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Uncaged defends 2013 EU ban on animal-tested cosmetics
You would think that, in this day and age, testing cosmetics on animals was a thing of the past. Indeed, most people assume we've put this barbaric practice behind us, largely because in 1998 the Government announced it would no longer be permitted in the UK. Many consumers assume that no company could or would dream of poisoning and killing animals for such trivial purposes.
Sadly, that doesn't account for the callous greed of companies like Procter & Gamble, who have been avoiding this ban by animal testing cosmetics chemicals overseas. They are quite content to subject countless thousands of animals to abuse if they think it will help boost profits.
Nevertheless, after decades of public outrage, in 2003 the European Union adopted the 7th amendment to the Cosmetics Directive, which requires the sale of cosmetics containing ingredients tested on animals to be banned from 2013. Importantly, the Commission stated this ban will be introduced "irrespective of the availability of alternative non-animal tests".
The EU is the most lucrative market in the world, so if the sales ban is implemented it will put enormous pressure on companies like Procter & Gamble (P&G) to stop testing cosmetics on thousands of animals and develop non-animal alternatives for all types of animal toxicity tests. This will accelerate the evolution of a new humane and superior testing system for all chemicals, not just those used in cosmetics, thereby saving millions of animals from deliberate suffering and death.
However, P&G and other corporations have been lobbying the European Commission behind the scenes, and now it has emerged that the ban is in jeopardy. These companies have had many years to develop and validate non-animal alternatives. But instead of doing the decent thing and getting on with humane research, they have decided to defy public opinion and oppose the democratic decision to ban cruel cosmetics from European shelves.
Earlier this autumn, the European Commission held a 'public' consultation exercise about the future of the 2013 ban. The Commission already appears to have been 'captured' by the big cosmetics companies, because the consultation only asked for progress reports on the development of non-animal alternatives. They didn't ask the deeper question about the compelling ethical and democratic reasons why the ban must be implemented on time.
Uncaged has urged that the 2013 ban should be maintained. We are informing the Commission that the majority of European citizens do not wish to purchase cosmetics containing ingredients tested on animals because they believe that the development of new cosmetics does not justify the suffering caused. Uncaged believes that this ethical principle must underpin the EU approach to the Cosmetics Directive if the EU is to retain any democratic legitimacy. Fundamentally, this is a social justice issue rather than a technical one. Furthermore, a delay in the 2013 ban would also remove a key incentive for industry to invest in and develop non-animal alternatives to all toxicity tests, thereby undermining not only animal welfare but human health, given the weaknesses in animal test methods.
The responsibility for this decision is shared between the European Commission, the European Parliament and the national governments of the member states. At the moment, we need to focus on asking MEPs to do their utmost to protect the 2013 ban: please send this template letter to your MEP(s).
Uncaged Campaigns 19.11.10