Ban on cosmetic testing on animals

Page last updated: 16 October 2017

New cosmetic products and ingredients are tested to ensure the products are safe to use. For the investigation of possible human health effects, animal tests have historically been used, as they best represented 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 for this purpose. Animal tests are expensive, time consuming to conduct and are questioned on both ethical and scientific grounds.

Evidence held by the regulator shows that new animal test data are rarely used to introduce new cosmetic chemicals onto the Australian market.

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

The first part of this package will be implemented through the reforms to the regulation of industrial chemicals. On 1 June 2017, the Australian Government introduced the Industrial Chemicals Bill (the Bill). As an integral part of wider reforms to the regulation on industrial chemicals, the Bill bans the use of data derived from animal tests conducted after 1 July 2018, to support the introduction of a new chemical intended for use 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. Rules supporting the new legislation will also encourage the greater use of alternatives to animal testing.