It was a movement that began about a decade ago: The European Union in 2004 banned animal testing of finished cosmetic products; with a ban on animal testing of any ingredient within the product scheduled to occur in 2009. Due to heavy lobbying by cosmetic manufacturers, the 2009 deadline was extended because there are no existing non-animal alternatives for some of the tests that are required for manufacturers to bring their products to market. But as of March 11, 2013, the ban on the import and sale of cosmetics containing ingredients tested on animals is in full effect in the EU.
What does this mean for European consumers (and the rest of us)?
First of all, the new law grandfathers in all existing products and formulations, so any existing products can continue to be produced and/or sold in the EU, even if the products or their components use animal testing.
However, any new products or ingredients tested on animals will no longer be allowed to be sold in the EU, regardless of where they are manufactured. This means that manufacturers of cosmetics – from mascara to sunscreen – in countries across the globe will have to reconsider, and likely revise, their testing procedures if they wish to sell in the European Union.
In some countries, such as China, animal testing is actually required for cosmetic products, in order to insure safety. The goal now is going to be advocating for the use and acceptance of in vitro testing as much as possible in place of animal testing.
Pros and Cons of the Ban on Animal Testing
I think most people can admit that we would like to see animal testing (especially for products seen as “purely cosmetic”) used as little as possible. The problem is that, in many cases, there is simply no alternative to measure the safety and efficacy of these products. And in cases where human safety is the issue, some argue that testing on animals is a small price to pay.
At Bel Mondo, we are proud to say that neither our products nor our ingredients have been tested on animals.