Cosmetics Testing on Animals Officially Ends in European Union
March 11, 2013
The European Union's ban on the import and sale of animal-tested cosmetic products and ingredients goes into effect today, March 11, 2013. The European Union (EU) has been working incrementally towards an end to animal testing for cosmetics for more than a decade, with delays and hurdles along the way. Today’s deadline is the final step, banning the marketing, importation, and sale of animal-tested cosmetics and ingredients in the EU.
In anticipation of the ban, it is expected that some cosmetics companies may formally change their animal testing practices to be in compliance and capitalize on the EU market. One such company, Shiseido, Japan's largest maker of cosmetics, announced last week that it will eliminate most animal testing practices for its products in April 2013. The company indicated that they would still perform animal testing in “rare cases in which the safety of an ingredient has been called into question” or in certain countries that legally require animal testing, once again demonstrating how difficult it can be for companies to truly be “cruelty-free” and still profit from the global market.
The European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (ECVAM), which is now part of the European Union Reference Laboratory for Alternatives to Animal Testing (EURL ECVAM), has validated the use of dozens of non-animal tests that can be used to test products and ingredients for safety before they can be marketed for human use. The development of these tests was a crucial step in moving forward with the ban on the sale of animal tested cosmetics. With an array of non-animal methods being used for consumer safety testing in Europe, there is a strong foundation for other countries working towards an end to animal testing on cosmetics in their own countries.
NAVS celebrates the EU’s milestone in ending testing on cosmetics and hopes that it is a beacon for other such efforts worldwide, including at home in the U.S.