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Europe Leads the Way toward Ending Animal Testing

Published 10/20/05

North American activists working to end the testing of cosmetics and household products on animals can take heart in — and be inspired by — the success of their counterparts in Europe.

Cosmetics testing has been banned in a number of European Union (EU) countries and an EU-wide ban is on its way!

How the Ban Works

The cosmetic industry in the EU is regulated by the Cosmetic Directive, which establishes the legislative framework for that industry. The Cosmetic Directive has regulated the testing and marketing (sale) of cosmetics since 1976.

On February 27, 2003, the EU Member States achieved a great victory for animals by adopting the 7th Amendment to the Cosmetic Directive. This particular amendment introduces new provisions related to the non-animal testing of cosmetic finished products and ingredients. The amendment to the Directive was published in the Official Journal of European Communities on March 11, 2003 [Acrobat PDF available], and deemed law by September 11, 2004.

Specifically, this important amendment establishes a prohibition against the testing of finished cosmetics products and cosmetic ingredients on animals (the "testing ban"), and a prohibition to sell in the EU finished cosmetic products and ingredients included in cosmetic products that were tested on animals (the "sales ban").

API continues to actively work within the EU to apply pressure for appropriate timetables for the replacement of animal tests and for proper implementation of the Directive's objectives. We also offer expert testimony and insight in the appropriate legal forums and councils for immediate attention to the development and validation of non-animal testing methods.

The 7th Amendment to the Directive

A brief summary of the Directive's new rules as it relates to animal testing for cosmetics are outlined below. The 7th Amendment to the Directive speaks to both an animal testing ban, as well as a marketing (sales) ban.

The Testing Ban:

  • Beginning September 11, 2004, a ban on animal testing of finished cosmetic products in the EU.
  • Beginning March 11, 2009 (six years from the date the legislation passed), a ban on animal testing of cosmetic ingredients or formulations in the EU.

What this means is a complete animal testing ban for cosmetics by 2009 for all Member States of the European Union.

Sales Ban:

  • Beginning September 11, 2004, a ban on the sale of cosmetic products and ingredients tested on animals outside the EU where alternative tests validated and adopted in the EU exist.
  • Beginning March 11, 2009, a ban on the sale of cosmetic products and ingredients tested on animals for all but three test areas, regardless of the availability of non-animal alternatives.
  • The sales ban will be in complete effect by 2013 for the remaining three test areas (reproductive toxicity, repeat dose toxicity, and toxicokinetics). The ban could be delayed by new legislation if non-animal tests have not been made available.

What this means is there is expected be an import ban by 2009 forbidding most products or ingredients that have been tested on animals to be sold within the EU, with a complete ban by 2013.

For further details, download a copy of the 10-page Cosmetic Directive (Acrobat PDF file).

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