Animal Testing Ban and Its Effect on Beauty

Posted on March 14, 2013 @ 07:34 am

The final phase of the 7th amendment of the EU Cosmetics Directive went into effect - it states:

As of March 11th, 2013, no new cosmetic products or ingredients on sale in the EU can be tested on animals.

The ban says that any company selling a new cosmetic or personal care product in any of the EU's 27 countries, must not test that product on animals - anywhere in the world.

But, if a new cosmetic product was tested on animals outside the EU, that product can only be sold in Europe if its safety is proven using other methods. From now on, no animal testing data or research will be considered to prove safety.

Michelle Thew, chief executive, Cruelty Free International, says, “The EU ban represents a significant milestone for animal welfare and sends a strong message worldwide in support of cruelty free beauty."

Cruelty Free International is a non-profit organization created in 2012 byBUAV, the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection. BUAV created the Humane Certification Standard, and its Leaping Bunny logo is used on packaging to show the product has not been tested on animals.

What It Means for Beauty Brands

This ban applies to only new products. Cosmetics that contain ingredients that were tested on animals before the date the ban was finalized can remain on shelves.

To further clarify, "A company will still be able to sell products with animal tested ingredients outside of the EU, assuming that the animal testing was done somewhere else in the world," explains Thew.

Over 80% of the world allows animal testing for cosmetics. Certain types of animal testing are required of any cosmetic product sold in China. But, if a beauty company sells in China, will they be able to sell in the EU as well?

"There is the possibility of a company conducting animal tests for ingredients in some markets, while using non-animal methods and existing data for the EU market," explains Thew.

Thew, as well as other animal rights activists, hopes the new mandate will pressure other countries like China to follow suit and adopt alternative testing methods. They also hope to persuade more beauty companies to choose ingredients that are known to be safe.

Affecting Change, Globally

Some countries have already been influenced by the EU ban. Korea is considering changing its laws requiring animal testing. In India, two animal tests have been dropped from its cosmetics safety standard.

Shiseido, headquartered in Japan, has announced it was going to eliminate most of its animal tested cosmetics. The company had already stopped animal testing in its own labs in 2011.

But Shiseido, like most major beauty companies, will continue to sell its products in China, which means it will have to conduct animal testing on the products sold there.

However, Thew still believes that the ban in the EU will inspire change throughout the rest of the world.

Thew says, "The EU ban makes change in other markets much more likely now. Cruelty Free International will build on the success achieved in the EU to call on all governments to end animal testing for cosmetics – to give a level playing field to all companies."

In an effort to help inspire change, Thew will be speaking to the beauty industry at the North American edition of the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit, taking place in New York City on May 16-18th, 2013. She will be discussing alternatives to animal testing methods.

Photo: Singer / songwriter Leona Lewis, brand ambassador for The Body Shop. The Body Shop has been leading the campaign to end cosmetic animal testing since 1996, and is now partnering with Cruelty Free International to help raise global awareness.

Some beauty companies are taking a stand against animal testing...see Beauty Packaging’s Online Exclusive: Beauty Brands Take Sides.