Less than a year after its election promise to ban the sale of cosmetics tested on animals in Australia from this July, the Federal Government has delayed the introduction of the legislation for another 12 months.

Nonetheless the Government’s budget commitment to provide $2.1 million to implement the ban has been cautiously welcomed by #BeCrueltyFree Australia, an international campaign by Humane Research Australia and Humane Society International  to end cosmetics animal testing.

#BeCrueltyFree Australia campaign coordinator Hannah Stuart said that major loopholes in the planned legislation “risk gutting the Coalition’s commitment to ending cosmetics cruelty”.

“Using live animals to cruelly test new ingredients for cosmetics such as hair dyes and skin cream is ethically unjustified, so we are pleased to see the government providing funding for their 2016 election commitment to ban cosmetics cruelty,” she said, “but if the loopholes are not addressed by government, the majority of cosmetic products entering the Australian market could still contain newly animal-tested ingredients.”

The first “loophole” identified by #BeCrueltyFree Australia limits the ban to ingredients used exclusively for cosmetics although only a small minority of substances are used exclusively as cosmetic ingredients, while the second allows new animal test data created for another purpose to be used to register cosmetics products and ingredients.

According to Stuart, allowing the use of new animal test data, initially created for a different purpose, to be subsequently used for a cosmetic product, “would create a loophole so large as to render a ban all but meaningless”. “Such exceptions would mean that cosmetic products containing newly animal tested ingredients would still be allowed to be sold in Australia,” she said. #BeCrueltyFree Australia has made a detailed submission to the Government outlining why the loopholes are unnecessary and inconsistent with both the Coalition’s commitment to a ban and cosmetics animal testing bans implemented around the world.

The global #BeCrueltyFree campaign was launched in 2012, and cosmetics animal testing and/or trade bans are now in place throughout the European Union, Israel, Norway, India, New Zealand and Turkey, with similar legislative measures under development in the United States, Brazil, Canada, Taiwan, Argentina and Russia.