EU Court of Justice Ruling Destroys Ban on Animal Testing for Cosmetics

Luxembourg – The Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled against cosmetics ingredients manufacturer Symrise AG, which sought to overturn a decision mandating that it test cosmetics ingredients on thousands of animals. This damning verdict has made a mockery of the judicial system by undermining the once groundbreaking EU ban on animal testing for cosmetics.

Animal testing for cosmetics ingredients and the sale of animal-tested ingredients have been banned in the EU since 2013 under the Cosmetics Regulation, but in 2014, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and the European Commission opined that such tests could continue under separate EU chemicals legislation – the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulation.

Symrise AG, a German manufacturer, challenged ECHA’s position before the ECHA Board of Appeal in 2018, after being mandated to conduct tests on thousands of animals. PETA International Science Consortium Ltd ((now PETA Science Consortium International e.V.) intervened in support of Symrise in the hearing. The board upheld the initial decision, but with the support of the Science Consortium, Symrise appealed to the European Court of Justice.

The ingredients at the centre of the appeal – homosalate and 2-ethylhexyl salicylate – have been widely used for years in sun creams and other cosmetics to absorb ultraviolet B (UVB) rays from the sun.

“In one fell swoop, the court has sentenced thousands of rats, rabbits, and fish to agonising suffering and certain death in cruel tests and rendered the groundbreaking ban on animal testing for cosmetics worthless,” says PETA Senior Science Policy Manager Dr Julia Baines, who assisted in the case. “PETA condemns the European Court of Justice for ignoring the purpose of the cosmetics animal testing ban, which was to ensure that only superior non-animal methods are used to assess the safety of cosmetics.”

PETA will persist in its work to protect both animals and the right of European citizens to purchase cruelty-free cosmetics, standing strong even if ECHA and the European Court of Justice appear indifferent to modern values.

For a comprehensive list of truly cruelty-free brands, we urge consumers to visit the PETA US global Beauty Without Bunnies database of over 6,300 companies that refuse to test on animals.

PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on” – opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit or follow the group on Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), TikTok, or Instagram.


Sascha Camilli +44 207 923 6244; [email protected]