Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Time to end animal testing on household products

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It was a good day for animal welfare and ethical consumerism when the Coalition Government agreed to end the use of animal testing on household products on 20th May 2010 thanks to the BUAV.
As the Director of Policy for the BUAV three years ago, I had worked hard with the Chief Executive Michelle Thew to develop a concerted campaign in March 2008 to put pressure on the then Labour Government to end the frankly barbaric testing of chemicals on household products. There was no excuse for continuing a discredited policy, given the huge array of proven chemicals that are safe and have all the scientific data to demonstrate that they can be used as ingredients for products for cleaning around the house. Yet for decades successive governments had continued to allow further meaningless tests which did nothing to further science or consumer safety.
Michelle Thew has been a doughty and highly successful campaigner for animal rights for many years and deserves real credit for making sure Governments both in the UK and around the globe do not forget their responsibilities to animals. It is too easy for politicians to find excuses for either allowing abuses or failing to implement improvements to animal welfare when people worry about jobs, hospitals and schools.
Watch out for the Leaping Bunny on household and other products which means that the ingredients have undergone rigorous screening to ensure it meets the BUAV internationally recognised standard - Humane Household Products Standard (HHPS).
Shopping is made easier with the BUAV's Little Book of Cruelty Free, which can be downloaded for free from the BUAV and lists out ethical shops with websites and telephone numbers.
We pass the test on animal testing
Marks and Spencer don't sell products tested on animals and are endorsed by the BUAV
Yet we still patiently wait for the Coalition Government to honour its commitment. Given the worrying dilution of animal welfare measures by this Government one hopes that the ban on household product testing on animals will be passed soon. The Government has delayed a ban on hen beak mutilations, halted prosecutions for abuses in abattoirs and has stalled on introducing a ban of wild animals in circuses.
I recall meeting George Osborne when the Conservatives were campaigning in the Crewe and Nantwich byelection in May 2008 and myself and BUAV Policy Team were out in the constituency raising awareness of the need to end animal testing on household products. George was very amiable and friendly and even posed for a photograph. The ethical ban has no impact on the budget deficit and would be an easy win for the Coalition. I remember him reading our leaflet and saying, "Yes this is something the Conservatives can support."
So the pressure must be maintained on this Government to ensure that animal welfare does not slip off the agenda and the dark days of animal abuses go unpunished. The question on animal testing is when will this modest ban on household products be finally introduced?

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