The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) and animal advocates are expressing their disappointment over a government statement that demonstrates its failure to uphold a pledge to end animal testing for household products.
Home Office Minister Lynne Featherstone called testing for household products “unacceptable” and officially announced the intention to ban testing for products in 2011, which received widespread public and political support.
Initially, Featherstone stated the ban was supposed to include “products that are primarily intended for use in the home, including detergents and other laundry products, household cleaners, air-fresheners, toilet blocks, polishes, paper products such as infant nappies, paints, glues (and removers), other furnishing and DIY products and household pesticides.”
When asked about the issue last year, the government stated that it would ban testing for finished products and their ingredients, and a recently published revision of animal testing legislation in the UK stated that no product licenses would be granted for testing household products.
Unfortunately, now no one seems to be able to legally define “household products.”
“I am incredibly disappointed that despite a clear pledge made in 2010 to ban the use of household product testing on animals, the Government has failed to provide a clear definition of what constitutes a household product. Given that the previous Minister accepted that most of these experiments take place on ingredients rather than finished products, a ban which does not explicitly include ingredients in its definition of household products is effectively worthless and will mean animals needlessly continue to suffer,” said Kerry McCarthy Labour MP for Bristol East.
According to the BUAV, government figures from 2011 show that the number of tests on finished household products was zero, which makes a ban on testing finished products fairly pointless.
Testing for these products needlessly subjects animals to horrific practices that can involve force-feeding them high doses of toxic chemicals or putting harmful irritants on their skin and or in their eyes. Mice, rats and guinea pigs are most commonly used in the testing of household product chemicals, but other animals, including rabbits and dogs, may also be used, according to the BUAV. The effects of these tests can include vomiting, seizures, ulceration, internal bleeding, convulsions and organ damage.
“We expected the Government to keep its pledge to ban the cruel practice of testing household products on animals. This latest Government announcement is simply not good enough. This is an issue of strong public concern and we need a clear ban – not an empty gesture – that stops the testing of household products and their ingredients on animals. We will continue to pursue the Government on this important issue,” said BUAV Chief Executive Michelle Thew.
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