Animals were shown a lot of love this Valentine’s Day when the Australian Senate passed the Government's Industrial Chemicals Bills 2017, which included a provision to ban animal testing on chemicals used as ingredients in cosmetics. This means that Australia has finally joined the EU and the UK in effectively banning cosmetic animal testing in Australia.
While it’s widely accepted that Australia’s cosmetic industry doesn’t conduct animal testing, under these new measures the industry regulator won’t allow companies to use data gleaned from any animal testing conducted on or after July 1st 2020 when introducing a new chemical or ingredient to their products.
For too long the beauty industry has relied on outdated and questionable animal testing methods that have well-known scientific limitations. This is because different species can respond differently from each other (and importantly, differently from humans) when exposed to the same chemicals. This means that results from animal tests may not be relevant to humans because they under- or over-estimate a certain ingredient’s hazard to humans.
Animals subjected to cosmetic testing include rabbits, guinea pigs, mice, and rats. Testing methods include chemicals being rubbed onto shaved skin or dripped into eyes, repeated oral force-feeding studies lasting weeks or months to look for signs of general illness or specific health hazards (such as cancer or birth defects), and even widely condemned “lethal dose” tests in which animals are forced to swallow massive amounts of a test chemical to determine the dose that causes death. These tests cause considerable pain and distress including blindness, swollen eyes, burns, internal bleeding, organ damage, birth defects, convulsions and death. Pain relief is not provided to these animals and at the end of a test the animals are killed, typically by asphyxiation, neck-breaking or decapitation.
“The ban has been designed so there will be no incentive to conduct animal tests to meet the information requirements for introduction of chemicals used solely in cosmetics in Australia,” said Brian Quinlan from the Department of Health. The future of product testing lies in non-animal testing that focuses on how chemicals and drugs affect humans (rather than animals) and this new law will only permit safety data from testing on industrial chemicals that are for sole use in cosmetics if that testing is not performed on animals.
This ban is a huge win for the animals and an important step towards banning animal testing in all industries, worldwide. Here at Professional Beauty Solutions we’re proud to be a cruelty free company whose brands have never tested on animals and are not sold in countries where animal testing is compulsory. We’re excited to be a part of the growing cruelty free movement and look forward to watching animal testing become a thing of the past!