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Friday, January 31, 2003

The European Parliament has voted to prohibit animal testing of most cosmetic products by 2009 and curb the import of such products from the rest of the world.

Animal-tested cosmetic products were already banned from Germany, UK, Belgium, the Netherlands and Austria. The European Parliament's vote on 15 January extends the ban to all 15 member states and closes a loophole which allowed the importation of cosmetics tested on animals elsewhere.

The ban will not apply to existing products that have already been tested on animals, but will be effective immediately for all new products for which alternative non-animal tests are available. For other products, the ban will not take effect until 2013 to allow time for development of alternatives to animal tests.

The EU have adopted the three R strategy to animal testing which aims to: replace animal use with non-animal methods where possible, reduce the number of animals needed and refine the procedures to minimise suffering. Animal testing for other purposes, such as medical research, is currently subject to hot debate in the UK.

For an excellent review on alternatives to animal testing (including refinements of animal tests), visit FRAME, the Fund for the Replacement
of Animals in Medical Experiments.