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Europe's leading animal protection groups unite to defend EU cosmetics test bans

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We urge MEPs to uphold ground-breaking animal cosmetics testing bans as European chemicals legislation undermines intention of EU legislators and public’s wishes

As a member of the Cruelty Free Europe network, we have joined Europe's other leading animal protection groups in urging MEPs to uphold the ground-breaking cosmetics testing bans, following calls from EU authorities for cosmetics ingredients to be tested on animal. The joint statement and list of signatories is here.

Although cosmetics testing on animals is banned under EU Cosmetics Regulation, the European Chemicals Agency and the European Commission argue that even ingredients used exclusively in cosmetics may be tested on animals under EU chemicals legislation REACH, if there is a possibility of workforce exposure.

For cosmetics ingredients in other types of products, there is a risk that animal tests are required even without possible workforce exposure. The recently launched Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability is also set to re-open the Cosmetics Regulation, with the potential to introduce new test requirements at the expense of more animals' lives.

We call on the European Parliament and the European Commission to ensure:

  • EU bans on animal testing for cosmetics and the marketing of ingredients tested on animals are fully upheld and implemented as intended by the legislators.
  • EU test requirements – including for REACH – do not undermine the bans but instead apply a substance-tailored approach to ensure consumers, workers, and environment are protected without more animal tests.
  • A robust testing strategy for cosmetics ingredients is devised using only available non-animal methods so that the implementation of the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability reflects the overwhelming support for strengthening – rather than weakening – the protection of animals in Europe.

MEP Tilly MetzVice-Chair of the Animal Welfare Intergroup of the European Parliament, challenged the Commission in a written question to explain what it believes now remains within the scope of the cosmetics testing ban. In his response, Commissioner Breton failed to provide that information. 

Ms Metz says: “MEPs and European citizens want assurance that animals are not suffering in the development of cosmetics in and for the EU. Of course worker safety is important, but if you cannot develop cosmetics that are safe for consumers and the workers involved in their production, then those ingredients should not be used.”

Kerry Postlewhite, our Director of Public Affairs, says: “Thousands of animals suffer in testing for cosmetic ingredients that have been manufactured and marketed safely under the EU's Cosmetics Regulation for decades. It is vital that EU decision-makers ensure the intention of the Cosmetics Regulation is upheld. Otherwise, the bans that animal advocates fought so hard to achieve, and that the public and companies support, are effectively rendered meaningless.”