Agreement on the banning of animal testing for cosmetics

November 8, 2002

Copenhagen, 07 Nov 2002

Parliament - Council Conciliation Committee
Agreement on the banning of animal testing for cosmetics

The Council and the European Parliament, meeting in the Conciliation Committee, reached agreement today on a modification of Directive 76/768/EEC introducing a ban on animal testing for cosmetic products. The agreement must now be endorsed by the Parliament (majority of votes cast) and the Council (qualified majority voting procedure) for the directive to be adopted.

The new directive is aimed at improving animal welfare without jeopardising consumer safety and the protection of human health, whilst enabling the Community to respect its international obligations. It is part of a broader initiative intended to ensure optimal protection for animals used for experimental purposes by promoting the development of alternative testing methods through co-ordination of all available scientific resources, and ensuring that alternative methods are effectively used when they exist and are scientifically validated.

The text agreed on by the Conciliation Committee has four main objectives:

– to prohibit in the Community the testing of cosmetic products on animals;

– to prohibit in the Community the testing of cosmetic ingredients on animals and the marketing of cosmetics tested on animals or containing ingredients tested on animals as soon as alternative testing methods have been validated by the Commission, with due regard to validation within the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD);

– to align the provisions of Directive 76/768/EEC with the rules of the World Trade Organisation (WTO);

– to improve consumer information in relation to the use of cosmetic products.

Parliament and Council reached agreement on the introduction of deadlines for the introduction of the marketing ban and the testing ban up to a maximum of 6 years from the entry into force of the new directive. The Commission would however be empowered, if necessary, to allow Member States to derogate from the bans, by means of a committee procedure, in exceptional circumstances where serious concerns arise as regards the safety of an existing cosmetic ingredient.

Danish Minister for the Environment, Hans Christian Schmidt added: "It is of great importance to me that we can now see an end to animal testing of cosmetic products. I am pleased that we were able to solve the problem during the Danish EU Presidency. Both Parliament and Member States should be commended for their flexibility.

The ban on testing of cosmetic products on animals within the EU is in itself a great win for animal welfare. But in order to prevent import into the Community of products that are tested in third countries, it was also very important that agreement was reached on the ban on marketing. I am convinced that the ban on marketing in the long run will benefit animal welfare outside the EU. Finally I take good comfort in the fact that the compromise allows for the development of alternative testing methods of cosmetics to the benefit of consumer safety. All in all we have achieved a well balanced agreement".

The proposal will have to be finally adopted by European Parliament and council.

Contact information
Head of division, Lisbet Seedorff, the Danish Environmental Protection Agency tel. + 45 32 66 02 80 Ton Huyssuon, European Parliament press service tel + 32 2 284 24 08

Danish Presidency Website

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