It had been coming for quite some time, and many were wondering whether it would stick to the original plans, but on March 11, 2013, the EU ban came into place, confirmed by new health commissioner Tonio Borg.
“Having the EU ban is a great foundation and can hopefully help to spread the campaign into other markets,” said Cruelty Free International chief executive, Michelle Thew, at the time.
Conditions of the ban mean that it is now illegal to sell cosmetics in the EU if they have been tested on animals anywhere in the world.
The new regulation in place in Europe also prompted other bodies around the world to announce their attention to follow suit, with Israel and India getting on board immediately; and animal testing has become a talking point elsewhere.
The use of animals has never been encouraged by industry in Europe, but the main concern was always on the safety of the products placed on the market.
The complete ban on the sale of cosmetics developed through animal testing in the EU should ensure we will see greater collaboration between scientists and regulators, according to Dr Chris Flower, Director-General of the CTPA in the UK, where animal testing has been banned since 1997.
On the day of the ban, he said that great strides have been taken in the cosmetics industry, and that this has influenced animal welfare developments in other sectors too.
There has certainly been a stronger emphasis on effective alternatives since the ban came into play, with several skin reaction tests developed by a number of organisations as well as an increase in investment into toxicology research.
On the consumer side, things have also started to have an effect as studies show that consumers around the world show greater confidence in a cosmetic product’s safety if it has not been tested on animals.
Question of China
The ban and increased focus has also raised the question of the situation in China where animal testing is still allowed and is often required when placing a product on the market.
This has seen many manufacturers opt out of the market for this reason, and has also seen increased pressure on a lot of the big market players who continue to do strong business in the region.
These companies do not promote animal testing and adhere to the laws elsewhere, but their decision to stay in the market, albeit lucrative, has drawn heat from campaign groups.
There has been signs of possible improvement here though, as the Chinese government has announced that the country's main cosmetics regulation is to be revised and this could offer the opportunity for the industry to move beyond animal testing.