The European Union (EU) has banned new cosmetic products that use animal-tested ingredients. The European Commission stated that this supports the belief of Europeans that cosmetics development does not need any animal testing. The ban is also seen by animal rights activists as a victory in their fight against animal-testing.
This is an extension of a prior ban implemented in 2004, which prohibited animal testing of finished products within the member countries of the EU. The current ban was first decided in 2009. However, due to the resistance of cosmetics manufacturers some loopholes were included.
Opposition to Animal-Tested Ingredients Ban
Cosmetics Europe, representing manufacturers, responded that the ban “acts as a brake on innovation.” The European cosmetics industry is worth over €71 billion ($93 billion) in EU sales annually. Another group which opposes this is the European Federation for Cosmetics Ingredients, which represents over 70 companies in France, Germany, Belgium, Italy and Switzerland. L’Oreal, the world’s biggest cosmetics manufacturer has also opposed the ban and filed a lawsuit with the European Court of Justice, asking that the ban be repealed.
Bertil Heerink, head of Cosmetics Europe said that the ban hampers innovation for cosmetics manufacturers. According to the group, it also slows down competitiveness as the ban effectively stops any testing because it did not put an alternative to animal testing. An alternative to animal testing would have ensured the safe use of the cosmetic ingredients and the finished products.
There are an estimated 180,000 workers in Europe directly employed by cosmetics companies, and another 350,000 in beauty product sales, retail, marketing, transport and distribution.
Economic Effects of the Ban on Animal Tested Ingredients
Even with the ban on animal tested ingredients and products, there would not be any immediate effect on the market and the use of cosmetics. Products which contained animal-tested ingredients before the ban, will continue to be sold within the EU. In addition, exceptions will be made for animal testing for complicated or severe side effects which can be dangerous to reproduction or harmful to skin.
Like a domino effect, it is expected that this development will also affect worldwide sales and practices, specially in the American cosmetics industry. This may usher in non-animal testing requirements for cosmetics in the United States as well.