Campaigners Condemn Industry’s Legal Bid to Weaken EU Cosmetics Animal Testing Ban

Campaigners Condemn Industry’s Legal Bid to Weaken EU Cosmetics Animal Testing Ban

There is breaking news in the potential changes to the EU ban on animal testing! On November 25, 2014 Logical Harmony posted about about how an Industry Bid Could Overturn the EU Cosmetics Animal Testing Ban. In the most recent update from Humane Society International, that bid has been approved to go on to the European Court. The bid is seeking to allow EU cosmetics companies to use results from new animal testing conducted in non-EU countries to meet non-EU regulations. This has major implications for animal testing and would greatly weaken the current animal testing ban in the EU.

#BeCrueltyFree Campaigners Condemn Industry’s ‘Greedy’ Legal Bid to Weaken EU Cosmetics Animal Testing Ban

Legal action is betrayal of EU consumers, says Humane Society International

LONDON – (12 Dec. 2014) Animal protection campaigners Humane Society International are concerned that the High Court today decided not to dismiss a legal bid by ingredient suppliers to the cosmetics industry to undermine the EU’s historic cosmetics animal testing ban. The legal action, which is now referred to the Euoropean Court of Justice, could now take two years to resolve, and if ultimately successful could risk once again condemning rabbits and other animals to painful eye, skin and force-feeding tests for ingredients used in cosmetics.

Humane Society International’s #BeCrueltyFree campaign team was at the High Court for the judgement. #BeCrueltyFree is the world’s leading initiative for a global end to animal testing for cosmetics. The high-profile campaign – which has the backing of stars such as Sir Paul McCartney and Leona Lewis – was instrumental in securing implementation of the EU ban on sales of animal-tested cosmetics on 11 March 2013, and culminated with a rabbit flash-mob outside the European Commission in Brussels to present nearly half a million petition signatures.

The High Court action was brought by the European Federation for Cosmetic Ingredients, a trade association representing more than 100 specialty chemical producers who supply ingredients to cosmetics manufacturers. EFfCI claimed that when new animal testing is carried out in non-EU countries to meet non-EU regulations, cosmetics companies should be allowed to use those animal test results to develop or sell cosmetics in Europe, even if the animal testing was done after the EU ban came into force. Today, the judge ruled that EFfCI should be able to take its claim to the European Court – whose ultimate decision will have effect across the European Union.

If ultimately successful at the ECJ, EFfCI’s claim could destroy the EU ban because it would effectively allow a company to test its cosmetics ingredients on animals outside the EU for non-EU regulatory purposes, and still use and sell that ingredient in cosmetics within the EU market.

Susie Wilks, HSI’s #BeCrueltyFree Policy Advisor, said from the High Court: “The industry’s legal action could be a potential disaster for animal welfare and is a betrayal of the clearly expressed desire by EU consumers to end cruel and needless animal testing for cosmetics no matter where in the world that animal testing is taking place. EFfCI’s case would undermine both the spirit and the letter of the EU ban, effectively allowing companies to continue testing cosmetics on animals abroad, and importing them back into the EU. We hope the ECJ will see fit to reject this case and find in favour of a strong and comprehensive ban.  

“Whilst the rest of the world looks to the EU’s historic test ban as a pioneering example of animal-friendly regulation that promotes modern science and safeguards consumer safety, industry has taken this greedy and self-serving legal case that could condemn animals to suffering simply so that EFfCI can sell more cosmetics ingredients to its customers. Testing cosmetics on animals is morally wrong and scientifically unnecessary; innovative new beauty products using existing ingredients can be created without new animal testing, and it is clear that the future of safety regulation lies in adoption of more human-relevant non animal tests.. So the industry should be ashamed that it is attempting to turn the clock back on a world-leading law that says an animal’s life is worth more than a new face cream. ”

It is unknown whether EFfCI was acting alone, or whether its member chemical or cosmetics companies benefiting from the anonymity of their trade association membership are behind the legal challenge. EFfCI’s Associate Members include the UK’s BACS Personal Care Group representing around 120 members including Marks & Spencer and The Co-operative Group – both certified as cruelty-free by the international Leaping Bunny standard.

HSI’s Susie Wilks said: “As this legal action has been fronted by a trade association, it’s impossible to know which companies are really behind it. If cruelty-free company associate members were unaware that their trade association is attempting to undermine the EU’s cosmetics animal testing ban, we would expect them to be very alarmed indeed and make their objections known.”

HSI estimates that between 100,000 – 200,000 rabbits, guinea pigs, mice and other animals suffer each year in cosmetics tests globally. These involve rabbits being restrained and having chemicals dripped in their eyes, guinea pigs having raw chemicals applied to their shaved skin, and rodents having chemicals pumped directly into their stomach in huge and even lethal doses. Such animal testing, and the sale of cosmetics so tested, is now outlawed throughout the 28 countries of the EU, EFTA countries, Israel and India. #BeCrueltyFree campaigning has also resulted in legislative proposals for similar bans in Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, Taiwan and the United States.


  • #BeCrueltyFree is the largest campaign in the world to end cosmetics animal testing, supported by stars such as Leona Lewis, Rick Gervais and Melanie C
  • More than 1 million #BeCrueltyFree pledges have been signed so far for a worldwide end to cosmetics cruelty
  • There are more than 600 cosmetics companies certified as cruelty-free under the international Leaping Bunny scheme
  • An estimated 8,000 or more cosmetic ingredients are already available and in widespread global use. Companies can manufacture cosmetics without animal testing by combining existing ingredients with histories of safe use — for which no new testing is required — with state-of-the-art non-animal tests
  • An ever-growing number of non-animal tests are available and accepted by regulatory authorities worldwide, including the human reconstructed skin models EpiDerm™ and EPISKIN™ for skin irritation, the Fluroescein Leakage test for eye irritation, and the 3T3 Neutral Red Uptake test for sunlight-induced phototoxicity.

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