A Government pledge to check that cosmetics being sold in Ireland comply with an international animal testing ban has been welcomed by animal rights groups.
Over the past four years, EU laws to ban animal-tested cosmetics have gradually been phased in. Information about any animal testing must be included in a compulsory “product information file” (PIF), which is not publicly accessible.
As a result, the Irish Antivivisection Society (IAVS) had raised concerns about whether or not there was adequate monitoring of such products to ensure they are complying with the ban. The group said that in the past, there was “little evidence” that the Government had been checking the PIFs.
The group pointed to a recent letter from the HSE, which was responsible for the enforcement of the animal testing ban until Oct 2010, which stated that it had “no record of any cosmetic products being surveyed in relation to animal testing”.
However, IAVS spokesman Dan Lyons said he very much welcomed a recent Government commitment to ensure pro-active enforcement of the animal testing ban. “These appear to signal a significant step up in the Government’s efforts to tackle illegal and unnecessary cruelty to animals,” he said.
Alex White, the junior health minister, in response to a parliamentary question, said the PIFs would be reviewed by the Irish Medicines Board (IMB) over the next year.
“The IMB will be pro-actively reviewing PIFs over the next 12 months for compliance with the implementation of the full animal testing ban as part of a pre-planned surveillance programme,” he said.
With the final stage to complete the animal testing ban coming into force on Mar 11, the IAVS has been lobbying the IMB — which is now the enforcer of the ban — and the Government to ensure it is thoroughly implemented.
The group requested that the Government take pro-active steps to check cosmetics, with a particular focus on any new chemicals. It also alerted the IMB to the possibility of fraudulent misclassification of cosmetics ingredients as intended for another purpose, such as for pharmaceuticals or industrial chemicals, for which animal testing is still permitted.
- Conall Ó Fátharta