UK Animal Testing Numbers Plummet

Thanks to the development of new non-animal testing methods, as well as increased awareness of the drawbacks of animal testing, animal testing in the United Kingdom has reached its lowest level of the past 12 years. According to PharmaTimes, the number of experiments performed on animals in 2018 was down 7 percent from 2017. Nonetheless, the United Kingdom still has a long way to go before animal testing becomes a thing of the past.

Breaking Down the Numbers

The decrease in animal testing comes as good news for most interested parties, including the government of the United Kingdom and anyone who opposes animal cruelty. With millions of tests performed each year, a decrease of 7 percent is significant. In addition, seeing animal tests at the lowest level in a decade is encouraging.

Although the number of animals being subjected to tests in the UK has fallen considerably. In fact, PharmaTimes reports that there were approximately 3.52 million procedures performed on animals in Scotland, England and Wales during 2018. While some of these procedures were performed for academic research, others were performed to test specific products, such as cosmetics.

Why Are Animal Tests Still Common?

In spite of the recent decrease in animal testing, the UK still performs more tests on lab animals than most of the rest of Europe. For some people, this trend is perplexing. Researchers in the United Kingdom have access to other testing methods that could replace animal testing. In addition, these methods are just as affordable and more effective than animal tests.

Nonetheless, animal testing persists.

One of the reasons United Kingdom researchers continue to test on animals is simply habit. Animal tests have been used for so long that some labs are reluctant to explore other methods. Another reason often cited by proponents of animal testing has to do with concerns about accuracy. Researchers worry that the alternative to animal testing won’t provide as much information as an animal test. For example, cosmetic companies that want to know whether a product will irritate the eyes may prefer to use animals because they believe the results will translate more effectively to a human population.

Moving to Better Methods

In 2010, the United Kingdom’s government made a commitment to reduce the country’s usage of animals for the purpose of scientific research. Since then, progress has been made. Many cosmetic companies have embraced new methods and technologies that can provide the same or better results than animal tests without subjecting to harming animals. Unfortunately, some cosmetic companies remain skeptical of these methods and hesitant to adopt them.

In order to increase the adoption of alternatives to animal testing in the United Kingdom and other locations, education and innovation are key. Academic organizations and for-profit companies need to be aware of the alternatives available to them. It is also important to spread awareness of animal testing weaknesses. Specifically, animal models fail more often than they succeed, which leads to inaccurate results.

This is dangerous regardless of the situation, whether the researcher is investigating the safety of a new product or trying to understand the progress of a certain disease.

The United Kingdom has made progress with regard to the use of animal testing, but improvements can still be made. Fortunately, the field of non-animal testing is evolving with new technologies becoming available all the time. As more technologies are developed, it is likely that the adoption of non-animal testing methods will become more widespread, not only in the United Kingdom but all around the world.

Cosmetics Tested on Animals Banned in Illinois Come 2020

With the amendment of The Illinois Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, or SB 241, Illinois is now the third U.S. state to ban the sale and import of cosmetics if the products were tested on animals. This ban also applies to any ingredients or research and development processes that conduct animal testing at any stage of the development process. Governor Pritzker signed the bill into law on August 9, 2019, making the ban effective for all cosmetic sales on and after January 1, 2020.

Products that have been tested on animals may be sold prior to this cutoff date but any remaining products must be recalled come 2020. Violators will be fined $5,000 initially then $1,000 per day that animal testing, or the sales of products tested on animals, continues and will be enforced by the state attorney.
Contrary to popular belief, there is no federal ban on animal testing in cosmetics. The practice is banned in more than 30 countries but in America, the practice is left up to regulation at the state level. California became the first state to ban sales of products developed using animal testing in 2018, and Nevada followed suit earlier in 2019. Following the model for California’s “humane cosmetics” legislation, Illinois is also providing incentives for cosmetics companies to switch to alternative research and development methods that avoid animal testing while remaining innovative and competitive.

Historically, the main purpose of animal testing has been to test whether or not cosmetic products are safe for humans to use. Animal rights activists and concerned consumers have been advocating for a federal ban on animal testing in cosmetics since animals are frequently subjected to painful tests and killed after experiments are conducted. The Draize test, where ingredients are dropped into rabbits’ eyes, are tested on animals’ bare skin, and some ingredients are even force-fed to rats. Animal rights groups have pointed out that these methods are harmful to animals and that there are other non-animal testing alternatives that can be used.

Cell cultures and donated human tissue have been used in medical research, drug testing, and cosmetic testing as non-animal alternatives to lab tests.

With more open discussions from researchers, there has been more pushback on animal testing than ever before. Scientists and consumers have shown concern that animal testing is cruel, expensive, and not as accurate or relevant to human. Computer, or in silico, modeling has also been proposed for replacing animal testing since today’s computer models can closely simulate human biology to get more accurate indicators of chemical reactions.

Consumer pushback alone has caused many leading cosmetics brands to change their product development inputs and processes, but consumers and activists have angled for legislative action to force companies to curtail animal testing. With California’s legislative victory effectively halting several million dollars of sales for cosmetics that use animal testing, it has prompted other states to adopt similar legislation and put a stop to the practice if cosmetics brands want to stay in business.

Regulations for Animal Alternative Testing in the Cosmetic Industry

The cosmetic industry is always looking for more innovative ways to test their products — preferably methods that don’t require the use of animals. Alternative approaches like in-vitro, human tissue and computer models tend to be less expensive and certainly easier to manage.

Cosmetics are an international commodity, so often the regulations come from outside the U.S. such as via the European Directive. The U.S. would establish rules about importing these products, though.

Testing for Acute Toxicity
EU requires cytotoxicity tests done to determine the potential of a product to cause skin irritation. The test is completed using cultured human or mammalian cell lines to pinpoint toxicity at the cellular level.

The tests required include:
• Neutral Red Uptake (NRU, NRR)
• MTT assay
• Microscopical LiveDead Test

Testing for Skin Irritation and Corrosion
The EU also requires specific tests to ensure there is no skin inflammation or irreversible skin corrosion. The required skin inflammation test is: Reconstructed human epidermis (RhE) test method (OECD 439).

Testing for skin corrosion includes:
• Epidermal skin test (OECD 431)
• Some manufacturers may add the Membran Barrier Test – Corrositx test as well.

Eye Irritation and Corrosion Tests
The European Union requires testing to detect potential eye damage from chemicals in the cosmetic. This would include both irritation and irreversible corrosion.
These tests include:
• Bovine corneal opacity and permeability (BCOP)
• Determination of hemolytic activity using red blood cells
• Hen’s Egg Test (HET-CAM)

Phototoxicity tests determine if a product induces skin irritation called photo irritation, or damage to the skin when exposed to light. Similar to sunburn but caused by a chemical.

The test involves is the 3T3 Neutral Red Uptake (NRU, NRR) Mutagenicity

Mutagenicity tests identify genotoxic materials that may change or damage human DNA.
• Ames test Fluctuation and contact plate method
• Comet tests

These companies must also conduct tests to determine the biodegradability of the product.

Importing Cosmetics into the U.S.
All imports of cosmetics coming into the United States are subject to approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). If the cosmetic products are refused by the FDA then the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) cannot release them.

The process starts with the formal entry form CBP 301. Attached to the form should be an entry summary, bill of lading, bill of sale or invoice. The CBP broker must receive all documents at least five days before the arrival of the shipment.

The FDA works with the Customs and Border Protection agency to ensure all cosmetics undergo an examination before entering the country. The cosmetics must not show any signs of misbranding or mishandling.

During the exam, the FDA may do a random sample of the product, as well. The FDA alerts the CPB about trends in violations by the manufacturer, distributor or shipping agent. They issue import alerts for products that may contain drugs that are unapproved in the U.S. or that have a history of microbial contamination. They also check for a history of failure to meet U.S. requirements for additives or bovine tissue.

Color additives are the only ingredient of cosmetics that must be preapproved by the FDA before marketed. This is true for products produced domestically and internationally.

Australia’s Animal Testing Laws: A Good Start but Still Misses the Mark

Australian lawmakers have listened to the people and are taking definitive steps to end animal testing in the cosmetics industry.

But is it enough?

Animal welfare society, RSPCA Australia says that more than 85% of Australians are against testing cosmetic products on animals. So, what it really comes down to is, does the public think it is enough? Do Australians agree with these first steps into what is really uncharted territory?

For so many years, animal testing was accepted. People didn’t agree with this method, but they didn’t see any viable alternatives. In recent years, those who oppose animal testing on cosmetics have become increasingly vocal. But is it enough? Will it satisfy those who seek a cruelty-free cosmetics industry?
Some are saying it’s a good start, but there’s still work to be done. In short, it simply isn’t enough.

A long time coming.
The legislation, passed in March 2019, was not a quick decision. In the 2016 election campaign, the Coalition government made a commitment to introduce a ban that would end animal testing for cosmetics. This received a great deal of public support and the wheels were set in motion.
The Industrial Chemicals Bill 2017 was a portion of a six bill package that was aimed at establishing new national regulations for industrial chemicals. This one included a ban on animal testing for the chemicals that are used in creating cosmetics.

The bill was first introduced and read to the House of Representatives in June 2017. Throughout the rest of that year, it was reread, moved, and debated several times. It was moved to the Senate in October 2017.

Jump to February 2019 and the second reading of the bill moved to the Senate. After some consideration and discussion, it passed both houses in late February 2019 and it became official in March 2019.

It will go into effect on July 1, 2020.

What does this mean for the animals?

Mice, hamsters, rabbits, rats, and guinea pigs are some of the most common animals used in cosmetic testing. The chemicals are applied to the animals’ eyes or shaved skin.

The ban specifically prohibits the use of animals for testing ingredients in cosmetics products in Australia only – and only those tests that are for regulatory purposes. That is a rather narrow window.

It should be noted that animal testing itself is not banned, just for those purposes.

It also does not prevent the sale of products from other companies where animal testing may be the norm or even mandated by law. These products can still find their way into consumers’ hands as long as the company can satisfy the requirement for non-animal test data in the specified areas.

What does this mean for consumers?
Consumers who are concerned about purchasing products that have been tested on animals will have to seek companies that have stopped testing their products on animals and joined the #CrueltyFree movement.

Close but misses the mark
The new bill is a step in the right direction, but there is still work to be done.

When the bill goes into effect in July 2020, it will still be permissible for animals to be used to test ingredients for cosmetics when they are being assessed for worker safety, human health concerns, and environmental toxicity.

The bill will end animal testing, but only in one small area.

However, it is a good start.

As consumers continue to make their wishes known, companies are responding by taking steps to change their testing methods and are seeking alternatives that do not include or harm animals. In vitro is one of the most reliable, fastest, easiest non-animal testing methods available.

Does the #BeCrueltyFree Campaign Have the Power to Impact US Animal Testing Laws?

The #BeCrueltyFree campaign was launched in 2012 with the sole purpose of extending the European Union’s legal standard by banning cosmetic animal testing and the sale of newly animal-tested cosmetics. The campaign has been calling on both Congress and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to join this powerful and influential movement. The campaign recently attracted the attention of two huge brands, Avon and Unilever.

#BeCrueltyFree Campaign
• Lobbying politicians and governments to ban the use of animals in cosmetic testing
• Encouraging regulators to accept non-animal tests
• Mobilizing compassionate citizens through high profile campaigns
• Enlisting the support of Leaping Bunny certified cruelty free cosmetics companies

Unilever supports the U.S. Humane Cosmetics Act (HR 2790), by prohibiting domestic animal testing on cosmetic products, along with banning the sale of any cosmetic products that have been tested on animals after the effective date of the ban. This is consistent with standards set by the European Union.

Kathleen Scott, HSUS Vice President for Animal Research Issues, said: “We commend Unilever for making this commitment to ending cosmetic animal testing once and for all. We look forward to working with them to stop this unnecessary cruelty in the United States and across the globe and urge all cosmetics companies to join us in making cosmetic animal testing a thing of the past.”

Along with Unilever, Avon supports the ban on animal testing for cosmetics by backing Humane Society International on its #BeCrueltyFree initiative. Avon is also known to be the first major cosmetics company to end animal testing 30 years ago. It’s collaboration with partners around the world, including advocacy organizations and NGOs help accelerate the adoption of non-animal testing methods. By supporting the movement, Avon has also committed to the Non-Animal Cosmetic Safety Assessment Collaboration (NACSA). While #BeCrueltyFree aims to prevent animal testing on cosmetics through legislation, the NACSA promotes viable low-cost alternatives to animal testing.

Proctor & Gamble announced its partnership with the #BeCrueltyFree campaign. P&G invested $420 million into animal testing alternatives over the past 40 years. Their commitment to this cause is to “finally move proposed cosmetic animal testing bans into law in the United States, Canada, Brazil, Chile, South Africa and other influential markets.”

As of now, the U.S. has no national law prohibiting the use of animal for cosmetic testing. The #BeCrueltyFree campaign aims to end cruel animal tests on cosmetics and take action on protecting animals. According to Cruelty Free International, multiple opinion polls show that the American public overwhelmingly supports animal testing alternative methods and believe that testing on animals is unethical.

Through a combination of advocacy, corporate pressure, and public support, this campaign may influence U.S. testing laws for the better. We at InVitro International fully supports these efforts on finding non-animal testing alternatives on cosmetics. Whether it’s for the cosmetic industry or beyond, we’re here to open doors to companies around the world.

Colombia Set to End Animal Testing For Cosmetics

The Plenary of the House of Representatives in Colombia unanimously voted on passing the bill of law 120/2018. The bill forbids animal testing in cosmetic and personal care products either imported into or manufactured in the country. If passed, the interdiction would come into force in one year’s time.
The bill was introduced to the Colombian Congress in August of 2018 by House Representative Juan Carlos Losada. Mr. Juan Carlos Losada has long been an advocate of the ethical treatment of animals. He was a renowned journalist and political analyst prior to joining the Colombia Congress and most recently was a designated speaker at the World Forum for Ethics in Business.

The category of products encompassed in the bill are cosmetics, cleaning products and absorbents used in diapers and feminine hygiene products that are manufactured in Colombia or imported or exported to and from Colombia.

Details of the Colombian Ban on Animal Testing Legislation
The specific provisions of the proposed legislation include:

• Tests using animals are prohibited during research, development, and commercialization of categorized products.
• All categorized products that are produced, traded, imported or exported into and out of Colombia must bear a seal that states, “Not tested on animals.”
• The Colombian government shall generate incentives to support the exportation and commercialization of categorized products that are not tested on animals.
• The Colombian government shall generate incentives to support scientific research programs that develop alternative testing models to facilitate the avoidance of using animals as testing subjects.

The next stage of the bill will move to the Senate. It will go through two debate sessions before being put to a final vote. If passed, the bill would become an enforceable law and Colombia would be the first Latin American nation to ban animal testing on cosmetics. “Colombia is taking its first steps to becoming a leader in Latin America and banning cosmetics testing on animals. With advanced alternatives available and currently in use around the world, this historic bill should pass at the earliest opportunity,” says Jan Creamer, President of Animal Defenders International.

Colombia is set to join a league of almost 40 nations that have already legislated against animal testing for cosmetics.

There are many alternatives to animal testing available with better efficiency than tests involving rodents, cats, dogs and/or chimps. We at InVitro International offer three different product testing services that do not involve animal testing of any kind: Irritection® Assay System, the Corrositex® test, and the Ocular/ Dermal Irritection® Assay System. We also offer custom technological services that adhere to non-animal testing requirements. If you are seeking products or technology to help you manage ethical ingredient or product testing for your business, please contact us.

Two Non-animal Safety Tests: Cell Tissue and Test Tube Method

Since the 1940s, researchers have used the Draize rabbit skin test to determine the potential of a particular chemical to irritate human skin. In the Draize skin test, researchers shave a patch of the rabbit’s fur, apply the test substance and monitor the skin for up to 4 hours, and then monitor the skin for 14 days to look for signs of irritation or soreness. An organization known as the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) will classify a substance as an irritant if the chemical causes reversible damage to the skin, or as a corrosive if it burns the skin or causes permanent scarring.

Fortunately, we live in a time where there are better alternatives to using animals to predict skin irritation in people. Today, these alternatives include cell tissue and test tube methods.

Cell tissue and test tube methods accomplish similar goals – they both replace the use of animals in skin irritation testing.

Tests using cell tissue and test tubes provide quantitative results, which means the results are reported in a reliable, scientific way rather than relying on one person’s interpretation of how the animal’s skin looked.

About Cell Tissue and Test Tube Methods for Measuring Potential Irritation

Skin tissue testing

Cell skin tissue comes from normal human skin. Scientists culture the human cells in specialized media, where the cells form a 3-dimensional reconstruction of real human skin. This test skin closely resembles normal human skin both biochemically and structurally, consisting of multiple layers of cells. This tissue even has the layer of dead cells on its surface, known as the stratum corneum, which creates a protective barrier from irritants and corrosive substances. These properties make cell tissue suitable for use in irritation and toxicity tests.

Research shows that test tissue grown in the lab performs better than rabbit testing when it comes to predicting which substances will irritate human skin. In one study, researchers used cell skin to test 16 chemicals classified as irritants using the rabbit model and found that only five of the chemicals actually irritated human skin. Superior test results means that manufacturers can bring more products to the market with less risk of causing irritation to consumers.

Test tube methods

Test tube methods, also known as in vitro tests, use glass vials and other scientific equipment to test a chemical’s irritancy and corrosive potential to human skin. These methods produce reliable, verifiable results that help researchers distinguish irritating ingredients from non-irritating and non-corrosive ingredients without cruel experiments using animals.

In vitro test tube methods typically involve mixing the chemical in question together with other solvents inside a glass test tube; the resulting solution will turn a specific color according to its potential for causing irritation.

Test tube methods can replace the rabbit test when measuring a chemical’s corrosiveness to human skin by providing a reliable means of mimicking the rabbit test. Such methods can help researchers distinguish toxic from non-toxic chemicals without cruel experiments using animals. Unlike animal testing methods that can take 4 to 8 weeks for results, test tube methods provide results in a much shorter time – usually just a few minutes up to an hours. Research shows they can be more accurate than rabbit testing too.

Cell tissue grown in the lab and test tube methods provide better results when predicting skin irritation and corrosion in humans. These tests can also save thousands of rabbits from painful irritation and skin corrosion tests each year.

Australia Passes Ban of Cosmetic Testing on Animals

Australia Bans Animal Testing

The Australian Government Department of Health has announced that the country is committed to banning cosmetic testing on animals. The bill originated from the 2016 election campaign within the Australian government. However, government delays left the campaign promise unfulfilled and the compliance deadline of July 1, F2017 passed without the ban in place. The government called for another delay, of 12 months, that started in March 2018 and extended until March 2019.

That brings us to today when the Humane Society International came to an agreement with the Australian Senate regarding the animal ban. The HSI and the campaign for Humane Research Australia, #BeCrueltyFree Australia, were involved in the negotiations for the bill with the Liberal National Government.

In response to passing the bill, Deputy Leader of The Nationals Bridget McKenzie sent an official letter to the campaign manager for Be Cruelty Free Australia, Ms. Hannah Stuart, and the Humane Society International VP of Research and Toxicology Mr. Troy Seidle. Enclosed with the letter is the final set of commitments from the Australian government regarding the ban.

The ban is against the use of animal testing for chemicals used only for cosmetic ingredients. It also includes several points against the use and reliance of data that comes from animal testing research. By ending the use of data, countries can help eliminate the market for animal testing.

History of Animal Testing Bans

According to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), there are several countries that have placed blanket bans against animal testing. Germany was the first country to ban cosmetic testing on animals back in 1986. Then in 2013, the European Union banned the sale of any cosmetic beauty ingredient or product that was tested on animals. This was the final step in making the EU cosmetic marketplace totally cruelty-free.

One country that surprisingly still has not banned animal testing is the United States. However, the US is working to end animal testing and animal-tested cosmetics.

Learn More About Non-Animal Testing Services

If you are searching for products or technology to help you manage ingredient or product testing for your business, we can help. Here at InVitro International, we supply the Irritection Assay System, Corrositex chemical testing, and customized technology and lab testing services.

Could Ukraine be the Next Country to Ban Animal Testing on Cosmetics?

A recent announcement from the Ukrainian Ministry of Health has animal rights activists justifiably encouraged. The nation may be the next country in line to completely ban testing cosmetic products on animals, if trends continue in the direction that the government has recently set.

The Ministry of Health is attempting to bring its cosmetics laws in correspondence with the Cosmetics Regulation of the European Union. Among the laws in the regulation is a stoppage on cosmetic testing on animals.
Kerry Postlewhite, Director of Public Affairs for Cruelty Free International, welcomed the news that was first reported on the Ministry’s Facebook page.

One of the new technical regulations on cosmetics will increase the list of banned ingredients by a factor of three. As a result, producers will only be able to use UV filters, preservatives and coloring that are completely safe.

If future efforts move forward in the wake of the current announcement, European Union standards will serve as the basis of the Ukrainian norms in terms of regulation. The Healthcare Ministry has stated that it will consider the business community by providing a transit period for companies to switch over into the new regulations. The transit period will allow businesses in the Ukraine to continue development without hindrance and keep a level playing field in the market.

However, the Ministry’s decision to move forward could be stalled. According to the Ministry, Ukraine has not officially endorsed any alternative testing methods that are considered viable.

Ukrainian culture upholds a special respect for breeding and hunting dogs, as well as, caring for stray dogs. Many industry experts believe that the catalyst for the legislation came from the Ukrainian people, paying more attention to the issues of animal rights.

Ancillary initiatives include bills currently making their way through Parliament, which will consider many new concepts as legally appropriate. “Animal abuse,” “preparing dogs to go hunting”, and “injury of animals” are new phrases that are making their way through the legislative branch with punishments attached to them.

The two animal protection bills with the most support are No. 6598 and No. 8256. 6598 looks to amend a number of the Ukraine’s laws to better match EU standards on animal abuse. No. 8256 is the initiative to make it a crime to prepare a dog to hunt. 6598 has gone through legislative committee and is fully ready for consideration.

Recently, the Council chose not to consider it. 8256 has not been placed for consideration yet and is still waiting for its first exposure to the full Parliament.

The Growing Spotlight on Animal Testing and the Call for More Non-Animal Testing Methods

It seems that the cosmetic industry is getting a makeover. In light of recent industry leader concerns and consumer feedback, many beauty brands are moving away from animal testing and seeking out alternative methods.

Today’s consumer is more conscientious about not only what they are buying, but the sources of those products as well. There is a growing interest in companies that are “green”, and supporting social causes, such as, the #BeCrueltyFree movement. Interestingly, this is a significant concern for millennials as the generation becomes a large population of key players in the marketplace. Many companies have made more environmentally and socially conscious business practice decisions in response to millennial influence.

What is the Cruelty-Free Movement?

A common misconception about the cruelty-free movement is that all the products are vegan. This is not entirely accurate. A vegan product does not contain any animal products at all. Products under the cruelty-free movement may contain animal products like beeswax or honey, but those products are not tested on animals.

Another misconception is that a cruelty-free product does not use animal testing at any point in the supply chain. However, some companies that claim cruelty-free only apply it to the finished product.

Cruelty-free certifications like the Leaping Bunny certification allow qualifying companies to register with them. Once the certification has been provided, they can display the Leaping Bunny seal on their cruelty-free product labeling and advertising. To qualify, a company must be animal free across the entire supply chain.

Non-Animal Testing Methods as Viable Alternatives

As the cruelty-free movement has become more visible and active, a growing number of companies are looking at alternative methods to animal testing. Many of these alternatives have proven to be more accurate, more cost-effective, and much more scientifically relevant than animal testing. The significant genetic differences between animals and humans create a rather large variance in accuracy which can skew may results.

Some of the more common non-animal testing methods include:
• In vitro (test tube) testing
• Computer models and simulations
• Artificial human tissue testing

Companies that choose non-animal testing methods usually discover a number of surprising benefits for their decision. From results that impact their bottom line, to consumer approval, they often find that choosing to go with non-animal testing methods is a smart business decision.