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BUAV report criticises EU’s indecision on animal testing

By Simon Pitman , 30-Mar-2011
Last updated the 30-Mar-2011 at 11:10 GMT

The BUAV has published a report that challenges the current state of play on the European Union's attempts to ban animal testing for cosmetics ingredients.

The BUAV says that the report, which was published on Monday is aimed at challenging the European Commission’s current ‘assumptions about the necessity of animal testing for cosmetics’.

It details proven alternatives to animal testing on ingredients and outlines approaches already taken by various companies worldwide to avoid animal testing on any ingredients used in cosmetics.

“We have always argued that it is unethical to sacrifice animals in order to test cosmetics – and the European public overwhelmingly agrees. With this report we show that there are a range of scientifically sound alternatives,” said BUAV’s chief executive, Michelle Thew.

The report focuses on five key areas of cosmetic ingredient testing, including repeated dose, toxicokinetics, reproductive toxicity, carcinogenicity and skin sensitization.

Five key areas for testing alternatives

The report outlines the fact that laboratory rabbits and/or rats are used in all of the tests on ingredients, except the skin sensitization test, which uses guinea pigs.

The BUAV want both the Commission and the European Parliament to not delay the 2013 deadline banning all animal testing on cosmetics ingredients and to speed up the approval of alternatives for the remaining animal tests.

The report comes on top of a campaign launched last January that used celebrities, UK retailer Marks & Spencer and men’s grooming brand Bulldog, to highlight the fact that cosmetics products containing ingredients tested on animals can still be purchased in Europe.

The EU had set a deadline of 2013 as the cut off date to banthe sale of any cosmetic product containing ingredients tested on animals, but problems finding feasible alternatives to certain animal tests could delay the deadline.

The BUAV claims that this could see the ban delayed by as much as another 10 years, a time-frame in which it says thousands of animals could be ‘injected, gassed, force-fed and killed for cosmetics on sale in the EU.

Ban has been implemented in a staggered fashion

Since 2009, using animals to test cosmetics ingredients in the European Union has been banned. In addition, a marketing ban has been introduced, which bans the sale of products containing ingredients tested on animals elsewhere.

However, this marketing ban was introduced in a staggered fashion, depending on what the test was designed to find out, with some falling under a 2009 deadline and some a 2013 limit. And, this is where the complication arises.

Some of these tests have proved more complicated than others to replace with non-animal alternatives, and last summer the European Commission published a document highlighting that replacements for many of the tests set for a 2013 ban were not yet available.

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