European Commission gives in to demands of cosmetics industry

30 August 2012

European Commission gives in to demands of cosmetics industry

A ban on testing cosmetics on animals is once again threatened with postponement as the European Commission seems to be yielding to the cosmetics industry lobby in Brussels. In answers to parliamentary questions, the Commission has announced that the ban could be postposed and - according to SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong, fellow Dutch MEPs Judith Merkies (PvdA – Labour Party) and Bas Eickhout (Green Left), and Marja Zuidgeest of anti-animal testing group Proefdiervrij – is ignoring the possibility of applying animal-free methods.

The Commission is considering postponing a ban on the testing of cosmetics on animals planned for the entire European Union for 2013. 'They are once again allowing themselves to be led by the cosmetics lobby,’ says De Jong. ‘Instead of pushing this through now, they are getting weak in the knees, despite the fact that cosmetic firms have had ten years to prepare for this ban. The Commission is here showing its true face. It’s a slave to the big corporations.’

Green Left Euro-MP is equally disappointed, noting that ‘the Commission seems to be taking the easiest option. Instead of showing some backbone and standing behind animal-free testing, they’re reluctantly giving way to demands from the cosmetics industry. The Commission must put an immediate stop to this faffing around and ban cosmetics which depend on the suffering of animals.’

PvdA Euro-MP Judith Merkies agrees. ´A ban is a ban,’ she insists. ‘It’s not all that difficult, though. The Commission shouldn’t be coming out with half-hearted exceptions, but simply putting into place the complete ban and not allowing itself to be influenced by the lobby of big cosmetics firms. Innovation in alternative test methods is very much needed.’’

Proefdiervrij (‘Laboratory Animal Free’) director Marja Zuidgeest also described herself as ‘disappointed’ by the way in which the Commission is ignoring the possibilities offered by the application of animal-free testing methods. ‘It’s unacceptable for the Commission to put off the development of such methods by postponing or amending the ban,’ she says.

Since 2009 it has been forbidden within the EU to test cosmetics or ingredients of cosmetics on animals, or to import these products where they have been subject to animal tests, except where no alternative forms of test are available, or where the product in question has a specific health-related use, such as those for people with sensitive skin. These exceptions are set to expire next year.

The three MEPs have announced their intention to put follow-up questions on the matter, and to work towards building majority support within the European Parliament for a resolution countering any postponement.

See the earlier report on this issue: /node/1807

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