Animal testing can occur during the testing of cosmetic products and other chemicals, drug research and development and fundamental biological research (scientific research).
The European Union has agreed to ban most cosmetic testing on animals from 2009, along with importantly a ban on importing cosmetics with ingredients tested on animals into the EU.
However, cosmetic tests actually represent a very small proportion of the procedures carried out on animals. Animal testing is carried out for many more procedures including for pesticides, food additives and preservatives.
However, fundamental biological research and drug research and development account for the largest proportion of animal testing procedures. Most testing occurs at the development rather than the research stage – before new drugs can be tested on humans they have by law to be tested on two species to test the ‘whole body’ effect.
It is possible to apply negative screens in relation to animal testing, for example screening out companies which:
- provide animal testing services
- have tested cosmetic products or their ingredients on animals in recent years
- have tested cosmetic products or their ingredients on animals in line with a fixed cut-off date policy
- have tested medicines on animals in recent years
- have tested other products on animals in recent years
It may also be possible to engage with companies on this issue.