Be Cruelty Free!
Please, Be Cruelty Free! Be Cruelty Free condemns industry’s “greedy” legal bid to weaken EU Cosmetics Animal Testing Ban.
Recently, at the High Court in London, England, a legal challenge was heard that could have a huge impact on thousands of rabbits, mice and other animals subjected to cosmetics testing. The case was brought by a trade association you most likely have never have heard of, the European Federation for Cosmetic Ingredients; but it represents more than 100 specialty chemical producers who supply ingredients to cosmetics companies. They are a major link in the chain of the cosmetics industry and they are legally challenging the historic European Union ban on selling newly animal-tested cosmetics that was implemented in March 2013. Humane Society International’s (HSI) Be Cruelty Free campaign (#BeCrueltyFree) was a driving force behind securing that ban, so I caught up with HSI’s Wendy Higgins, to explain what this all means for cosmetics animal testing.
Here’s a a photo of the lovely Wendy Higgins:
Be Cruelty Free!
Be Cruelty Free!
Moxie: What’s the basis of the legal challenge?
Wendy: European Federation for Cosmetic Ingredients is claiming that when new animal testing is conducted in countries outside the EU, such as the United States for example, in order to meet non-EU product safety regulations, cosmetics companies should be allowed to use those animal test results to develop or sell cosmetics in Europe, even if the animal testing was done after the EU ban came into force.
Moxie: What did the judge decide?
Wendy: Unfortunately, the judge didn’t decide to dismiss the case, but instead has referred it to the European Court of Justice for advice on legal interpretations. ECJ referrals can take a long time, as long as two years in some circumstances, but ECJ guidance will enable the judge to make a final ruling. HSI will be keeping a close eye on proceedings.
Moxie: What is the European Court of Justice likely to say?
Wendy: It’s very hard to predict. On the positive side, in a previous case before the ECJ (again, brought by EFfCI, in 2004) the Advocate General (who assists the judges) gave a strong opinion in favour of a robust ban, preventing any ingredients tested on animals in these circumstances from being marketed in the EU. However, that case was dismissed on a technicality so the ECJ never gave a definitive ruling. This time, the Advocate General’s opinion is likely to be reconsidered, and we hope the judges will agree with it. However, litigation can be very unpredictable, and it’s entirely possible that the ECJ will reach a different conclusion, favouring a much narrower interpretation of the ban.
Moxie: Why would the European Federation for Cosmetic Ingredients have an interest in challenging the ban in this way?
Wendy: Ultimately the European Federation for Cosmetic Ingredients is seeking an interpretation of the ban that will allow it to sell a wider range of ingredients to more companies, so it’s a clear case of putting profits before animal welfare, or the clear wishes of EU consumers who overwhelmingly supported the ban.
Moxie: If the European Federation for Cosmetic Ingredients wins, what will this mean for the EU ban?
Wendy: We’re very much hoping that the ECJ will rule in favour of a strong, meaningful and comprehensive ban. But if it doesn’t and the European Federation for Cosmetic Ingredients is successful, it could be a disaster for animal welfare because it would allow companies to continue testing on animals in other countries to sell in the EU. In practice, this would erode the impact of the EU sales ban, and mean that once again animals would suffer for cosmetics sold in the EU.
Moxie: What global impact could it have?
Wendy: The good news is that consumers around the world are increasingly keen to see an end to animal testing for cosmetics, so even if the European Federation for Cosmetic Ingredients companies get what they want in the EU, other markets for animal tested cosmetics are closing all the time. It is hugely gratifying that both India and Israel have already banned animal testing for cosmetics, and the import or sale of cosmetics containing newly animal tested cosmetics ingredients. These victories are a sign that whatever happens in Europe, animal testing for cosmetics will end, and the momentum behind HSI’s global Be Cruelty Free (#BeCrueltyFree) campaign is unstoppable!
Thank you to Wendy Higgins for taking the time to explain everything to me and my readers! Wendy provided the photo above of the Be Cruelty Free (#BeCrueltyFree) campaign outside the EU Commission building in Brussels. This is when the HSI was campaigning to secure the 2013 sales ban.
Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.
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