Ban on sale of cosmetics tested on animals a major step forward – the first day of a new future

Eurogroup for Animals welcomes the final phase in the total ban on the sale of cosmetic products which contain ingredients that have been tested on animals which comes into force today.

This is a major step forward for animal welfare and proves that alternatives to animal testing can be developed and used successfully to ensure consumer safety. This is the first day of a new future and with continued investment Eurogroup hopes that new test methods for other sectors will be developed quickly to reduce further animal suffering.

Despite taking ten years and a step by step approach the final exemptions have now been closed and no cosmetic can be sold in Europe that has been tested on animals. The European Union has taken a bold step and is showing the rest of the world what can be done, it has clearly stated in Directive 2010/63/EU on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes that if an alternative non-animal test method exists it must be used instead.

“We would like to thank everyone who has made this day possible and to celebrate with the animals who will no longer routinely be tested. This is the first step on a long journey and we urge all the stakeholders that have been involved in developing alternatives to animal testing to remain committed and to encourage the European Commission and industry to continue to invest and develop new tests that can replace the use of animals year on year,” commented Reineke Hameleers, Director at Eurogroup for Animals.

“However this success is only a success within the European Union and we encourage Commissioner Borg and his team to work to encourage third countries such as the US and China to follow our lead and phase out animal testing on cosmetics as quickly as possible. Europe has proved that consumer safety can be maintained without the use of animals so there is no barrier to change,” she concluded.

Eurogroup will continue to work to ensure that this major success continues to develop and that funding and expertise are maintained to increase the number of alternative test methods and that they spread to other sectors and legislative processes, ultimately ending the need to use animals in research.

1. Eurogroup for Animals represents animal welfare organisations of nearly all EU Member States. Since its launch in 1980, the organisation has succeeded in encouraging the EU to adopt higher legal standards for animal protection. Eurogroup represents public opinion through its membership organisations across the Union, and has both the scientific and technical expertise to provide authoritative advice on issues relating to animal welfare. For more information about Eurogroup, visit

2. In 2003, the 7th amendment (2003/15/EC) to the Cosmetics Directive (76/768/EEC) was adopted. It foresaw a regulatory framework with the aim of phasing out animal testing for cosmetics. It stipulated:
• an immediate prohibition to test finished cosmetic products on animals (11 September 2004).
• a testing ban on ingredients or combination of ingredients applied since 11 March 2009, irrespective of the availability of alternative methods
• a marketing ban on cosmetic products and ingredients tested outside the EU has applied since 11 March 2009 for all human health effects with the exception of repeated-dose toxicity, reproductive toxicity and toxicokinetics. For these specific health effects the marketing ban entered into force today, the 11 March 2013, irrespective of the availability of alternative non-animal tests

The European Commission communication laying out the dates for the animal testing and marketing ban can be found here.

3. On 22 September 2010 the EU adopted Directive 2010/63/EU which updates and replaces the 1986 Directive 86/609/EEC on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes. The aim of the new Directive is to strengthen legislation, and improve the welfare of those animals still needed to be used, as well as to firmly anchor the principle of the Three Rs, to Replace, Reduce and Refine the use of animals, in EU legislation. Directive 2010/63/EU took full effect from 1 January 2013. Article 4 of the directive states that wherever possible a scientific satisfactory method or testing strategy not entailing the use of live animals shall be used instead.