The Advocate General of the European Court of Justice has slammed moves by the French government to partially lift the ban on the testing of cosmetic products on animals.
The court advisors said that the proposed deletion of Article 4 (1)(i) of the EU Cosmetic Directive 76/678, wanted the marketing of animal-tested cosmetic products to be unconditionally permitted throughout the European Community.
The French government is seeking the annulment of the Directive's ban on animal testing of cosmetics and the sale of animal-tested products. The court's opinion followed the original hearing in the case brought by France on 18 January, and was rejected by the courts last week.
Currently France has one of the biggest cosmetics industries in Europe, with names such as L'Oreal and Clarence and Clinique proffering some of the most successful and well-known brand names.
The French government has been claiming that the current Directive against animal testing violated the principle of legal certainty because its scope was not adequately defined.
A lifting of the ban would have met with significant animosity from animal rights group and the general public, which has proved to be staunch supporters of moves to ban all cosmetics testing on animals in the past.
Sonja Van Tichelen, director of Eurogroup Animal Welfare Organisation said that the move to quash the French government's demands had the support of the EU citizens.
Furthermore Van Tichelen drew attention to the self interest motivating the French government's move, emphasizing the significance of the country's existing cosmetic industry as well as the fact that it currently has the largest amount of animal testing for cosmetic products.
The final hearing for the French government's demands will be given by the EU Courts, but it seems likely that, following the recommendations of the Advocate General, it will be faced with a tough battle.