Ban on cosmetic testing on animals

Page last updated: 30 June 2017

The testing of cosmetic products and ingredients is conducted to assist in developing a new product and to ensure the product and its ingredients are safe to use. For the investigation of possible human health effects, animal tests have historically been used, as they best represent the overall effect of a chemical on a living human. However, as technology has advanced, there has been an international move away from the use of animals. Animal tests are expensive, time consuming to conduct and are questioned on both ethical and scientific grounds.

During the 2016 Election campaign, the Australian Government committed to introduce a ban on cosmetic testing on animals. As part of the 2017-18 budget package, the Government will implement a ban on cosmetic testing on animals through a package of legislative and non-legislative initiatives.

The first initiative to be implemented will be achieved through the reforms to the regulation of industrial chemicals. On 1 June 2017, the Australian Government introduced the Industrial Chemicals Bill (the Bill). In addition to the industrial chemicals reforms, the Bill bans the use of data derived from animal tests conducted after 1 July 2018 to support the introduction of a chemical in a cosmetic.

The ban described in the Bill aligns with the current arrangements for the regulation of chemicals used in cosmetics in the European Union. The approach removes any potential incentive for cosmetics to be tested on animals for the Australian market while ensuring that the chemicals we are exposed to through other uses are safe for us and the environment in which we live.