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Testing household products on animals

We've long campaigned against the use of animals to test household products such as washing powder, cleaning fluids, air-fresheners, disinfectants and polishes. There are thousands of these products already available on the market, and there's absolutely no justification to cause animal suffering to develop more.

2015 ban on testing household products on animals

In March 2015, the UK Government announced it would introduce a ban on the testing of household products on animals. They also announced a 'qualified ban' on testing the ingredients on animals.

The household product testing ban is a good statement of principle, but it'll make little difference to animal welfare. This is because:

  • No animals have been used for this purpose in the UK since 2010.
  • There are significant concerns about how the 'qualified ban' on testing ingredients will be carried out. The 'qualified ban' includes chemicals where 'more than 50% is intended or expected to be used as ingredients in a household product' at the time of testing.
  • We're concerned about how these chemicals will be identified, and how such declarations will be verified, especially as the final 'end uses' of a chemical substance may be unclear at that stage. 
  • The Government has stated that the 'ban' will not prevent the testing of chemicals on animals if undertaken to satisfy other legislation such as the EU Chemicals Regulation (REACH).
  • Household product ingredients could still be tested on animals in the absence of any legal requirements at all, provided that the application passes a 'robust harm-benefit analysis'.

However, this announcement does show that the Home Office can choose to consider the need for a product when deciding whether to license safety tests using animals. We believe that this should always be the case.

We strongly believe that the need for each new product or substance should be taken into account for all chemicals, regardless of whether they're intended to be used in the home or elsewhere. This would have a far greater impact on reducing the use and suffering of laboratory animals.

Find out more about what we're doing to help lab animals and promote humane alternatives to animal testing.

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