European Commission accused of ‘ignoring’ citizens over cosmetic animal testing – despite decades-old ban

Author: Liam Gilliver

Read Time:   |  2nd August 2023

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The European Commission has come under fire after animal welfare advocates accused the body of ‘ignoring’ the wishes of millions of Europeans…


The European Commission has come under fire over its plan to ‘phase out’ animal testing.

This week, the governing body has kick-started efforts to eliminate animal tests for chemicals handled by industrial workers – or which may be released into the environment.

It has also outlined a long-term proposal to reduce, and then eliminate, the number of animals used in research and education.

However, the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) has slammed the announcement, arguing that millions of Europeans have been ‘ignored’.

What is the ECI?

The ECI was founded in 2021 by a slew of animal protection groups.

These include Cruelty Free Europe, Eurogroup for Animals, the European Coalition to End Animal Experiments, Humane Society International/Europe, and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

It also received backing from beauty giants The Body Shop and Dove. 

The ECI called for the strengthening and protection of the EU ban on animal testing for cosmetics.

It also wants a transformation of chemicals regulations to bring an end to testing on animals and a commitment to phasing out all testing on animals in Europe.

Photo © filin174 via Adobe Stock

Photo © filin174 via Adobe Stock

Cosmetic animal testing in the EU

Cosmetic animal testing has been banned in the EU since 2009.

However, the ECI says the safety assessment of chemicals and products for human health is undertaken under a variety of different regulatory bodies and legislation.

Therefore, it ‘continued animal testing for ingredients exclusively used in cosmetics despite the ban’.

This ‘violation’ is however justified by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and the European Commission who insist animal testing is required to protect workers and the environment.


‘No place in modern society’

Sabrina Engel is Chair of the ECI organising committee. In a statement sent to Vegan Food & Living, she said: “The people of Europe have made it clear. Experimentation on animals has no place in our modern society.

“While we welcome positive actions to replace the use of animals in experiments and chemicals tests… We wholly condemn the Commission for failing to end the suffering of thousands of animals used in cosmetics tests. 

“The Commission must now propose meaningful changes to existing legislation and policies to set member states, regulators, and assessment bodies on the path to phasing out all uses of animals in laboratories. 

“Therefore, we are calling on all actors to pursue the goals of the ECI.”

Want to avoid animal-tested cosmetics? Here’s how to find cruelty-free cosmetics

Featured photo © Ejla via Getty Images

Written by

Liam Gilliver

Liam is a journalist working for the Mirror, Daily Express, Daily Star and OK! Magazine. He's also the author of We're Worried About Him and has been published in the likes of The Independent, Huffington Post, and Attitude Magazine.

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