European Union bans sale of cosmetics tested on animals

Cosmetics made with ingredients tested on animals is no longer allowed in the European Union, under a ban that took effect Monday.

The European Commission, the governing body for the 27-country EU, said in a statement that the new rule “is in line with what many European citizens believe firmly: that the development of cosmetics does not warrant animal testing.”

Officials said they plan to support development of alternative testing methods and to preach the virtues of animal-free makeup to other countries, including the U.S. The commission said it made $309 million available from 2007 to 2011 for research on such alternatives.

“This is a great opportunity for Europe to set an example of responsible innovation in cosmetics without any compromise on consumer safety,” said Tonio Borg, the commissioner in charge of health and consumer policy, in a statement.

Testing of finished cosmetics on animals has been prohibited in the EU since 2004. A ban on marketing of items with ingredients tested on animals was originally set for 2009 then pushed back to this year.

Trade group Cosmetics Europe, which represents more than 4,000 companies, was less than pleased. The European personal care industry is worth more than $90 billion, and that doesn’t even include exports of cosmetics, toiletry and perfumes.

“The ban ignores the reality that science is not yet ready to bridge existing knowledge gaps and that non-animal alternatives cannot address all ingredient safety questions,” the group said in a statement. “Furthermore, the ban acts as a brake on innovation for the European cosmetics industry while achieving little to improve global animal welfare.”

Animal advocacy group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals called the new regulation “a cause for celebration for animals, consumers and science” after “an epic campaign, spanning more than 20 years.”


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