EU: Leading Animal Protection Groups Join Forces for Animal Testing Bans.

Leading Animal Protection groups join forces for animal testing bans

23 November 2020

Following calls from EU authorities for cosmetics ingredients to be tested on animals, Europe’s leading animal protection groups have sent a joint statement to MEPs urging them to uphold the groundbreaking cosmetics testing and marketing bans.

Even though the testing of cosmetics ingredients on animals is banned under the EU Cosmetics Regulation, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and the European Commission (EC) argued that even ingredients used exclusively in cosmetics may still be tested on animals under the REACH regulation (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) if there is a possibility of workforce exposure during the manufacturing process. For cosmetics ingredients also used in other types of products, tests on animals may, they say, be required regardless of any potential for workforce exposure.

It is imperative that the purpose of the Cosmetics Regulation – that cosmetics products are safely brought to market using only non-animal data – be met without compromising the bans. For ingredients marketed under the Cosmetics Regulation that have a history of safe use by consumers and of controlled handling on the factory floor, robust protection of both workers and consumers is already enabled through a variety of non-animal assessment methods and the careful application of exposure assessments. When regulators decide that a new ingredient cannot be brought safely to market without animal testing, its introduction should be delayed until additional non-animal test methods are available.

The recent administrative decisions are not the end of the road for the cosmetics testing and marketing bans. We maintain that new safety assessment data for cosmetics substances imported into, manufactured or sold within the EU may only rely on non-animal assessment methods. The wishes of citizens and legislators are clear: ECHA and the European Commission must be held accountable and compelled to uphold the terms of the EU cosmetics animal test and marketing bans as originally intended.

As animal protection organisations, we call for the European Parliament and the European Commission to ensure that the following mandates are urgently carried out:

• The EU bans on animal testing for cosmetics and the marketing of ingredients tested on animals must be fully upheld and implemented as intended by the legislators. 

• EU test requirements – including requirements set out in REACH – must not undermine the bans but instead must apply a substance-tailored approach to ensure consumers, workers, and the environment are protected without further tests on animals. 

• The European Commission must devise a robust testing strategy for cosmetics ingredients using only available non-animal assessment strategies so that the implementation of the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability reflects the overwhelming support for strengthening – rather than weakening – the protection of animals in Europe. 

The joint statement and list of signatories can be seen here.

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