European cosmetics are not tested on Animals - it's been banned for years.
It was Anita Roddick and her company, ‘The Body Shop’, that first alerted me to the issue of animal testing in cosmetics during the 1980’s. As a teenager, I used to look on the back of products to see if the ‘not tested on animals’ claim was there. It brought the issue to the attention of the media and to those of us who bought the products. It started a movement that has led to the total ban on animal testing in Europe.
The UK eventually banned the testing of finished cosmetic products on animals in 1997 with Europe taking a little longer, eventually introducing a ban in September 2004. This was followed in July 2013 by a complete animal testing ban of all individual cosmetic ingredients for products sold within the EU. I think most of us would agree that this is good news.
Animal testing in cosmetics was historically used to ensure the safety of products to human health. Everything was tested from essential oils to synthetic ingredients. In cosmetics and personal care, we can now ensure products and their individual ingredients are safe by using safety profile assessments. These reports can only be carried out by experienced toxicologists who also take personal responsibility for the safety of each formulation they sign off. The majority of products are made from ingredients that have a well-established safety record and this information is stored in the scientist’s database. These individual ingredients can also be analysed to ensure their safety within a formulation.
There are some countries outside of the EU that still require some animal testing of certain cosmetics under their own laws. However, this is under review and a worldwide ban is a real possibility very soon.
I’m sometimes asked why I don’t make a ‘cruelty free’ claim on my packaging. It’s simple, the criteria for making cosmetic claims (which are now part of European cosmetics law) prohibits claims that simply state compliance with the legal requirements. Since the ban on animal testing applies equally to all cosmetic products sold in the EU, it’s just a claim stating the obvious. I think using such claims perpetuates the myth that animal testing in cosmetics still occurs in Europe. It’s expected that the European Commission will stop these broad ‘animal-friendly’ claims when it reviews their guidance.
It’s thanks to passionate people like Anita Roddick that our industry can change and innovate. The ‘Cruelty Free’ logos were something I looked for thirty years ago but I’m glad to say that, every product you buy in Europe has reached the shop shelves without having been tested on animals, whether it’s got a logo or not.