We believe that testing for safety on animals is barbaric.
We believe that testing on animals does not prove safety for people.
We believe that the animal test data out in the world is not useful and should not be used. It gives a false sense of security.
We believe that the development of alternative tests has reached a level of sophistication that we should all be using them.
We believe that testing on human cell cultures and people will give more relevant results than using animals.
Since the late ‘70s there has been a steady move against the cruelty of using animals to test cosmetics on. At first, how animals were treated was the issue which then quickly moved on to the testing of finished products on animals.
Over the last 40 years we have seen campaigning, major public condemnation of animal testing of cosmetics, the introduction of laws banning animal testing, the development, validation and regulatory acceptance of alternative methods of testing.
We are at the stage where the alternative tests that are available should be used.
A senior product developer at Boots The Chemist said last year before retiring that Boots had 25 years of animal test data and that they were not going to throw that away. Animal test data is like a security blanket for companies. They are happy with what the results are and they have built their knowledge and experience around animal testing.
Many of the large companies use alternative testing methods to develop new products, however they still do animal testing to comply with legislation. So, there is a double standard. Alternative testing to gain knowledge and animal testing to satisfy regulators.
We want Lush to be the first company to stand behind the use of alternative tests. We want to test all of our ingredients using human cell culture test methods so that we know about our ingredients. We want to use human cell culture testing to build on our knowledge of our finished products.
Obviously, Lush formulates using ingredients with a long history of safe use as the starting point further testing adds knowledge using the latest techniques for testing.
As the issue is about getting companies to use alternative tests, we have an outreach program where we invite suppliers to visit XCellR8 Labs to see for themselves human cell culture testing taking place. We now have our first supplier commissioning alternative tests themselves.
We want to see suppliers providing Material Safety Data Sheets that include non-animal tests data rather than relying on historical animal test data that we do not believe tells us anything about the safety of an ingredient.
We plan to share our test results with suppliers so that repeat testing is not required. We expect our suppliers to share test results with us so that we do not repeat tests.
With finished products we want to move forward and lead the industry by setting an example of stating on our products that they have been tested using human cell culture testing in a similar way to when we put QI lists on our products before they were a legal requirement. We hope that other companies will follow and that customers will ask companies how they test. We plan to start with Dream Cream that we have tested for Genotoxicity.
To test all ingredients for all end points is a big project. It is estimated to cost between $6 and $14 million. We expect that the tests we will be using in the future will be different from those we are using now as the science develops. This is about building a base of safety knowledge that didn’t previously exist.
So, our vision is:
That all products will be tested using human volunteers, human cell culture tests and other alternative methods.
That the results from these tests will be made publicly available.
That old animal test data will become obsolete.
That regulators will understand alternatives tests and remove the requirement for animal test results.