Why MEPs want a global ban on animal testing for cosmetics

Animal testing of cosmetics is already banned in the EU and now MEPs want the ban extended to the rest of the world.

Parliament is pushing for a global ban on testing cosmetics on animals

The EU's ban on animal testing for cosmetics


Animal testing for finished cosmetic products has been prohibited in the EU since 2004 and for cosmetic ingredients since 2009 as well.  Since 2009 it has also been illegal to market any cosmetic products in the EU that contain ingredients that have been tested on animals.


These bans have done much to boost animal welfare thanks to the EU's economic clout. Europe is the world's largest market for cosmetic products in the world and the European cosmetic sector provides about two million jobs. From soap and shampoo to make-up and perfumes, consumers use at least seven different cosmetic products every day. EU rules ensure that these products that come into contact with our body are safe for our health, but not at the expense of animals' welfare.


Call for a worldwide ban


While cosmetics testing on animals and the marketing of such products might be banned in the EU, it is still allowed in about 80% of countries around the world. 


On 3 May MEPs adopted a resolution calling for a global ban on animal testing for cosmetic products as well as on the trading of cosmetics ingredients tested on animals before 2023. They will vote on the resolution the following day.


The resolution calls for the EU to advocate the global ban within the UN framework and to make sure that its own testing ban is not watered down by ongoing trade negotiations or World Trade Organization rules.     


Maltese S&D member Miriam Dalli, co-author of the resolution, called the call a strong signal that animal testing for cosmetics in other countries can no longer be justified: “I believe that we have shown already as the EU that a ban can work and this is the time to actually act."


The resolution adds that the EU ban has not jeopardised the sector’s development and refers to the potential for innovation and research to develop alternative methods with effects that go beyond the cosmetics industry.


Animal welfare: a priority for Europeans


Europeans care deeply about animal welfare. According to a Eurobarometer survey in 2016,  90% of people in the EU agree that it is important to establish high animal welfare standards that are recognised across the world, while 89% say that the EU should do more to promote greater awareness of the importance of animal welfare internationally.