European Union Ban on Animal Testing for Cosmetics Officially Begins March 11, 2013

After promising to implement a ban on cosmetic testing and having many parties oppose this, the European Union has stood firm and confirmed that animal testing on cosmetics will no longer be legal starting March 11, 2013. Companies will still need to conduct safety testing to ensure product safety but will need to use approved non-animal testing methods.

This is a great step for animal rights but this does not mean that no animal testing will be conducted by companies selling there. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind about this regulation.

1. Cosmetics (finished products and their ingredients) that were developed using animal testing will still be able to be sold after March 2013. Only new products and ingredients developed after this date cannot conduct animal testing. (Are Cosmetics in The EU Truly Cruelty Free?)

2. Only the cosmetics sold in the European Union will not be tested on animals but this does not prevent companies from conducting animal testing in other countries. So companies who choose to sell in countries that require animal testing, such as the People’s Republic of China, can conduct animal testing on their products but cannot sell those same products in the EU. So a company can have cruelty-free products in the EU but not be a cruelty-free company as they conduct animal testing elsewhere. Consumers who want to support cruelty-free companies will still have to stay informed about what companies are doing abroad. (Are Cosmetics in The EU Truly Cruelty Free?)

I am really hoping that this enforcement will encourage Canadian and U.S. consumers to encourage the FDA and Health Canada to also ban animal testing for cosmetic products. Not only will this prevent millions of unnecessary animal deaths, it will encourage better safety testing technologies, change the way consumers think about the products they purchase and encourage companies to think twice about selling in countries that require animal testing as it would cost more to develop separate products for each industry.

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