Commissioner Borg confirmed earlier positionThe European coalition of leading animal protection organisations across Europe (ECEAE), the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) as well as Cruelty Free International and People for the Ethical treatment of Animals (PETA) have celebrated the achievement of their long-run campaign to end animal testing by the cosmetics industry in Europe.
Indeed, the new commissioner for health and consumer policy, Tonio Borg wrote in a letter to animal testing campaigners, “I believe that the ban should enter into force in March 2013 as Parliament and Council have already decided. I am therefore not planning to propose a postponement or derogation to the ban.” Mr Borg also confirmed this position in a recent meeting with animal rights organisation in Brussels. As a consequence, the full ban should take effect in little more than a month, on the 11th of March 2013, as scheduled.
“PETA has responded by sending a huge bouquet of flowers in thanks and is encouraging supporters to do the same,” said the organization in a release, and Cruelty Free International Chief Executive, Michelle Thew, said this is “the culmination of over 20 years of campaigning.”
“We were aware - via the public calendar - that Commissioner Borg was meeting with a delegation from BUAV and other NGOs on Wednesday [January 30]. Such meetings are commonplace for European Commissioners,” said Colin Mackay, Communications Director at Cosmetics Europe, which represents the interests of the cosmetics industry in Europe. “The confirmation of the ban has been in the public domain for some time, so from the perspective of Cosmetics Europe, this was not a notable development,” he added.
Specific tests on ingredients are concerned
Testing finished cosmetic products on animals has been prohibited in the European Union (EU) since 2004, as with animal testing of ingredients since 2009. In addition to these prohibitions, after March 2009 there has been a marketing ban on selling cosmetic products within the EU containing ingredients that have been tested on animals after this date, irrespective of the place of testing. However, some very complex tests  remain exempted from these various prohibitions until a general marketing ban comes into force in March 2013.
While the cosmetics-testing ban has driven the development of non-animal testing methods, which can replace the use of animals in certain safety testing procedures, there are still important safety areas where alternative tests are lacking. Last year, several European scientific committees have expressed doubts about the possibility to combine this final ban with the goal to reach the highest level of safety for consumers, in particular in emerging fields such as the use of nanoparticles in cosmetic products.
So far, as no official text was issued to detail the conditions under which the full ban would enter into application, most of important questions for the industry therefore remain unsolved.