Two thirds of the British public are unaware animal cosmetic testing is illegal in UK

Posted: by UAR News on 23/04/13

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pie–chart.jpgAlmost two thirds of British people (63%) do not know that is it illegal to test finished cosmetic products on animals in the UK, according to a recent ComRes survey.

Understanding Animal Research commissioned the poll, which was undertaken between 6 and 8 March 2013. A representative sample of 2,058 British adults was asked “To the best of your knowledge, do you think it is legal to test finished cosmetic products on animals in the UK?”

Over a third (39%) of those surveyed think it is legal for cosmetics to be tested on animals in the UK, and almost a quarter (24%) do not know whether it is legal or not. Only 37% know it is illegal.

It has been illegal to test finished cosmetics on animals in the UK since 1998, and animal testing of ingredients that may be used in cosmetics has been illegal across Europe since 2009. From March 2013 it has been illegal to import and sell cosmetics that have been tested on animals outside the EU.

Wendy Jarrett, Chief Executive of Understanding Animal Research, said:

“It is clear that we must do more to explain how and why animal research is conducted in the UK. Animals are used for a wide variety of scientific and medical studies, such as mouse breeding programmes to study genetics and for developing human and animal medicines. Almost all the medicines that doctors and vets have available to them today were developed and tested using animals. But animals are not used for testing cosmetics and have not been used in this way in the UK for the past 15 years. There is a risk that well-intentioned members of the public oppose animal research because they mistakenly think this means cosmetics testing.

“I hope this survey will encourage scientists to talk more about their work to alleviate human and animal diseases. It is an opportunity to explain to the public that animal research is about medicine, not make-up.”


ComRes interviewed 2,058 British adults online between 6th and 8th March 2013 for Understanding Animal Research. Data were weighted to be demographically representative of all British adults aged 18+. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

Q.1 To the best of your knowledge, do you think it is legal to test finished cosmetic products on animals in the UK?

Yes 39% No 37% Don’t know 24%

While 39% of British adults think that it is legal to test finished cosmetic products on animals in the UK, 37% think that it is illegal. Men (46%) are more likely than women (33%) to think that it is legal.

Those in higher social grades are more likely than those in lower social grades to think that this is legal. Those in grade AB (42%) are more likely to think it is legal than those in grade DE (34%).

Last edited: 27 October 2022 18:16

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