Wesfarmers Health - Animal welfare and testing


Wesfarmers Health believes in the humane treatment of animals and expects suppliers to engage in practices that prioritises animal welfare. These practices include providing an environment that is free from distress, cruelty, abuse, neglect and is consistent with all applicable laws and industry guidelines.  

Wesfarmers Health recognises animal testing in cosmetics is prevalent and believes safety and efficacy verification is essential when developing new pharmaceuticals or other products.  

To assess the existing risks surrounding animal testing, Wesfarmers Health benchmarked the animal welfare processes of peers and is in the process of updating its Ethical Sourcing and Modern Slavery Policy to reflect specific requirements and expectations of suppliers that address animal welfare.

Animal testing in cosmetics1  

Animal testing has been commonly adopted by the cosmetics industry to prove product and ingredient safety for the end consumer.  In recent years, countries such as the UK, India, New Zealand and Australia have begun to move away from this practice, as alternative methods to ensure consumer safety have become more widely available and public awareness of animal welfare has increased. Australia and New Zealand have introduced limited bans on animal testing that apply to new cosmetic ingredients and products sold and imported.  

In the absence of a worldwide ban on such practices, some countries still require animal testing on new cosmetic ingredients and products. As a result, Wesfarmers Health cannot guarantee that all cosmetics products its businesses sell are entirely free from animal testing or not historically tested on animals.  

Animal testing in products other than cosmetics1 

Wesfarmers Health understands the use of animals supports scientific research and drug discovery. The business expects its suppliers to meet or exceed all local, national and international regulations in the use and management of animals and to treat them humanely and with respect.  

Wesfarmers Health’s suppliers are encouraged to use alternative testing methods aligned with the internationally recognised 3Rs principles:  

  • replacement: using alternative means to animal testing
  • reduction: using fewer animals in testing
  • refinement: using methods that reduce the potential pain and suffering of animals subject to testing.  

As the Australian legal landscape and community expectations continue to evolve, Wesfarmers Health expects its suppliers to comply with Australian standards, including banning animal testing in new cosmetic ingredients.  

The business encourages suppliers to proactively demonstrate their due diligence and share their policies and procedures to ensure animals are cared for in their operations, and their progress towards implementing the 3Rs principles. 

Wesfarmers Health will be looking to continually reflect community expectations and embed more rigorous internal supplier onboarding processes and supplier risk assessments as they relate to animal testing.   

1Wesfarmers Health adopts the definition of cosmetics products outlined by the Australian Government that a ‘cosmetic product is a substance designed to be used on any external part of the body – or inside the mouth – to change its odour or appearance, cleanse it, keep it in good condition or protect it.’ (https://www.industrialchemicals.gov.au/cosmetics-and-soap/cosmetics-and-therapeutics#what-is-a-cosmetic)