Senate calls for total ban on animal testing

The Australian Senate has passed a motion urging the Government to fulfill its commitment to totally ban animal testing for cosmetics.

The motion, which was drafted following discussions between the Government and Humane Society International (HSI), was co-sponsored by Greens Senator Mehreen Faruqi, Labor Senator Helen Polley, Centre Alliance Senator Stirling Griff, Senator Derryn Hinch and Independent Senator Tim Storer.

In 2016, the Government make an election promise to ban animal testing for cosmetic products in Australia – and the sale of cosmetic products and ingredients that have been tested on animals outside of Australia – by July 2017.

The Industrial Chemicals Bill 2017 was introduced to Parliament last June but the Government has deferred the start of the ban until next July to help “regulated entities to adequately prepare for compliance with the new Australian Industrial Chemicals Introduction Scheme (AICIS)”.

Despite the delay numerous animal welfare advocates, including HSI and its #BeCrueltyFree Australia campaign partner Humane Research Australia, have welcomed the introduction of the Bill – but are concerned about “major loopholes” in the legislation.

In its current form, the Bill will ban the use of new animal test data but only if an ingredient is “solely” used in cosmetics. Therefore a company would be able to continue testing on animals if it could also find a non-cosmetics use for the ingredient (eg, in cleaning products).

#BeCrueltyFree Australia campaign coordinator Hannah Stuart said this is “a major loophole” as many ingredients can be used for multi-purposes.

“Testing the ingredients of cosmetics on living creatures is an unnecessary cruelty and it’s time Australia joined the nearly 40 countries that have already banned it,” she said.

“We welcome this motion as a reminder of the need to ensure that Australia’s proposed ban completely prohibits cosmetics cruelty, without exceptions, so that it fully reflects the will of the voting public, and the Government’s commitment to end cosmetic animal cruelty in our country.”

She said HSI would continue to work with the Government to address the shortcomings of the proposed ban and to “develop additional measures to ensure the ban prohibits the use of new animal test data for any and all cosmetic end uses, not just some”.

HSI estimates that around half a million animals – mainly rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, rats and mice – suffer and die in cruel and outdated tests of cosmetic ingredients or products each year around the world.

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