On Monday 11 March 2013,  the last deadline to phase out animal testing for cosmetic products in Europe has entered into force. From now on, cosmetics tested on animals cannot be marketed any more in the EU. This is a historic event and also a major success for the Animal Welfare Intergroup which has contributed with its initiatives to make this ban come true.

The Commission has thoroughly assessed the impacts of the marketing ban and considers that there are overriding reasons to implement it. This is in line with what many European citizens believe firmly: that the development of cosmetics does not warrant animal testing.

The quest to find alternative methods will continue as full replacement of animal testing by alternative methods is not yet possible. The Communication outlines the Commission’s contribution to the research into alternative methods and the recognition that these efforts must be continued. The Commission has made about EUR 238 million available between the years 2007 and 2011 for such research. The cosmetics industry has contributed as well, for example by co-funding the SEURAT[1] research initiative with EUR 25 million.

However, it should be noted that the Commission has  interpreted the ban in such a way as to allow continued use of  ingredients tested on animals to meet the requirements of   “non-cosmetics related legislative frameworks“. This means that there  is still a loophole that needs to be closed.

The leading and global role of Europe in cosmetics requires reaching out to trading partners to explain and promote the European model and to work towards the international acceptance of alternative methods. The Commission will make this an integral part of the Union’s trade agenda and international cooperation.


Directive 2003/15/EC introduced provisions in relation to animal testing into the Cosmetic Directive 76/768/EEC. Accordingly, animal testing in the Union is already prohibited since 2004 for cosmetic products and since 2009 for cosmetic ingredients (‘testing ban’). As from March 2009, it is also prohibited to market in the Union cosmetic products containing ingredients which have been tested on animals (‘marketing ban’). For the most complex human health effects (repeated-dose toxicity, including skin sensitisation and carcinogenicity, reproductive toxicity and toxicokinetics) the deadline for the marketing ban was extended to 11 March 2013.



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