Yesterday in Part 1 of my feature about animal testing we looked at the experiments, the reasons behind them and tried to clarify some of the confusing misconceptions. In Part 2 we are going to look specifically at the European Union (EU) ban on animal testing, what it means and if it will have any impact.
The New Ban
To understand the new ban that was implemented on 11 March 2013 you need to know about the ban they started with in 2009. To give you a brief summary, in 2009 the European Union (EU) implemented a ban that cosmetic products and ingredients could not be tested on animals within its borders. This did have some impact but mostly it just moved testing to other parts of the world.
The new European Union ban will make it illegal, from 11 March 2013, to import or market a cosmetic product within the European Union if it contains ingredients that have been animal-tested outside of the EU after 11 March 2013. It therefore prohibits the sale of newly animal-tested cosmetics.
Image source: Wikipedia
Cruelty Free Europe
The news that this ban has come into effect is very exciting, especially for the thousands of people who tirelessly campaigned for this ban. They should be giving themselves a pat on the back. It is a huge achievement. However, not to take anything away from how good this result is, it is still rather confusing as to whether every beauty product sold in Europe is now considered Cruelty Free. It was the first question I put to our experts.
Michelle Thew, Chief Executive of Cruelty Free International explains how the ban effects current products on sale in the EU.
The EU ban for animal tested cosmetics is forward-looking, meaning that no further animal tests can be carried out for new cosmetics sold in the EU. Products that are currently on the market that have been animal tested before 11th March 2013 will still be available for sale in the EU. This means a big change for all companies wanting to sell new products in the EU as they cannot carry out animal tests after 11th March for products they want to sell in the EU.
Samantha Crosby, owner of CCF-certified and PETA-certified cruelty-free skincare company Ayana Organics, continues and raises a point about exceptions.
The EU ban means that all final products and all individual ingredients must not have been animal tested, regardless of where in the world the animal testing took place. This ban is for new products, so there will still be products on the shelves from prior to the ban being implemented. There is one exception to the new EU ban, and that is for cosmetics that contain pharmaceutical ingredients.
A pharmaceutical ingredient can be in many beauty products, often cosmeceuticals and products with potent active ingredients.
Once again, this is still a huge win for the Cruelty Free campaigners but Mark Kindness, CEO of The Body Shop Australia says the fight is far from over.
It means that cosmetic brands selling in Europe going forward cannot test, or market products that contain ingredients tested on animals from this point forward. But only in Europe, 80% of the world still allows animal testing and we still need to stop this.
Image source: My Beauty Bunny
In Part 1 we established that some markets (notably China) legally require all beauty products be tested on animals. When the EU ban was announced I was instantly puzzled by the conundrum brands would face if selling in China and the EU. Most of the big multinationals see both those markets as key players so I doubt we will see any of them withdrawing, but I wanted to know how this would be tackled. Could a product be sold in Europe AND in China?
Ms Crosby breaks it down for us.
Releasing a new product into both the Chinese and EU markets is going to present major challenges for multinational companies, given their now polarised legislation. China requires mandatory animal testing on new ingredients and the EU has now banned this. Companies may choose to offer different product ranges in China that are not available in the EU and vise versa.
I think offering different product ranges could be a good idea, but do we realistically expect Estée Lauder or Avon to recreate entirely new product lines for a market? Ms Thew explains that companies will not have to resort to this.
New cosmetics products cannot be sold both in China and in the EU from 11 March 2013, as China requires animal tests before cosmetics products can be sold there. The EU ban on animal tests for cosmetics only applies to the cosmetics a company sells in the EU, not the cosmetics it sells elsewhere in the world, which is why it is important to continue to shop with the Leaping Bunny.
There is still an ethical difference between those companies that meet the minimum legal requirements for the marketing of their products in the EU but continue to animal test for other world markets and a company that has made an ethical commitment to ending animal testing for all its products throughout the world.
What I take from this is that companies can produce different batches of product, and just because a beauty company sells their items in Europe it doesn’t mean they are cruelty free (and if you plan to still only buy Cruelty Free you should stick to the certified list from Leaping Bunny, PETA or CCF). But it got me thinking further, does that mean we will see one cosmetic company make two foundations with the exact name and branding but the contents inside are different for the various markets? And say for those of us in Australia and USA, where animal tested ingredients/products are neither banned or required, which version will be on our store shelves?
Ms Crosby answers.
Australian and USA shelves will be stocked with both non-animal tested products and those that have been animal tested. There is no legal requirement for animal testing to be done on cosmetics in either country. The FDA in the US encourages product testing to ensure that cosmetics are safe being sold, however they have not stipulated that this testing needs to be on animals. Many of the cosmetics products sold in Australia and in the USA have been tested on animals in other parts of the world. In both countries, this will, at least for the time being, come down to consumer education and ultimately, consumer choice.
I guess what these means for all consumers, no matter where in the world you are buying your cosmetics, you have to understand that it may be tested on animals, it may have ingredients tested on animals and even after all that it may still contain ingredients from a slaughtered animal. To be a truly informed consumer will require a lot of research and your own judgement on what you feel is fair and justifiable. However, things could all change if every nation were to ban animal testing and while it may be a hopeless dream in my head, I was still curious whether this ban has or could happen in other parts of the world.
That’s why Lush is focused on getting all other countries to follow suit, and ban animal testing. We have recently teamed up with the Humane Society International, and written an open letter to Accord Australian Limited and its counterparts around the world, calling on the cosmetics industry to end cosmetics cruelty altogether. We are also staging numerous campaigns and stunts throughout our 800 stores world-wide. If the European Union can do it, we believe the rest of the world can too. We will keep campaigning until animal testing for cosmetics ends for good! – Ayla Wilton, Lush Cosmetics Australia
There is no reason why other countries cannot follow the lead from the EU ban. Each region and country are at different stages of progress and support in relation to banning animal testing. We believe that the Ban in the EU will help pave the way for other countries to do the same. – Mark Kindness, The Body Shop Australia
Some other nations have banned animal tests for cosmetics. Our partner organization the BUAV lobbied successfully for a ban on animal testing ban for cosmetics taking place within the UK in 1997. Croatia has banned animal tests for cosmetics and household products and ingredients, and Norway has banned the use of animals to test cosmetics ingredients. Israel has followed the EU’s lead, implementing an import and sales ban on cosmetics, personal care products and household products at the same time as the European Union. However, there are no restrictions in other parts of the world, including Australia and the USA. In a global market it is important that all countries ban the practice to avoid animal testing simply being moved around the world to those countries with no effective laws.
The EU ban is a hugely significant step on our journey towards a global ban on animal tests for cosmetics that we and our partners have been campaigning for over 20 years. The European Union has taken a ground-breaking ethical decision for animals, which we expect to have a positive impact on governments’ policies and companies’ practices worldwide. We are working with governments and regulators in many countries throughout the world to ensure that bans on animal testing for cosmetics are introduced as quickly as possible.
In the meantime, we urge companies in the USA and Australia to apply for Leaping Bunny certification. Information on how to apply: www.gocrueltyfree.org/company – Michelle Thew, Cruelty Free International
What do you think of animal testing? Do you hope the ban is implemented worldwide? Let me know by commenting below!
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