Animal testing ban will 'stifle innovation’ and ‘threaten’ Australian beauty industry

By Lucy Whitehouse

- Last updated on GMT

Animal testing ban will 'stifle innovation’ and ‘threaten’ Australian beauty industry

Related tags Animal testing Cosmetics

The incoming ban on animal testing poses a specific threat to cosmetics testing in Australia, according to the Australian Society of Cosmetics Chemists (ASCC).

The ASCC notes that as a body, it aligns itself with the idea that no animal testing should be conducted on cosmetics and, in the meantime, supports the minimisation of animal testing and hunt for alternative testing methods.

However, according to the group, the current regulatory requirements in Australia mean that should a ban come into place, innovation and trade will suffer.

Speaking against the recent commitment by the country’s coalition government​ to introduce a ban next year, the industry body notes that such a ban would be in direct opposition to the existing requirement from the Federal Department of Health - NICNAS that all existing and new chemicals imported for use in Australia undergo a degree of animal testing to ensure safety.

Until this regulatory requirement is overcome,” ASCC explains, “the creation of legislation to ban animal testing in Australia will be mutually exclusive with this requirement.”

Cutting off innovation and trade

Such a move, the industry body believes, will “cause great hardship to the cosmetic industry in Australia, stifling innovation and threatening the industry as it currently stands."

“Some of our major trading partners still require animal testing on finished products (eg China) and any ban would see future export business cancelled as a consequence​,” the ASCC confirms.

The group also highlights that any attempt to make the animal testing ban retrospective will force the removal of all cosmetic products from the market, since all cosmetics ingredients in use in Australia have been tested on animals.

Solution suggestion?

The ASCC suggests that a potential way to implement the ban while still fostering innovation in Australia’s beauty industry would be to approve all chemicals which other major markets have already approved to be safe.

This will immediately increase the estimated available raw materials in Australia from 40,000 to approximately 120,000 raw materials and may allow innovation over the next five to ten years until science catches up (ie. until we have a complete set of new alternatives to animal testing).”

The body notes that there are many practical implementation issues that need to be addressed before the ban comes into place, and suggests that ensuring the industry is still able to innovate freely should be a top priority.

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