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MEPs say no to cosmetics testing

MEPs have once again defied the EU Commission and the Council of Ministers by voted to support a ban both animal testing for cosmetics in Europe plus an EU-wide ban on the sale of new animal tested cosmetics by a two-tier deadline.

The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) which has been leading the campaign to end cosmetics animal testing, welcomed the resolve of MEPs to listen to the will of European citizens, but warned that there is likely to be a battle ahead between the Parliament and the Commission. For the second time, MEPs have listened to the will of the European public and demonstrated their opposition to animal testing for cosmetics* and defied the European Commission and the Council of Ministers.

They voted for: 1. an EU ban on animal testing for cosmetics by 31 December 2004 2. an immediate ban on the sale of new animal tested cosmetics where non-animal alternative tests exist 3. a ban on the sale of new animal tested cosmetics within 5 years for all others with a 10 year ban deadline for 3 test areas (reproductive toxicity, toxicokinetics and repeat dose toxicity) 4. positive labelling for new cosmetics that have been tested on animals 5. fair labelling for cruelty-free cosmetics.

The proposal for a complete sales ban within five years fell by only 24 votes in Parliament, demonstrating just how strongly MEPs support an end to animal tested cosmetics.


However, in a speech Enterprise Commissioner Erkki Liikanen remarkably indicated that the Commission would not accept the Parliament’s position, and the two institutions look set to clash over the issue.

Very shortly the Council of Ministers will meet again to discuss the Parliament’s position. At the last Ministers meeting in November 2001, the UK government (represented by the DTI) betrayed lab animals and the UK public by voting for much weaker proposals. If the Council and the Parliament cannot agree, it will go to conciliation.

Wendy Higgins, BUAV Campaigns Director said: “We have to congratulate MEPs for standing up to relentless pressure to back down from the industry, the Council of Ministers and the Commission. Very soon, the Council of Ministers will meet to debate the Parliament’s position, and we call on the UK government not to betray lab animals a second time at these talks.

The UK must take the lead and support this vote or industry will win the day over animal protection and the concerns of millions of EU citizens. If the Commission and the Council do refuse to listen to the will of Parliament, the BUAV will be calling on MEPs to reject the Commission’s proposals altogether.”

* In April 2001 MEPs voted overwhelmingly for a combined EU animal testing and sale ban for animal tested cosmetics.