Cosmetics testing

Animal testing for cosmetics banned within the EU

On March 11th 2013, the final stages of the Cosmetics Directive were brought into effect, and the European Union introduced a complete ban on the sale of all new cosmetics that have been tested on animals. This is a tremendous victory, which took many years of campaigning to achieve.

The first steps towards a complete ban were taken in 2004, when animal testing of finished cosmetic products – but not ingredients – was eliminated across the EU. Then, in 2009, the law was extended to make it illegal to test cosmetic ingredients on animals as well. This was accompanied by a partial marketing ban, which prohibited the sale within the EU of cosmetics whose ingredients had been tested on animals – with the notable exception of three specified tests, for repeated dose toxicity, reproductive toxicity and toxicokinetics.

And finally, on March 11th 2013, the Cosmetics Directive came into full force and a complete ban on the sale of any new cosmetic products whose ingredients have been tested on animals was imposed across the EU. However, many countries outside the EU, including the USA and China, have no restrictions on the use of animals in cosmetics testing. The EU ban is not only an amazing achievement, it also sends a strong message to the rest of the world to follow suit.

So are all cosmetics equally cruelty-free?

Well, not exactly. Following the ban, if a company wants to sell a product within the EU, it must not test that product on animals. However, the same company might sell a different product outside the EU, and conduct testing of that product on animals. For example, for a new product to be sold in China, it will usually have to go through a range of animal tests.

The Cruelty Free International’s (CFI) ‘Leaping Bunny’ logo continues to be the best way to identify truly cruelty-free beauty products: visit their website.

In addition, many cosmetics are not suitable for vegans, as they contain animal ingredients. Many companies, such as Superdrug, now label which of their products are suitable for vegans, and the CFI link above allows you to search for wholly vegan companies. There is also a wide range of fully cruelty-free cosmetics and toiletries available from the Animal Aid shop!