European Union Bans Cosmetics Animal Testing

The global beauty and cosmetics industry has been debating the necessity of animal testing for decades now, and Europe is finally making a strong statement against the practice. The European Union just announced that they're banning the import and sale of any cosmetics (or ingredients) that have been tested on animals. So will the US follow suit?
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The global beauty and cosmetics industry has been debating the necessity of animal testing for decades now, and Europe is finally making a strong statement against the practice. The European Union just announced that they're banning the import and sale of any cosmetics (or ingredients) that have been tested on animals. So will the US follow suit?
Photo: iStock

Photo: iStock

The global beauty and cosmetics industry has been debating the necessity of animal testing for decades now, and Europe is finally making a strong statement against the practice. The European Union just announced that they're banning the import and sale of any cosmetics (or ingredients) that have been tested on animals.

According to a release, the ban is expected to go into effect in March of this year, and it's going to have pretty big ramifications on the industry. "This decision...means that we need to step up our efforts in the development, validation and acceptance of alternative methods, as well as in the international recognition of these methods," EU health commissioner Tonio Borg wrote in a letter to anti-animal testing campaigners. Using alternative methods for testing has often been a point of contention in the industry; some scientists believe that animal testing is still necessary and some don't.

The ban will affect new products and ingredients, meaning that from now on if you want to sell products in the EU, they better not have been tested on animals. While a lot of American companies have made the commitment to not test on animals, scores of companies still do. (You can see the PETA list here.) While it's unclear how American companies are going to respond, obviously if they want to sell new products in Europe, they're going to have to find alternative testing methods.

Animal rights activists are obviously feeling re-energized because of the ban. "This is truly an historic event and the culmination of over 20 years of campaigning," Cruelty Free International Chief Executive, Michelle Thew said in a statement. "Now we will apply our determination and vision on a global stage to ensure that the rest of the world follows this lead."