Animal protection organisations and cosmetics brands defend animal testing bans
The animal testing and marketing bans included in the EU Cosmetics Regulation have been used as the gold standard around the world: setting the precedent for products and ingredients to be sold without subjecting animals to cruel tests. These bans have now been dealt a devastating blow following a series of decisions taken by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), with support from the European Commission and the ECHA Board of Appeal.
ECHA’s decision totally contradicts the European Parliament’s call in May 2018 for a worldwide ban on testing cosmetics on animals by 2023. ECHA is now requiring some widely used cosmetics ingredients to be tested on thousands of animals to be in line with the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals regulation (REACH). This undermines the purpose and value of the EU Cosmetics Regulation, and it could also impact non-EU countries, potentially compromising the legislative development of their own animal testing bans.
One of the principal objectives of the Cosmetics Regulation is the protection of human health, with the intention that this be safeguarded in all situations. The ingredients at the centre of ECHA's decisions have a long history of safe use by consumers and have been handled safely in factories for many years. It is perfectly possible to use exposure-based weight-of-evidence assessments, employing a variety of non-animal data, to fill any perceived critical information gaps.
The EU ambitions for chemical safety cannot be addressed with more animal testing. The Commission’s future policy for chemicals regulation – the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability – is set to greatly expand testing requirements for cosmetics and other chemicals. Animal-free safety assessment approaches will be an absolute necessity to guarantee the safety of humans, animals and the environment under the goals of the EU Green Deal.
“At a time where we clearly need concerted actions and strategies to move towards more effective and humane science, it is disappointing to see the only historical ban on animal tests being shredded. We hope the Commission, the Parliament, and the Council do everything in their power to uphold the will of the public and enforce the animal testing ban for cosmetics. Moreover, it is high time for the Commission to lead the way towards human-relevant science and formulate a strategy to phase out the use of animals for other testing purposes, research and education in all scientific areas” commented Reineke Hamelleers, CEO, Eurogroup for Animals.
The open letter and list of signatories can be downloaded here.