Full EU ban on animal testing for cosmetics deadline reached

European Commissioner in charge of Health & Consumer Policy, Tonio BorgAs of the 11th of March 2013, cosmetics tested on animals cannot be marketed any more in the EU.

A Communication adopted by the Commission on the 11th March 2013 confirmed the Commission's commitment to respect the deadline set by Council and Parliament in 2003 and outlined how it intends to further support research and innovation in this area while promoting animal welfare world-wide.

European Commissioner in charge of Health & Consumer Policy, Tonio Borg, stated: "Today's entry into force of the full marketing ban gives an important signal on the value that Europe attaches to animal welfare. The Commission is committed to continue supporting the development of alternative methods and to engage with third countries to follow our European approach. This is a great opportunity for Europe to set an example of responsible innovation in cosmetics without any compromise on consumer safety."

The Commission has thoroughly assessed the impacts of the marketing ban and considers that there are overriding reasons to implement it. This is in line with what many European citizens believe firmly: that the development of cosmetics does not warrant animal testing.

The quest to find alternative methods will continue as full replacement of animal testing by alternative methods is not yet possible. The Communication published today outlines the Commission's contribution to the research into alternative methods and the recognition that these efforts must be continued. The Commission has made about EUR 238 million available between the years 2007 and 2011 for such research. The cosmetics industry has contributed as well, for example by co-funding the SEURAT research initiative with EUR 25 million.

The leading and global role of Europe in cosmetics requires reaching out to trading partners to explain and promote the European model and to work towards the international acceptance of alternative methods. The Commission will make this an integral part of the Union's trade agenda and international cooperation.


Directive 2003/15/EC introduced provisions in relation into animal testing into the Cosmetic Directive 76/768/EEC. Accordingly, animal testing in the Union is already prohibited since 2004 for cosmetic products and since 2009 for cosmetic ingredients ('testing ban'). As from March 2009, it is also prohibited to market in the Union cosmetic products containing ingredients which have been tested on animals ('marketing ban'). For the most complex human health effects (repeated-dose toxicity, including skin sensitisation and carcinogenicity, reproductive toxicity and toxicokinetics) the deadline for the marketing ban was extended to 11 March 2013.

Useful links




Safety Evaluation Ultimately Replacing Animal Testing, see: http://www.seurat-1.eu

You might also be interested in the Go Cruelty Free website which certifies the Humane Cosmetics, Household Products, Retailer and Purchaser Standards signified by the Leaping Bunny Mark trademark. Cruelty Free International was founded by the BUAV and is dedicated to ending animal testing for consumer products worldwide.

Follow this link to view cosmetic products in South Africa that are endorsed by Go Cruelty Free

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required

Would you like to receive our FREE e-newsletter?

* indicates required