Natural cosmetic and toiletries player Lush has drawn attention to what it sees as shortfalls in the EU REACH legislation, which mean animal testing on ingredients can still be carried out in member states.
The UK-based company has posted a link to a campaign on its European consumer websites that urges its customers to get protesting against shortfalls in this legislation because it means that the continued testing of chemical ingredients used in cosmetic products.
Lush says that REACH, which is currently being ratified by the European parliament and Commission, would give the go ahead for 30,000 chemicals, many of which are used in cosmetic products, to be tested on what millions of animals in laboratories throughout the EU.
Although the European Commission has already stated that it is committed to completely eradicating the testing of all chemicals on animals, the REACH legislation means that a total ban will not be implemented until 2008 or 2009, depending on when alternative testing methods can be ratified.
In June of this year the Commission published an action programme that will mean REACH will help serve to reduce the amount of animal testing in chemicals, particularly in the field of cosmetics.
As part of the new measures, the Commission says that the label 'not tested on animals' will enable industry to indicate that it is has complied with the new EU regulations in the development and production of personal care products.
But Lush and animal protestors believe this legislation is not enough.
Although the company says it agrees with the principal of REACH - to keep dangerous chemicals out of the environment - the organisation says that it wants to see the immediate elimination of animal experiments, using human analysis as an alternative.
"Consumers have made it abundantly clear that they do not want their products tested on animals; the UK government has listened and reacted by banning the testing of cosmetics on animals in the UK, but so far has failed to react in any meaningful way to the threat posed by REACH," said Andrew Butler, Lush campaigns manager.
As well as the campaign on its European websites, Lush has teamed up with animal rights groups to conduct campaigns at its stores throughout the UK and elsewhere in Europe.