Industry association questions if science is ready as animal testing ban comes into play


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Bertil Heerink, director general, Cosmetics Europe
Bertil Heerink, director general, Cosmetics Europe
The Personal Care Association Cosmetics Europe has questioned whether the science and alternative methods are ready to replace animal tests for cosmetics ingredient; a week after the ban has come into play.

The trade body says the timing of the ban is unfortunate and ignores the reality that science is not yet ready to bridge existing knowledge gaps and that non-animal alternatives cannot address all ingredient safety questions.

It has also questioned whether innovation will be hindered for the cosmetics industry in Europe.

Bertil Heerink, Director General of Cosmetics Europe commented; "The cosmetics industry is committed to eliminating testing in animals and has invested substantially in developing non-animal alternative methods."

"Moreover, the cosmetics industry is a flagship for Europe, which needs a strategy for growth and innovation; this needs to include a continuing commitment to encouraging alternatives development.”

Safety first

It is not the first time Cosmetics Europe has mentioned this topic, having voiced concerns over a year ago as to whether the timing would be right for the ban.

“You cannot dictate science by the clock,”Heerink told at the time​. “We need to find a balance so that we keep the capacity to innovate as well.”

Now, he adds: “unfortunately, by implementing the ban at this time, the European Union is jeopardizing the industry's ability to innovate, particularly for SMEs, a fact acknowledged by their own assessment.”

Heerink states that this runs contrary to its commitment to both a knowledge- and science-driven legislative approach and the Europe 2020 Strategy; however, highlighting the European cosmetics industry's long term, ongoing commitment to finally ending the need for animal testing, globally.

"Our industry's commitment to ending animal testing is solid and widely recognized and we continue to invest into finding viable alternatives. This research has been a major driver in improving animal welfare, and has provided results which are now benefiting many industrial sectors".

Other reactions

The announcement from Cosmetics Europe comes after the Cosmetics Toiletry and Perfumery Association in the UK, backed the ban​, saying it should ensure we will see greater collaboration between scientists and regulators, according to industry.

Dr Chris Flower, Director-General also reiterated that the primary objective of the cosmetics industry has always been safe, innovative cosmetics without the need for testing on animals.

Elsewhere, animal rights organisations have been very pleased that the ban has come into play, following years of campaigning, and survey results suggest that global consumers have welcomed the action too.

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