Labor seeks public views on potential push to ban cosmetics tested on animals

A group of Labor MPs will develop a new party policy on the testing of cosmetics on animals.

The party on Friday took the unusual measure of calling for public input on the issue, via submissions to its website.

A committee of Labor politicians led by Victorian MP Clare O'Neil will also hold six forums across the country during August to canvass views.

Ms O'Neil said there was a feeling in the party that the current rules were probably not in line with community values, but the outcome of the process was not predetermined.

"This is really a genuine opportunity for members of the public to participate in Labor's policy process. The point is to allow Australians, wherever they are, who are passionate about this issue to actually genuinely have a say to people who are rethinking this within the Labor Party," she told Fairfax Media.

While the testing of products on animals is not banned in Australia, industry says it stopped many years ago. However, products that have been tested on animals overseas, or which contain ingredients that have been tested on animals overseas, are sold in Australia.

“Animal testing is an area of the law that we believe should reflect the ethics of the community, so that's why we want to talk to as many Australians as we can about whether they think it's appropriate that this still goes on, and whether it's appropriate that products that have been used in animal testing are available for sale in cosmetics in Australia,” she said.

Other Labor MPs involved in the process are the shadow assistant minister for health, Stephen Jones, as well as Kelvin Thompson, Anna Burke, Sharon Claydon, Lisa Singh, Andrew Leigh, Jill Hall, Clare Moore, Lisa Chesters, Jill Hall and Clare Moore.

During the 2013 election campaign, Labor's then-health minister Tanya Plibersek said: "Animals shouldn't suffer in the quest for better mascara or lipstick," however the party stopped short of making a ban its policy, saying it would first lead a national consultation on phasing out the importation, manufacture, sale and advertising of cosmetics or cosmetic ingredients tested on animals.

A European Union ban on the sale of cosmetics developed through animal testing took effect last year.

In March, Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon introduced a private senator's bill to Federal Parliament that would ban the importation of cosmetics tested on animals.

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