EU bans retail of animal tested products

A European Union-wide ban on selling animal tested cosmetics came into force today.

Although testing cosmetics on animals has been illegal in the EU since 2009, retailers have been within their rights to sell products containing ingredients that had been tested on animals in other countries. 

The EU ban will make it illegal from March 11, 2013, to market cosmetics within the European Union if the final product or any of its ingredients were animal-tested anywhere in the world after March 11.

It therefore prohibits the sale of newly animal-tested cosmetics and requires companies to use existing approved ingredients in their products.

This could affect spas and salons looking to retail new products, if those products contain ingredients in breech of these new rules. However, based on the industry’s response to the issue of anima testing, politicians believe there is nothing to fear.

Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies is a member of the European Parliament’s negotiating team on the cosmetics legislation. He said: “Industry was shocked when the law was passed, and claimed that it could destroy Europe's cosmetics business.

“But since then many businesses have cooperated in the development of non-animal tests and great progress has been made. Cosmetic manufacturers came to realise that it's bad for business if customers associate their products with animal cruelty. A common European measure was necessary because no one country could have introduced these requirements by itself. The hope now must be that it will become the global standard, and that manufacturers across the world will work to eliminate animal testing.”

Troy Seidle, of the Humane Society International and the director of the Be Cruelty-Free campaign, said: "Testing cosmetics on rabbits and guinea-pigs is the ugly face of the beauty industry. With the EU closing its doors to animal-tested cosmetics, the beginning of the end of global cosmetics cruelty is within our grasp.”