The EU Ban on Animal Testing went into effect on March 11, 2013. The ban promised to end animal testing on products sold in the EU – a huge step for animal lovers, animal activists and cruelty free consumers alike. While this ban is a great and huge step in the right direction there is still a lot of confusion about what the ban actually does to stop cosmetic companies from testing on animals. Especially when it comes to brands that state they only test on animals, “when required by law”.
It’s important to remember that the EU ban on animal testing extends only to the European Union. It is not a worldwide ban and it does not dictate the practices that brands have for selling outside of the EU. Before the ban went into effect, many saw it as a great sign that brands testing, “when required by law”, would have to change their ways in order to sell in the EU. However, this is not the case.
As stated by Leaping Bunny – “It is unlikely that the EU will force international brands to pull out of markets with animal testing requirements. Therefore, although it may appear to be inconsistent with the ban, companies may still be testing on animals to fulfill regulatory requirements in other countries.“
As stated on Go Cruelty Free, “When the ban takes effect, companies will not be able to animal test new cosmetic products and ingredients on sale in the EU. However, companies can still carry on animal testing cosmetics outside the EU where these cosmetics are also sold outside the EU. There are a number of issues for companies selling their products on the global market. For example, at present, before new products can go on sale in China, they must be submitted for testing to the Chinese authorities, which normally involves a range of animal tests.“
In the guest post, Are Cosmetics in the EU Truly Cruelty Free?, it was stated that new collections made for markets where testing is required would not be allowed to be sold in the EU. This matches with the above statement by Go Cruelty Free. Yet, it seems that this line is becoming more blurry since the ban went into effect. As shown in the case of the brand Shiseido, brands that currently test on animals when “required by law” will still be allowed to do so and sell in the EU market.
Brands that test on animals outside the EU will still be able to ship products into the EU for sale. The items available for purchase in the EU may be cruelty free, but the brand itself may not be.
These brands won’t be approved by Leaping Bunny or other groups that certify a true cruelty free status. These organizations will not endorse brands who take part in any animal testing, required by law or otherwise. So you will not see a logo for these organizations on brands who sell there animal testing is required by law. Looking for the Leaping Bunny certification on products is now even more important for this reason.
The list of cruelty free and vegan brands on Logical Harmony will remain a resource for individuals as well. Any brands that conduct any sort of animal testing are not included. This includes testing by a parent company, third party, distributor or where “required by law”. In an effort to be as accurate as possible, brands that are unclear or unresponsive about their stance on animal testing are also no included.
The European Union ban on animal testing is a huge step in the right direction and something to celebrate. Yet, it also shows that this is a worldwide issue that more countries need to be involved in. If we want change to happen, we have to start at home. Support cruelty free and vegan brands, show your support of the EU ban, support organizations that are working to change the laws where you live.