The plan follows several years of in-country lobbying to modernise regulations and is a step in the right direction; however, none of the proposals have yet been agreed, and must next be reviewed by the MFDA, Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning as part of a consultation period before being finalised.
One such group that has been lobbying for the changes along with others, Humane Society International, warns that reports of a South Korean ban on animal testing for cosmetics are premature.
“MAFRA’s Five Year Plan is certainly progress, and a sign that HSI’s several years of lobbying for increased alternatives funding and replacement of animals in toxicology testing is starting to have a real impact,” says Claire Mansfield, HSI’s #BeCrueltyFree Campaigns Director.
“But it would be premature to claim a victory for animals used to test cosmetics just yet, as no bans have actually been finalised let alone implemented.”
Significant questions also remain about the impact of suggested cosmetics test ban because in practice finished product animal testing has already been phased out in Korea, no timeline has been suggested for an ingredients testing ban, and it remains unclear whether or not the bans would be contingent on the availability of non-animal alternative methods.
Borami Seo, #BeCrueltyFree Korea campaigner, adds: “Cosmetics companies are all too aware that finished product animal testing isn’t happening here in Korea, so a ‘ban’ on such testing would have no impact on them day to day.”
Mansfield says that what is needed now is a ban on animal testing of cosmetics ingredients and that the proposed ban is formally agreed.
“There is a danger in congratulating industry and policy makers too soon before they’ve actually delivered meaningful change for animals, so we’d advise being cautious but we certainly have encouraging signs,” she says.