After decades of delays, disappointment and campaigning by animal advocacy groups, the European Union is finally set to enact its ban on animal testing for cosmetics this spring.
Beginning on March 11, anyone selling cosmetic products in the EU will not be allowed to test finished products or their ingredients on animals anywhere in the world, whether or not an alternative to animal testing is available.
The EU adopted legislation to ban animal testing for cosmetics in 1993, which was supposed to go into effect in 1998, but was repeatedly delayed. In 2009, all animal testing for cosmetics was banned in the EU and supported by campaigns from organizations including HSI, the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection and the European Coalition to End Animal Experiments (ECEAE).
However, thanks to industry lobbying, the deadline was delayed for a few types of tests in an effort to buy time to develop alternatives and the former European Commissioner in charge of the EU’s cosmetics regulations was considering recommendations to delay or weaken the ban yet again, while animal advocates continued to work to ensure the 2013 deadline would be met.
“I believe that the ban should enter into force in March 2013 as Parliament and Council have already decided. I am therefore not planning to propose a postponement or derogation to the ban. This decision also means that we need to step up our efforts in the development, validation and acceptance of alternative methods as well as in the international recognition of these methods,” wrote Tonio Borg, Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, in a letter to the ECEAE.
Despite the fact that reliable alternatives to animal testing are available, and the fact that hundreds of companies are successfully developing and selling vegan and truly cruelty-free products, millions of animals continue to to suffer and die an agonizing death behind closed doors at the hands of companies who refuse to give up the practice for nothing more than human vanity.
“This is truly an historic event and the culmination of over 20 years of campaigning. Now we will apply our determination and vision on a global stage to ensure that the rest of the world follows this lead,” said Michelle Thew, Chief Executive of Cruelty Free International.
Hopefully, the rest of the world will follow suit. Israel recently announced a ban on animal testing for cosmetics and household products and India announced that is considering a similar move.
To find animal-friendly products already on the market, visit gocrueltyfree.org.
Photo credit: Thinkstock