Despite the Ban, Animal Tests for Cosmetics Are STILL Taking Place in the EU
The use of animals for cosmetics testing is banned across Europe. Yet animals are still being poisoned and killed in tests for cosmetics ingredients.
In 2013, champagne corks popped as the bans on animal testing for cosmetics ingredients and on the sale of animal-tested cosmetics came into full force. We envisioned that thousands of animals would no longer be made to suffer for another mascara, lipstick, or eye shadow. But just one year later, we revealed that cosmetics ingredients were still being tested on animals in the EU because of an erroneous interpretation of the provisions laid out in the laws governing cosmetics and chemicals.
Since then, we’ve been resolute in our efforts to stop these abhorrent tests. Here’s what we’ve done so far and what you can do to help.
2013: EU Cosmetics Testing and Marketing Bans Are Fully Implemented
The EU ban on animal testing for cosmetics products and their ingredients (the EU Cosmetics Regulation) came into full force, as did a ban on EU sales of such goods that have been tested on animals. This should have meant that consumers could be confident that any new cosmetics products or ingredients developed after 11 March 2013 had not been tested on animals.
2014: Cosmetics Testing Sneaks in Through the Back Door
Under the guise of the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulation, the European Commission and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) issued a joint statement announcing that they’re still insisting on animal testing for chemicals used exclusively in cosmetics for which there’s a possibility of workforce exposure during manufacturing processes.
For ingredients that are used in cosmetics as well as other types of products, tests on animals are permitted regardless of any workforce exposure risk, suggesting that the REACH regulation overrides the EU Cosmetics Regulation.
In our opinion, this is a blatant violation of both REACH and the EU Cosmetics Regulation.
2015: PETA Kicks Off the New Year With a Cosmetics Campaign
We asked for your help, and thousands of you wrote to ECHA and the European Commission to urge them not to allow cosmetics ingredients to be tested on animals under any circumstances. The Commission responded with a statement confirming that its position hadn’t changed. Not good enough!
2016: PETA Files a Complaint With the European Ombudsman
Following a series of communications between PETA, the European Commission, and ECHA, we took our concerns to the European Ombudsman.
Regrettably, the Ombudsman sidestepped the issue and didn’t direct ECHA and the Commission to amend their position. However, in reserving judgment on the accuracy of their joint statement, she noted that although ECHA and the Commission had issued a guidance document, that didn’t necessarily mean that the guidance was correct.
2017: PETA Scientists Help Stop a Cruel Cosmetics Test
Working through the PETA International Science Consortium Ltd., PETA scientists successfully supported a company in its appeal against an ECHA demand to test a cosmetics ingredient on animals. The test would have involved force-feeding high concentrations of a cosmetics ingredient to pregnant rats or rabbits before dissecting them and their unborn offspring. This victory spared hundreds of animals’ lives.
2018: European Parliament Committee Hears PETA’s Concerns About REACH
Over 100,000 people signed an open letter coordinated by PETA and our European affiliates demanding that the EU use the formal evaluation of REACH to end cruel experiments on animals and accept cutting-edge, non-animal research methods.
After PETA submitted the letter to the European Parliament, our science policy adviser, Dr Julia Baines, was invited to address the European Parliament Committee on Petitions. She pointed out to MEPs that cosmetics ingredients continue to be tested on animals and urged them to end this shameful practice. The committee agreed to take further action.
2019: Tests Are Still Being Requested, and We’re Heading Back to the European Parliament
Throughout this period, regulatory authorities have continued to require tests on animals. Fortunately, companies are appealing against having to conduct these tests, and the PETA International Science Consortium has been approved as an official intervener in each case.
Dr Baines will soon be addressing the European Parliament Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals to urge MEPs to hold the European Commission and ECHA accountable for tearing the ban on animal testing for cosmetics to pieces.
What You Can Do for Animals Used in Cosmetics Tests
Please help us demonstrate the power of public opposition to cosmetics testing: urge the European Commission and ECHA to uphold the law by never allowing cosmetics ingredient tests on animals, no matter the circumstances.