March 26, 2010
Historic EU Ban on Selling Animal-Tested Cosmetics Could Be Delayed by Years
Humane Society International , one of the world’s leading animal protection organisations, reacted strongly Friday to signals that a long-awaited EU ban on selling animal-tested cosmetics could be delayed, perhaps by years. The ban is due to come into force in 2013, but the European Commission is already preparing for a delay . HSI has criticised the stalling tactics, saying it should be morally unthinkable for the EU to allow companies to profit from animal suffering it has banned in its own laboratories. Humane Society International has rejected an invitation to join a Commission working group being convened to justify the postponement.
Following years of public protest, animal testing of cosmetics was banned within the EU in 2009 as part of the 7th amendment to the Cosmetics Directive , but cosmetic products containing ingredients tested on animals outside the EU are still legally on sale. The phased introduction of an EU sales ban on these products, which would in effect lead companies to stop animal testing outside the EU if they intend to market here, should be fully implemented by 2013 according to the Cosmetics Directive. However, this measure has long been opposed by the cosmetics industry .
How the sales ban works:
- Phase one 2004: prohibited marketing of cosmetics ingredients tested on animals using test methods that have been replaced in the EU;
- Phase two 2009: banned sale of cosmetics tested on animals for all but three animal tests––repeat dose toxicity, reproductive toxicity and toxicokinetics;
- Phase three: sale ban should apply to these last three animal tests and is due to come into force in 2013. EU lawmakers can choose to proceed with the 2013 ban regardless of whether or not non-animal alternatives are available.
Animal welfare experts from Humane Society International say cosmetics animal testing is morally unacceptable and so the ban should go ahead irrespective of alternatives.
Says Troy Seidle, director research and toxicology for Humane Society International: “European citizens want to see an end to animal testing for cosmetics, no matter where it happens in the world. Achieving a legislative ban on the sale of animal-tested cosmetics in the EU was an historic victory for animal welfare and there is no excuse whatsoever for delaying its implementation. It should be morally unthinkable for the Commission to consider continuing to allow companies to profit from animal suffering that it has banned in its own EU laboratories. Using a lack of alternative test methods to justify postponement is unacceptable. The bottom line is, there can be no justification for subjecting animals to pain and suffering for the sake of producing lipsticks and eye shadow. European citizens expect shop shelves to be cruelty-free in 2013. EU decision makers have a moral obligation to not let them down.”
Humane Society International says:
- This is not a safety issue—there are more than 8,000 cosmetic ingredients available that are already established as safe and actively used by cruelty-free companies participating in the international “Leaping Bunny” programme .
- This is not an “alternatives” issue—alternative tests for the toxic end-points may be desirable but are not necessary for the 2013 ban to be implemented  and unless the Commission publishes a proposal to delay the deadline, the existing ban will stand. Cosmetics are trivial non-essential products and ending their animal testing will not prevent further alternatives development in the future.
- This is an implementation issue—the revised Cosmetics Directive promised a 2013 sales ban and citizens expect that to be honoured.
Thousands of animals such as mice, rabbits and guinea pigs, continue to be subjected to cruel toxicity tests outside Europe in countries such as China, Israel and the United States. Cosmetic chemical ingredients can be force-fed into an animal’s stomach or applied to its shaved skin. The animals can suffer swelling, soreness, organ damage, nausea and convulsions.
1. Humane Society International and its partner organisations together constitute one of the world's largest animal protection organisations — backed by 11 million people. For nearly 20 years, HSI has been working for the protection of all animals through the use of science, advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide — on the web at HSIEurope.org
2. Correspondence from EU Commission to Humane Society International 9 March 2010
4. In 2003, France lodged an official challenge to the revised Cosmetics Directive published in the Official Journal of the European Union July 19th 2003; the European Federation for Cosmetic Ingredients' challenge published in the Official Journal of the European Union August 2nd 2003.
5. The Leaping Bunny program is an internationally recognised cruelty-free standard for cosmetic, personal care and household products. The program is run by the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics’ (CCIC) of which HSI is a member. For more information go to http://www.gocrueltyfree.org/c_faqs.php