Animal testing for cosmetics in Europe has been banned!

2013 has been a truly historic year for Cruelty Free International and our founding organisation the BUAV:

The BUAV’s long-fought campaign to end animal testing for cosmetics finally came to an end in Europe, with the last phase of the European Union’s ban coming into force on 11th March 2013.

We are immensely proud of this achievement – we have been campaigning to end animal testing for cosmetics for over 40 years – and we have finally done it!


A long-fought road to victory

1898 - The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) was founded to campaign against all forms of animal testing

1973 - The BUAV first brought the issue of cosmetics testing on animals to the public attention

1990 - The BUAV established the European Coalition to End Cosmetics Tests on Animals (now the European Coalition to End Animal Experiments – ECEAE) an alliance of leading European animal organisations formed for the purpose of ending animal tests for cosmetics in the EU

1991 - The BUAV and ECEAE organise an international march and rally in Brussels and an iconic, larger than life ‘laboratory rabbit’ Vanity tours countries across Europe to urge MEPs to vote to end animal tests for cosmetics

1996 - Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop, joined members of the BUAV, ECEAE, MEPs and Chrissie Hynde in presenting a petition containing 4 million signatures to the European Commission to end animal testing for cosmetics

2004 - A ban on animal testing of finished cosmetic products (but not ingredients) was imposed in Europe

2009 - Testing of cosmetic ingredients on animals anywhere in the EU is made illegal, as was selling or importing into the EU any animal tested ingredients to be used in cosmetics. However, three animal tests were made exempt in order to allow non-animal tests to be validated.

2011 - The BUAV and its European partners launch the No Cruel Cosmetics campaign to call for the import and sales ban to be implemented in 2013 as planned without delay or derogation.

2012 - The BUAV founds Cruelty Free International, the first organisation to campaign for a global ban on animal tests for consumer products. The Body Shop hosts our global pledge campaign in its stores worldwide.

11th March 2013 - A complete ban on animal testing for cosmetics is implemented in the EU.

What the EU ban on the import and sale of animal tested cosmetics means

Since 11th March, no company can carry out new animal tests for cosmetics purposes outside of the EU for products to be sold in the EU. Cosmetics companies can, however, continue to sell in the EU products with ingredients that have been animal tested in the past.

If a product has ingredients which have been animal tested after the date the ban came into effect, a company will not be able to market this in Europe, even if it sells the same product in other global markets.

Companies (even if they are based in the EU) are still able to sell products with animal tested ingredients outside of the EU, assuming that the animal testing was done somewhere else in the world. This opens up the theoretical possibility of a company conducting animal tests for ingredients in some markets but using non animal methods and existing data for the EU Market. Aside from the animal welfare implications, this would obviously increase costs and effort for companies so we hope that the more likely impact is that global companies put an increasing emphasis on non-animal tests for all of their markets.

Over 80% of the world still allows animal testing for cosmetics and some countries, notably China, require imported products to be tested on animals before they reach the market. The impact of the EU ban for global companies makes change in other markets much more likely. Cruelty Free International is now building on success achieved in the EU to call on all Governments to end animal testing for cosmetics which will give a level playing field to all companies.