On Tuesday in Parliament MPs from across the house will call on the UK Government to propose a global ban on cosmetic animal testing in a Westminster Hall debate. I would like to encourage all my animal-friendly colleagues to support the call for the UK to champion an international agreement that will end the needless suffering of animals for cosmetic purposes worldwide.
Whilst my constituents’ views on foreign policy or the industrial strategy react to news and adapt over time, one view that remains constant and well exercised is their concerns over animal welfare. It is not a coincidence that the rights and welfare of animals are spoken about almost daily in the corridors of Westminster. Despite what the public may think of late, a Member of Parliament is elected to represent their constituent’s views. One such view that seems to bring MPs from across the House together like no other is our constituents’ love for animals.
That is why I chair the All Party Parliamentary Group for Dog Welfare and why so many of my colleagues chair similar such groups and speak passionately in the House regarding animals. It is also why I believe Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) have become more progressive and bold with their policies, because we are a nation of animal lovers. Over 115 MPs have signed an Early Day Motion calling for a global ban on animal cosmetic testing. The goal is now clear; for a resolution to be passed at the UN General Assembly to enforce a harmonised ban and see an end to this cruel and outdated practice.
To put this all very bluntly, just one ingredient in our anti-ageing cream could result in the death of up to 1400 animals. That number would send shivers down anyone’s spine. Whilst efforts have been made by the UK Government and the European Union to ban such products, it has proved difficult to remove them from our shelves in such a globalised market. Despite the availability of approved non-animal tests and existing ingredients safe for human use, there are still no laws banning animal tests for cosmetic products and ingredients in 80% of the world. It is estimated that around 500,000 animals are used and abused in laboratory’s every year for cosmetic testing purposes.
On Tuesday, I ask Defra to walk the walk by calling for a UN resolution to ban cosmetic animal testing worldwide; it is evident that this the only sustainable and morally right solution. In a global market, it is essential that all countries ban the practise to avoid testing simply moving around the world to those countries without effective laws. The UK Government already made the momentous step in banning this form of testing for cosmetic purposes over twenty years ago, but its effectiveness is based on global factors behind its control.
As the blue planet effect is well and truly sweeping across Westminster, it is now time to remind the UK Government of their own animal welfare agenda. I encourage all animal rights campaigners to contact their MP and ask them to attend this debate and in so doing to show support for animal rights across the globe.
Dr Lisa Cameron is the SNP MP for East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow