PETA and Other Animal Groups Collaborate as EU Cosmetics Animal Test Ban Is Being Destroyed

Posted by on November 24, 2020 | Permalink

Did you know that animals, including pregnant females, are still suffering as substances are forced down their throats in tests for cosmetics in the EU? Yes, you read that right. Despite the ban on animal testing for cosmetics, animals are still being used in cruel tests.

Following calls from EU authorities for cosmetics ingredients to be tested on animals, PETA and other leading European animal protection groups have sent a joint statement to MEPs urging them to uphold the groundbreaking cosmetics testing and marketing bans. The joint statement and list of signatories can be seen here.

In a unified voice, the joint statement calls on European decision-makers to ensure that the EU’s historic animal testing and marketing bans – a beacon of change for animals around the world – are not rendered meaningless.


Isn’t Animal Testing for Cosmetics Banned in Europe?

The bans that animal advocates fought so hard to achieve – and that the public and many scientists support – are being torn apart.

Thousands of animals suffer in new tests for cosmetics ingredients required under EU chemical laws – and for no good reason. For decades, these ingredients have been manufactured and marketed safely under the EU’s Cosmetics Regulation. Besides, fundamental biological differences between humans and other animals mean the results of tests on animals just don’t reliably predict what will happen in humans.

The purpose of the Cosmetics Regulation is that cosmetics products can be safely brought to market without new tests on animals.

What’s PETA Doing About This?

PETA has long been an advocate for animals on this issue:

2013: EU Cosmetics Testing and Marketing Bans Are Fully Implemented

The EU ban on animal testing for cosmetics products and their ingredients (the Cosmetics Regulation) came into full force, accompanied by a ban on EU sales of such goods that were newly 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 and that no new tests would be required for existing ingredients.

Crucially, in 2013, the European Commission indicated that ingredients used only in cosmetics should not be subject to animal test requirements under REACH – Europe’s chemicals regulation.

2014: Animal Testing for Cosmetics Sneaks in Through the Back Door

The European Commission and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) announced that under REACH, they may still insist on animal testing for chemicals used exclusively in cosmetics for which there’s a possibility of workforce exposure during manufacturing processes, even if the ingredient has been deemed safe for consumer use.

For ingredients that are used in cosmetics as well as other types of products, tests on animals were already permitted by ECHA regardless of any workforce exposure risk, suggesting that REACH overrides the Cosmetics Regulation.

This is a blatant violation of both REACH and the Cosmetics Regulation, because REACH was not supposed to undermine the cosmetics animal testing bans.

2015: PETA Kicks Off the New Year With a Cosmetics Campaign

We asked for your help by launching this action alert, 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, it was noted that although ECHA and the Commission had issued a guidance document, that didn’t necessarily mean the guidance was correct. We know it wasn’t and that the EU bans on animal testing for cosmetics must be upheld.

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 ECHA’s demand that it 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.

White rats in animal testing laboratory

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 end cruel experiments on animals and accept cutting-edge, non-animal research methods for the purposes of REACH.

In a meeting of the European Parliament Committee on Petitions, PETA’s science policy manager, Dr Julia Baines, pointed out to MEPs that cosmetics ingredients continue to be tested on animals and urged them to end this shameful practice – which should already have been banned under the Cosmetics Regulation. The committee agreed to take further action.

2019: We Head Back to the European Parliament

Throughout this period, regulatory authorities have continued to require tests on animals. Fortunately, companies have been appealing against having to conduct these tests, and the Science Consortium has been approved as an official intervener in each case.

Dr Baines addressed the European Parliament Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals and urged MEPs to hold the European Commission and ECHA accountable for destroying the ban on animal testing for cosmetics.

2020: Animal Tests Are Still Being Requested – We Keep Backing the Ban!

The Science Consortium intervened in additional ECHA Board of Appeal cases in which cosmetics ingredients are at the centre of disputes, culminating in the Symrise cases. And now, as Symrise is set to appeal the decisions before the Court of Justice of the European Union, the Science Consortium will be stepping up to the helm once again, lending its expertise expertise as an officially-accepted intervener in the case.

What You Can Do to Help

Always use cruelty-free products, and check the PETA US “Beauty Without Bunnies” database when in doubt.

Please also let decision-makers know you are against tests on animals for cosmetics ingredients, no matter the circumstances: