House debates

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Constituency Statements

Animal Testing for Cosmetics

9:47 am

Photo of Melissa ParkeMelissa Parke (Fremantle, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Health) Share this | Hansard source

(   During the 2013 election campaign, Labor promised to lead a national consultation on phasing out the importation, manufacture, sale and advertising of cosmetics or cosmetic ingredients tested on animals. As part of the national consultation we scheduled forums in every state and territory around the nation, in addition to inviting stakeholders and the public to make written submissions, giving Australians the opportunity to tell us what they think, allowing the community to be part of a dialogue and to be the force behind the change that we hope will result.

As a community with a large number of people concerned about animal welfare, Fremantle was the obvious location for Western Australia's meeting, which occurred last Monday and which was hosted by the member for Hotham and me. The Fremantle community cares deeply about animal welfare matters, most prominently the live export issue but also issues such as the need for an independent office of animal welfare and better product labelling. These are among the most frequently raised topics of all the correspondence to my electorate office by constituents, so it was no surprise that cosmetics and animal testing would be of interest.

Animal testing of cosmetic ingredients is not conducted in practice in Australia. However, the majority of cosmetic products sold in Australia contain ingredients that have been tested on animals. Animal testing for purely cosmetic purposes is barbaric and archaic. Science has come so far, yet we continue to inflict unnecessary cruelty on animals. We have seen with regard to eggs and pork production that as consumers gain awareness of cruel practices they increasingly put their money towards ethical and humane alternatives—so too with cosmetics. It is in the industry's own strategic interest to move to non-animal methods when testing new products. It is estimated that less than five per cent of new beauty products contain new ingredients. With advanced non-animal based tests now available and around 5,000 ingredients known to be safe, the cruel practice is redundant.

The European Union introduced a ban on selling newly animal tested cosmetics in March 2013. Norway, Israel, India and Brazil have done the same. It is our hope that there will be multipartisan support for legislation here in Australia to enforce a ban on the sale of new cosmetics that have been tested on animals. Consideration of the impact, practicality and effectiveness of legislation is necessary to ensure a successful transition to cruelty-free products in Australia, so industry and animal welfare stakeholders are also being consulted.

The public forum in Fremantle was a great success. We had two local guest speakers sharing their knowledge and insight: Dr Philip Matthews, Acting Dean of the School of Philosophy and Theology at Notre Dame University, and Lesley King, representing Humane Research Australia. A large number of people braved the wild weather to ask questions and to share their concerns. I am thankful for their participation and proud that I represent an electorate that is so fiercely conscious of animal welfare. It is clear from this consultation that it is time to take the ugliness out of the beauty industry.


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