Cruelty Free International recently accused the U.K. Home Office of secretly abandoning a cosmetic animal testing ban in 2019 based on recently released court documents. The organization therefore called on Home Secretary Suella Braverman MP to reinstate the 1998 ban (case number CO/3748/21).
Per the group, a U.K. High Court judge ruled that the office is able to reinstate the ban; although per the Cosmetic, Perfumery and Toiletry Association (CTPA), the ban has always remained in place (see CTPA Responds, below).
We understand that you will be concerned about whether the ban on animal testing for cosmetics in the UK could be changing, but this is absolutely not the case."
Braverman had reportedly argued that she was bound by a law originating in the EU to authorize such testing but had, per Cruelty Free International, publicly stated that the animal testing ban was still in place. The recent legal case is said to have forced the government's admission.
That said, the judge has ruled that the abandonment of the policy, though done in secret, is legal. Cruelty Free International is appealing the case to the Court of Appeal.
Cruelty Free International chief executive Michelle Thew said, "It is outrageous that the government has abandoned the ban on using animals in cosmetics testing, and did so in secret while giving the impression that the policy remained in place. Documents the Home Office was forced to disclose in the case show clearly that it was prioritizing the interests of contract-testing companies over those of animals and the wishes of the vast majority of British people who are strongly opposed to cosmetics testing. Now that the High Court has said it can do so, we call on the government immediately to reinstate the policy ban.”
Reacting to these allegations, the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association (CTPA) responded in a statement:
These strict bans remain in place and will continue to be a key part of the UK cosmetics law, whether or not a product makes a ‘not tested on animals’ or ‘cruelty-free' claim.”
"You may have heard reports about a recent UK High Court ruling on a judicial review of the Home Office’s policy on animal testing in the UK, brought by Cruelty Free International (CFI). CTPA, which represents the UK cosmetics industry, is disappointed by the media reporting of this ruling which suggests that animal testing of cosmetic products may be allowed again. We understand that you will be concerned about whether the ban on animal testing for cosmetics in the UK could be changing, but this is absolutely not the case."
Emma Meredith, Ph.D., Director-General of CTPA said, "I am extremely disappointed by the media reports covering the recent High Court Ruling on animal testing, which suggest animal testing for cosmetic products and their ingredients could be resumed in the UK. This is absolutely not the case. Animal testing on cosmetic products has been banned in the UK since the late 90s and these strict bans remain in place and will continue to be a key part of the UK cosmetics law, whether or not a product makes a ‘not tested on animals’ or ‘cruelty-free' claim.”
The CTPA statement continued: "[The] CTPA and the cosmetics industry fully and wholeheartedly supports the ban on animal testing of cosmetic products and their ingredients in the UK. These bans have been in place for many years and CTPA ensured they remained in the UK cosmetics laws when the UK left the EU.
"The ruling centered around a complaint made by an organization that the Home Office had not communicated clearly on the fact that it had aligned with an EU court ruling in 2020. This EU ruling confirmed that in some case, chemicals used in cosmetics may be tested on animals as a last resort, to prove their safety for workers or the environment for the purposes of a chemicals law called REACH.
"The UK High Court Ruling dismissed the complaint. The UK High Court ruling does not override the important Cosmetics Regulation bans on animal testing. CTPA has sought reassurance from the Home Office, and a Government spokesperson confirmed: 'There has been no change in our legislation and the ban on using animals for the testing of finished cosmetic products remains in force.'"