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Cosmetics brands unite in call to uphold animal testing ban

Gaelle Walker
03 December 2020

More than 450 cruelty free cosmetic brands, plus animal protection organisations, have joined forces in calling on EU authorities to uphold the current animal testing ban and halt new regulations, which they say, would bring it in by the back-door.

The companies, including Aesop, Dove, Liz Earle, Molton Brown and The Body Shop have signed an open letter to European authorities urging them to uphold the EU Cosmetics Regulation's animal testing and marketing bans and prohibit any new tests on animals.

Since 2009, tests on animals for cosmetics ingredients have been banned in the EU under the Cosmetics Regulation.

However, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), supported by the European Commission and the ECHA Board of Appeal, is now demanding new tests on animals for cosmetics ingredients under the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) Chemicals Regulation.

The letter, addressed to European Parliament president David Maria Sassoli, president of the European Council Charles Michel and president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, states: “The EU Cosmetics Regulation animal testing and marketing bans have been used as the gold standard around the world – setting the precedent for cosmetics products and ingredients to be used safely without subjecting animals to cruel and unnecessary tests.

“These bans have now been dealt a devastating blow following a series of regulatory decisions made by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), with support from the European Commission and ECHA's own Board of Appeal.

“ECHA is now requiring some widely used cosmetics ingredients (and ingredients used in many other types of consumer products) to be tested on thousands of animals under the guise of the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulation.  

“As a direct result of these decisions, the use of thousands of rats and rabbits in tests is required, some of whom will be force-fed a cosmetics ingredient throughout pregnancy before they and their unborn offspring are killed and dissected. REACH must not be used to circumvent the Cosmetics Regulation and render the cosmetics testing and marketing bans meaningless.”

The approach would also undermine the purpose and value of the Cosmetics Regulation and would have “consequences for citizens around the globe who want to purchase cruelty-free products.”

Some 84% of respondents to a recent global survey saying they would not buy a cosmetics product if they knew it (or one of its ingredients) had been tested on animals, the letter concluded.


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