IAVS welcomes Government action on illegal
animal-tested cosmetics

The Irish Anti-Vivisection Society has warmly welcomed a Government pledge to check that cosmetics on sale in Ireland comply with an international animal testing ban.

Over the past four years, new EU laws to ban animal-tested cosmetics have been phased in. However, the IAVS has expressed concerns about the Irish Government’s enforcement of these prohibitions on unnecessary cruelty to animals.

Information about any animal testing of chemicals in cosmetics must be included in a compulsory ‘Product Information File’ [PIF].  But because these files are kept secret from the public, it is very difficult to know whether cosmetics companies are complying with the ban. Furthermore, previously there has been little evidence that the Government has been checking the PIFs to ensure cosmetics on sale in Ireland are lawful.

For example, a recent letter from the Health Service Executive, who were responsible for the enforcement of the animal testing ban until October 2010, admitted: “We have no record of any cosmetic products being surveyed in relation to animal testing”. This raises serious concerns for the IAVS about the historic commitment and effectiveness of the Government’s law enforcement.

The aims of the EU animal testing ban are:

  1. to protect animals from cruel and unethical treatment – i.e. poisoning for trivial purposes
  2. to stimulate the development of superior, non-animal alternatives for toxicity testing methods

The IAVS therefore considers it absolutely imperative that this law is properly enforced.

With the final stage to complete the animal testing ban coming into force on 11 March 2013, the IAVS has been lobbying the Irish Medicines Board – which succeeded the Health Services Executive as enforcer of the ban – and Government Ministers to ensure it is thoroughly implemented. In particular, we have requested that the Government take pro-active steps to check cosmetics, with a particular focus on any brand new chemicals as they are the most likely to break the animal testing ban. We have also alerted the IMB to the possibility of fraudulent misclassification of cosmetics ingredients as intended for another purpose, such as for pharmaceuticals or industrial chemicals, for which animal testing is still permitted.

We are pleased to announce that the Government has now provided new reassurances about their plans for pro-active enforcement of the animal testing ban. These appear to signal a significant step up in the Government’s efforts to tackle illegal and unnecessary cruelty to animals.

Minister of State at the Department of Health, Alex White TD, in a response to questions tabled by Maureen O’ Sullivan TD, announced:

“The IMB will be pro-actively reviewing PIFs [product information files] over the next 12 months for compliance with the implementation of the full animal testing ban as part of a pre-planned surveillance programme.”

The IAVS welcomes Minister White’s commitment to the animal testing ban and we look forward to working with the Department of Health and the IMB on this critical issue. 

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