European Union Bans Animal Testing for Cosmetics

March 11, 2013

On March 11, 2013 the . The Commission confirmed their commitment to the deadline, which was established in 2003, and have expressed their desire to promote animal welfare on a global scale.

Tonio Borg, European Commissioner in charge of Health & Consumer Policy, pointed to the overwhelming public support regarding the use of animal testing for cosmetics and their shared belief in finding an alternative to animal testing: "Today's entry into force of the full marketing ban gives an important signal on the value that Europe attaches to animal welfare. The Commission is committed to continue supporting the development of alternative methods and to engage with third countries to follow our European apporach."

Although the ban may impact the current market; however, the Commission believes that the good outweigh the bad, which is fully supported by the European public. The largest obstacle to overcome is the current lack of alternatives to animal testing. The Commission, through a Communication published on March 11, illustrates their focus on finding an alternative, with over 230 Million Euros invested in research between 2007 and 2011. Furthermore, cosmetics companies have also aided in research, co-funding the SEURAT research initiative, funding approximately 25 Million Euros.

The Commission intends not to stop with just a European ban on animal testing for cosmetics, as they also intend to promote this model globally by working with trading partners on a international scale. This, according to reports, will be a leading issue for the Union's trade agenda.

The ban - in accordance with Directive 2003/15/EC, which introduced provisions to the Cosmetic Directive 76/768/EEC - is not the first step in the elimination of animal testing within the European Union. The testing of cosmetic products on animals has been banned since 2004, while the testing of cosmetic ingredients ("testing ban") has been prohibited since 2009. The marketing ban for cosmetic products containing ingredients tested on animals was introduced in March of 2009, which was then subsequently extended to the March 11, 2013 deadline.

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