I’ve been getting a lot of emails about the new legislation in the EU regarding animal testing for cosmetics. Most questions I receive are from readers who want to know what it means for companies that continue to sell their products in China. As I understand it, there’s a loophole and companies that sell their products in China (where animal testing is required) will still be able to sell their products in the EU. So while this new legislation is a MAJOR victory for our animal friends, it unfortunately does not mean that all products sold in the EU are cruelty free. So this means that compassionate consumers will still have to use the Leaping Bunny and PETA cruelty free lists and do our own research when in comes to buying cosmetics from companies we are not sure about. Below I’ve included some great information from the LeapingBunny.org website that might clarify things a little more for you as they did for me.
What does the new European Union (EU) Cosmetics Regulation say about animal testing?
In 2004, the EU passed a ban on testing cosmetic products on animals. It also set a series of deadlines for eliminating the testing of cosmetic ingredients and the sale of cosmetics tested on animals. In March 2009, the testing of cosmetic ingredients within the EU was banned as well as the sale of most cosmetic products tested on animals. The final deadline is March 11, 2013, at which time the law prohibits marketing of any cosmetic products in the EU that have involved new animal testing.
Can any animals still be used in the EU for animal testing on cosmetics and ingredients?
Some questions still remain about how the cosmetic testing ban will be interpreted and enforced in different EU member countries. For instance, an ingredient that is used to create other types of products in addition to cosmetics may still be tested. Also, there is question about whether the ban on animal testing will also apply to other types of testing such as worker health and environmental toxicity.
Will the products be tested for safety if animal testing is no longer conducted on personal care products?
Yes. Cosmetic ingredients and products in the European Union will still need to be tested for safety. Fortunately, there are many great non-animal alternative test methods that can provide safety data without harming animals.
What happens if a product is sold in the EU and also in a country like China where animal testing is required?
It is unlikely that the EU will force international brands to pull out of markets with animal testing requirements. Therefore, although it may appear to be inconsistent with the ban, companies may still be testing on animals to fulfill regulatory requirements in other countries.
Does the United States (U.S.) or Canada have similar laws in place banning animal testing on cosmetics?
How is the Leaping Bunny Program different from the new Cosmetics Regulation?
The Leaping Bunny remains an important cruelty-free certification program, even for companies based in the EU. Because of lingering questions regarding how the Cosmetics Regulation will be interpreted and possible loopholes in the law, consumers wishing to ensure that the companies they buy from are not engaged in any new animal testing should continue to shop from companies approved by the Leaping Bunny Program in the U.S., Canada, and the EU. Companies certified by Leaping Bunny may not test their products or ingredients on animals regardless of any international regulatory requirements and we will not allow testing for environmental toxicity. In addition, the Leaping Bunny Program also certifies household products, which are unaffected by this new animal testing ban.
Please be a compassionate consumer.