In principle, REACH is a good piece of legislation. REACH rules tell a company exactly which tests they need to do for each ingredient – it lists the non-animal tests that must be used and then the animal tests to be used if there is no alternative. The rules were supposed to be updated regularly to add any new non-animal alternatives as they are developed. It was hoped that eventually this would mean that no animal tests were ever needed, as new non-animal tests are developed over time.
The bad news is REACH has not been updated since it was written in 2007. Since then many non-animal alternatives have been developed and also some animal test refinements (which mean that fewer animals need to be used and killed). By not adding these to the REACH testing guidelines, REACH are breaking their own rules – and many animals (perhaps even millions) are dying in tests because companies cannot use the non-animal alternatives until the legislation lists them as suitable for use.
You can find out more here.
Please consider signing the petition at the Humane Society International website.
Lush (makers of cruelty free handmade cosmetics) have created a short animation explaining REACH and why it mattters.
As ever, red text contains hyperlinks that take you to other webpages where you can find out more.