National Anti-vivisection Society


National Antivisection Society

Kick animal testing out of the house: The Campaign

Posted: 22 April 2008

The NAVS campaign aims to end all testing related to the manufacture of household products – ingredients and finished products.

This follows the successful campaign to end the testing of cosmetics and their ingredients on animals, where bans were secured first in the UK and then phased out Europe-wide (a process that is still ongoing). The NAVS remains active pressing to ensure that the timetable to end all cosmetics testing on animals in Europe is met. In the most recent statistics 5,571 animals were used in cosmetics tests in Europe – 5,496 in France and 75 in Spain. This is a reminder of the need to keep up the pressure, but also highlights the drop from circa 30,000 animals per year from just a few years ago.

The NAVS is campaigning for action at the following levels:

  • Manufacturers / retailers
  • National Government
  • European Parliament

The campaign is also being launched in the USA by Animal Defenders International.

Manufacturers and Retailers

We are pressing companies for a commitment:

  • Not to test or commission animal tests for their finished products.
  • Not to test or commission animal tests for the ingredients they use.
  • Not to purchase animal tested ingredients.
  • To clearly label products “Not Tested on Animals” when this is the case.

The Background to Animal Testing Policies

It was the NAVS that persuaded companies like the Body Shop many years ago to adopt the ‘Fixed Cut Off Date’ – the strongest ingredient testing policy, which meant that the company would not use ingredients in its product that had been tested after a certain date (e.g. 1976). This policy replaced the ‘Rolling Five Years’ – which allowed companies to describe their products as ‘not tested on animals’ if the ingredients had been tested more than five years earlier. NAVS pointed out that this policy was in fact allowing the continued use of animal tested ingredients, because the manufacturer simply had to wait five years before incorporating a new ingredient in their finished product.

Unfortunately, many ingredients have been routinely animal tested in the past, and this fact is often out of the hands of the companies buying ingredients for their finished products. So the ‘Fixed Cut Off Date’ policy helps manufacturers of finished products to avoid buying ingredients tested after the Fixed Date. This means that animal testing is not perpetuated, but a company can buy older ingredients that have been in circulation for some time, which are no longer tested on animals.

How will this work for Household Products?

In a similar way to the changes made for cosmetics testing, there are some chemical ingredients for household products that have been in use for some time, and whose safety has been established.

However, the situation for household products became more complicated recently, when the new European chemical testing programme (REACH) was introduced, because this new legislation is making the re-testing of hundreds of chemicals compulsory. Although our campaigns against the REACH testing proposals have managed to reduce the amount of animal testing dramatically, and ensured the introduction of non-animal testing methods, there will still be some animal testing of old ingredients, which have been around for many years.

So with household products we need to work for a ban in two parts, on the finished products and then on the ingredients (some of which will be drawn under the REACH regulations). NAVS is researching the impact that compulsory testing under REACH (the EU chemicals Directive) will have on test policies in relation to chemicals used in household products.

© National Anti-Vivisection Society