Animal testing of cosmetics: MEPs call for worldwide ban

By Lucy Whitehouse

- Last updated on GMT

Animal testing of cosmetics: MEPs call for worldwide ban

Related tags European union

The EU could be on the cusp of a diplomatic drive for a worldwide ban on the testing of cosmetics on animals.

MEPs from the EU’s Environment Committee have said that we should aim for a global ban by 2023, in a move which would allow for greater regulatory harmonisation and readier trade for the industry.

The EU has had a full ban in place since 2013, and says this “has not jeopardized cosmetics industry development”​.

MEPs are now calling on the 80% of countries who still allow animal testing of cosmetics to implement similar bans, and has called for a UN convention on this issue.

According to the Special Eurobarometer survey No 442 of March 2016​, 89% of EU citizens agree that the EU should do more to promote a greater awareness of the importance of animal welfare internationally.

Furthermore, 90% of EU citizens agree that it is important to establish high animal welfare standards that are recognised across the world.

Shortcomings from lack of widespread ban

MEPs note that the EU ban not impacted negatively on the industry, and indeed at times it can be undermined by other markets not having bans in place.

Part of the motivation behind the call for a worldwide ban is the fact that “shortcomings have appeared within the EU system, as some cosmetics are tested on animals outside the EU before being re-tested in the EU using alternative methods and placed on the EU market,​” the MEPs say.

Further to this, as most cosmetic product ingredients are also used in many other products, such as pharmaceuticals, detergents or foods, it is likely that they have therefore have been tested on animals under a different legal framework anyway.

As such, the MEPs are calling on the EU to support the development of alternative testing methods.

Collaborative approach

In a statement released on the call for the ban, the MEPs say: “to work towards a global ban on both animal testing for cosmetics and on the trade in cosmetic ingredients tested on animals, MEPs call on EU leaders to use their diplomatic networks to build a coalition and to launch an international convention within the UN framework.

“They also want to make sure that the EU ban is not weakened, whether in trade negotiations or by World Trade Organisation rules.”

The MEPs have proposed a formal resolution, approved unanimously by 63 votes, and it will be put to a vote at the European Parliament’s plenary session in March in Strasbourg.

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