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EU Bans Sale of Cosmetics Tested on Animals

Andrea Germanos, staff writer

A ban on the sale of cosmetics tested on animals takes effect in the European Union on Monday. (Photo: tonx/flickr)

A ban on the sale of cosmetics tested on animals takes effect in the European Union on Monday.

The ban applies to the sale all cosmetic products and their ingredients, regardless of their place of origin.

"Today's entry into force of the full marketing ban gives an important signal on the value that Europe attaches to animal welfare," Tonio Borg, European Commissioner in charge of Health & Consumer Policy, said in a statement.  

BBC News reports:

The 27 EU countries have had a ban on such tests in place since 2009. But the EU Commission is now asking the EU's trading partners to do the same. [...]

Despite the EU's 2009 ban, cosmetics firms were allowed to continue testing on animals for the most complex human health effects, such as toxicity which might lead to cancer. However, those tests now come under the ban too.

Kathy Guillermo, vice president of laboratory investigations at PETA, writes that March 11 will be remembered as a "monumental day for animals, consumers and modern science," and adds that it is not only a win for animals, but for public health:

Because human and animal genetic makeup is vastly different, tests performed on donated human tissue are much more reliable indicators of a chemical's effects than tests done on animals, decreasing the likelihood of a product having adverse effects. For instance, instead of measuring how damaging a chemical is to a rabbit's cornea, manufacturers can drop that same chemical onto human tissue grown in a laboratory and get a much more accurate analysis. And instead of grinding chemicals into an animal's skin for irritancy testing, researchers can use human skin cultures. These and other non-animal tests are also usually less expensive and yield results more quickly than animal tests do, which helps keep consumer costs down.

The Humane Society International (HSI) also lauded the move.

“Testing cosmetics on rabbits and guinea-pigs is the ugly face of the beauty industry,” Troy Seidle, Be Cruelty-Free campaign director for HSI, said in a statement. “With the EU closing its doors to animal-tested cosmetics, the beginning of the end of global cosmetics cruelty is within our grasp. EU citizens made it clear that they don’t want their mascara or shampoo to have been dripped in a rabbit’s eye or force fed to mice in massive doses, no matter where in the world that suffering has taken place. EU policymakers listened, and today is a major moral milestone in the history of ending cosmetics animal testing."


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