVS will be monitoring the situation closely to see how the ban will work in practice.

Take action

  • Make sure your household products are cruelty-free
  • Ask your MP and local candidates where they stand on the issue and urge them to back measures to end the use of animals in all household product tests

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