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Commissioner Designate receives backing over animal testing stance

By Andrew MCDOUGALL , 14-Nov-2012

Tonio Borg, Commissioner Designate for the Health and Consumer Affairs portfolio has received backing from The European Coalition to End Animal Experiments (ECEAE) and Humane Society International after announcing his position on animal testing.

In a three hour long hearing in the European Parliament, Members of the Parliament grilled Borg on his position on a number of issues; one of which was to reinforce the need for the Cosmetics Directive marketing ban to come into force in March 2013.

Animal testing of cosmetics was banned across the EU in 2009; however it is still legal to sell cosmetics that have been animal-tested elsewhere in the world.

The ban is due for implementation in March 2013 but the former EU Health Commissioner John Dalli had indicated exceptions could be made, effectively weakening the ban.

Body backing

The ECEAE says it fully agrees with Borg, who also said that the passing of legislation in the EU is a “laborious process” because of the need for all Member States to agree.

“The ECEAE agrees with Mr Borg’s additional comments that industry would not find alternative means of testing if the marketing ban is not implemented as ‘necessity is the mother of invention,’” it says in a statement.

Likewise, HSI’s senior EU policy advisor, Emily McIvor, agreed and said that if elected, Borg would take strides in abolishing animal-tested cosmetics.

“Tonio Borg’s stated aim of overseeing full implementation of the 11 March 2013 ban represents a huge step forward and stands in stark contrast to the previous commissioner’s indecision and equivocation,” she said.

“Humane Society International fully endorses Dr. Borg’s acknowledgement that the EU ban provides an incentive for industry to hasten development of alternative test methods.”

Promises

When asked by MEP Dagmar Roth-Behrendt (S&D) whether he agreed that the March 2013 deadline for the marketing ban for animal tested cosmetics should come into force without delays, Borg stated that should he be appointed, he believes that the ban should come into place in March 2013.

If MEPs vote in favour of Borg, he wants an impact assessment after the March 2013 marketing ban is implemented.

Borg is likely to replace Dalli as EU Health Commissioner following this hearing, but this is not without controversy; as away from cosmetics, he has drawn criticism over some of his other social views.