Understanding Animal Research describes itself as a not-for-profit organisation that explains how and why animals are used in research, with the aim of supporting the careful and humane use of animals in research.
An internet survey by the group of over 4,000 people has revealed that 62% of respondents believed one or more high street shops used animals to test cosmetics or their ingredients on animals in the UK.
The UK ended animal testing for cosmetics and their ingredients in 1998, while in 2013, an EU-wide ban made it illegal for any cosmetic product to be sold in any EU country if either the product or any of its ingredients had been tested on animals.
Yet despite this, major retailers were picked out by the survey respondents, who wrongly believed these high street names are continuing to test on animals.
“Boots, Tesco and Sainsbury’s were all picked by over 40% of people; The Body Shop was selected by 30% and Lush by 14%,” says Understanding Animal Research.
Meanwhile, 38% of respondents did correctly confirm that no high street retailer in the UK sells products tested on animals.
How to target confusion?
One way to educate consumers on the reality of the non-animal testing legislative reality in the UK would be through better labeling, suggests Understanding Animal Research.
It says it urges cosmetics manufacturers and retailers to include the phrase ‘No cosmetics, or their ingredients, sold in the UK are tested on animals’ on every product.
Currently, a range of labelling logos can contribute to confusion, suggests the group, which calls for clearer, unified claims.
Wendy Jarrett, CEO of Understanding Animal Research, says: “The proliferation of ‘Not tested on animals’ and ‘Cruelty-Free’ logos has led many to believe that other cosmetic products sold on the UK market are tested on animals – something which has not been the case for 20 years.
“While animals continue to play a small but key role in medical developments, the UK Government has ended such testing for cosmetics and, more recently, household products.”