This may be the new series of the new year in Europe, just beside the never ending story of the crisis in the euro zone! But in this scenario, the European Commission is under the joint surveillance (but for different reasons) of animal advocates and cosmetics manufacturers.

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, 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 [1] remain exempted from these various prohibitions until a general marketing ban comes into force in March 2013.

While the European Commission recognized it would be impossible to fill the gaps regarding alternative methods to animal testing by the 2013 deadline, the European body said last September not to have the intention to propose postponing the deadline.

To break the deadlock, the solution proposed by the Commission exempt from the ban those ingredients “would bring considerable technical progress and a significant added value to the health and/or wellbeing of consumers/society or to the environment." In order to benefit of the exemption, concerned ingredients should have to go through a special approval procedure.

According to the European Coalition to End Animal Experiments (ECEAE), which revealed the intentions of the Commission, “this is unacceptable and would still allow cruel animal testing to take place for cosmetics products sold in Europe.

The ECEAE thus decided to mobilise its members and supporters by launching a petition against animal testing. For its part, PETA has enlisted singer Kimberly Wyatt, a former member of the Pussycat Dolls, to appear in a billboard campaign denouncing the ugly side of beauty.