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Europe introduces complete ban on sale of animal tested cosmetics

By Robert Myles     Mar 13, 2013 in World
On Monday, a full ban on the testing of cosmetic products on animals came into force in the European Union. The complete ban was welcomed by animal rights groups but some in the cosmetics industry remain unconvinced.
March 11 was the deadline for phasing out animal testing for cosmetic products across the EU. From that date, it becomes illegal to market for sale in the European Union, cosmetics which have been tested on animals.
In 2003 the European Commission and the Council of Ministers set a deadline for phasing out the use of animals in testing cosmetic products for adverse effects on humans. Latterly, the only exception to the ban was animal testing for the most complex effects on human health such as carcinogenicity and reproductive toxicity. That exception ceased to be permissible as of Monday.
In a statement, European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, Tonio Borg, said, "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 approach. This is a great opportunity for Europe to set an example of responsible innovation in cosmetics without any compromise on consumer safety."
The European Commission said there remained overriding reasons for implementing the marketing ban on cosmetic products tested on animals on top of which they said the ban was in line with the opinion of many European consumers that animal testing for the development of cosmetics cannot be justified.
While the ban extends to the European Union, where many of the world’s leading cosmetics manufacturers are based, animal testing for cosmetics still exists elsewhere in the world. The statement issued by the European Commission said the EU hoped to promote the European model to trading partners with a view to other countries being persuaded to accept the need to switch to alternative testing methods.
On its website, animal rights campaigning group PETA — People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals — hailed the EU ban as a “monumental day” saying it was the day “500 million consumers got cruelty free”. But, as the New York Times highlighted, animal testing still exists elsewhere in the world and in other industries. NYT spoke to Dagmar Roth-Behrendt, a socialist lawmaker from Germany who was one of the architects behind the original EU ban. As Mr. Roth-Behrendt pointed out, companies were still at liberty to use ingredients from tests on animals so long as such tests were carried out for non-cosmetic products such as pharmaceuticals or chemicals.
Reaction from the cosmetics industry was mixed. BBC News reports a spokesman for industry trade body Cosmetics Europe as saying, “by implementing the ban at this time, the European Union is jeopardising the industry's ability to innovate".
But co-founder and CEO of LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics, Mark Constantine, in a letter to cosmetics industry chiefs co-authored with the Humane Society said, “On 11th March we will witness a truly landmark moment in the history of the beauty industry. The world’s largest cosmetics market, the European Union, which has already banned animal testing of cosmetics within its own borders, will also close its doors to the sale of cosmetics tested on animals in other markets. This sales ban carries with it a clarion call from consumers: Cosmetics animal testing is not welcome and it needs to stop. Surely this must signal a turning point for the beauty industry worldwide to finally call an end to animal testing and commit to going cruelty-free?”
More about Cosmetics, Animal testing, testing on animals, animal product testing, Animal rights
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