The last deadline to phase out animal testing for cosmetic products in Europe entered into force on March 11 2013, meaning that cosmetics tested on animals cannot be marketed any more in the EU.
The complete ban on trade and testing regards only new products and ingredients, Yavor Gechev, head of marketing at Four Paws Bulgaria, a foundation protecting animal rights, told public broadcaster Bulgarian National Radio. Older products tested on animals will not be taken off the market.
Animal experiments carried out to test cosmetics or their ingredients have been outlawed in the EU since 2009. However, companies have still been free to sell products with a history of animal testing conducted outside Europe.
European Commissioner in charge of Health and Consumer Policy, Tonio Borg, was quoted in a European Commission statement as saying: “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,” Borg said.
The European Commission said that it had thoroughly assessed the impacts of the marketing ban and considers that there are overriding reasons to implement it. “This is in line with what many European citizens believe firmly: that the development of cosmetics does not warrant animal testing,” the Commission said.
The quest to find alternative methods will continue as full replacement of animal testing by alternative methods is not yet possible.
“The Communication published today outlines the Commission’s contribution to the research into alternative methods and the recognition that these efforts must be continued.”
The Commission said that it had made about 238 million euro available between the years 2007 and 2011 for such research. The cosmetics industry has contributed as well, for example by co-funding the SEURAT research initiative with 25 million euro.
“The leading and global role of Europe in cosmetics requires reaching out to trading partners to explain and promote the European model and to work towards the international acceptance of alternative methods. The Commission will make this an integral part of the Union’s trade agenda and international co-operation,” the European Commission said.
(Photo: Brian Hoskins/sxc.hu)