On 7 November 2002, representatives of the European Parliament and the Council, which is comprised of representatives from the European Union's (EU's) 15 member governments, agreed to modify Directive 76/768/EEC (ref. 1) by introducing a ban on animal testing for cosmetic products2. This ban still needs to be approved by the full European Parliament and member nations.
The purpose of this new directive is to protect and improve the welfare of animals used for experimental purposes by promoting the development and use of scientifically valid methods of alternative testing. The directive has four main objectives:
“[T]o prohibit in the Community the testing of cosmetic products on animals;
“[T]o prohibit in the Community the testing of cosmetic ingredients on animals and the marketing of cosmetics tested on animals or containing ingredients tested on animals as soon as alternative testing methods have been validated by the Commission, with due regard to validation within the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD);
“[T]o align the provisions of Directive 76/768/EEC with the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO); and
“[T]o improve consumer information in relation to the use of cosmetic products.”
The European Parliament and Council agreed to implement the marketing and testing bans in 2009, to give cosmetic companies time to develop non-animal tests.
The EU had previously rejected a June 2002 proposal to ban testing of cosmetic products on animals, fearing that it would disadvantage European exporters and violate world trade rules. If implemented, this new ban would affect the ∼8,000 current cosmetic ingredients as well as any new ingredients used in the EU's $44-billion-a-year cosmetic industry. Only three EU countries currently ban animal testing of cosmetic ingredients: Britain, Austria, and The Netherlands3.
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Parliament–Council Conciliation Committee. Agreement on the banning of animal testing for cosmetics. (7 November 2002). http://ue.eu.int/pressData/en/misc/ 73127.pdf.
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Shalev, M. European Union Considers Banning Animal Testing for Cosmetics. Lab Anim 32, 19 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1038/laban0103-19a