Animal Defenders International

National Anti-vivisection SocietyLord Dowding Fund for humane research

Working together for animals

Animal Defenders International

Cosmetics testing campaign

Posted: 7 September 2012. Updated: 12 June 2014

The NAVS campaign for a ban on the use of animals for cosmetics testing started in the early 1980s and following the UK ban and the European ban, we have now reached the final stage of the European phase out. Throughout this long, long, haul, our supporters have boycotted animal tested products; written to companies that test their products on animals; demonstrated; handed out leaflets and educated friends and family; written to their parliamentary representatives in the UK and Europe and funded this campaign. Thank you.

Cosmetics testing in the UK was banned in 1998 – a massive victory on the start of this road to save laboratory animals. Then in 2004, it was also made illegal for finished cosmetics products to be tested on animals in the EU when there is a validated alternative available.

Although the ban on cosmetic ingredients tested on animals in the EU has been in place since March 2009, the deadline for replacement of certain animal tests under the marketing ban was extended to March 2013 in order to allow alternatives to be developed and approved. Although these phased steps are frustrating, they have kept us moving forward.

However, some cosmetic companies still using animals for testing their products have been dragging their feet instead of investing in alternatives, and are lobbying in Brussels to be allowed to continue their horrific animal tests.

Please make a donation today to help stop animal tests
Find out whose products are cruelty-free
Read about our “Kick animal testing out of the house” campaign

Here is an overview of the events over the last two decades….

Brazil votes to stop cosmetics tests on animals

On 11th June 2014 we were delighted to hear that Brazil has took a huge leap towards ending cosmetics tests on animals by voting to pass legislation which will end the use of animals for most cosmetics tests, omitting those that are for “ingredients with unknown effects” – as well as the sale of newly animal-tested products. The move follows the announcement by the state of Sao Paolo in January that it was to end animal cosmetics tests and is the result of efforts by a number of groups in the region. We hope that the loopholes in the proposed law can be closed to ensure that the suffering of animals for cosmetics can end.

Brazillian state bans cosmetic tests

The Brazilian state of Sao Paolo passed legislation prohibiting the use of animals for research for the cosmetics, perfume and personal care industry. If companies fail to comply with the new law, announced on 23rd January 2014, they will be fined $435,000 per animal, which will double for repeat offenders, and can be closed down temporarily or permanently by the authorities. We hope that other Brazilian states will follow Sao Paolo’s lead and that this will pave the way for a nationwide ban.

Mandatory cosmetic animal testing in China relaxed

The Chinese Food and Drug Administration have announced that animal tests for some cosmetics products manufactured in China will no longer be compulsory. Find out more...

Global cosmetics testing update

Animal tested cosmetics are banned in Europe, Israel and India Read more...

India bans cosmetics testing on animals

The NAVS and ADI applaud India becoming the first South Asian country to announce an end to the use of animals in cosmetics tests. Find out more

Cosmetics Testing Ends in Europe: A victory for ethics and science

ADI welcomes the final stage of implementation of the European Cosmetics Directive. This ends the sale, in the 27 countries of the European Union, of cosmetics that continue to be tested on animals elsewhere in the world. Read more...
Also see here for a summary of the NAVS campaign and cosmetic testing Q&A

Commissioner confirms intention to maintain EU cosmetics marketing ban

As the March 11th deadline approaches for the implementation of the EU marketing ban on cosmetics which have been tested on animals, the NAVS contacted the EU Health Commissioner to get confirmation regarding his intention to maintain the deadline. Read more...

Cosmetics derogation – Borg statement

At a meeting in mid-November the EU Commissioner-designate for Health Dr Tonio Borg - who has since been elected as EU Commissioner for Health - stated that he felt the ban on animal testing should enter into force in March 2013. Read more...

Cosmetics companies putting money before ethics

A number of major cosmetics companies which had previously claimed non-animal testing policies, have been stripped of their cruelty free status due to expanding their sales into China. Read more...


Cosmetics testing – the way forward in Europe

July 2012: The European Commission Joint Research Centre (EC-JRC) publishes its briefing “Cosmetics: pioneering the way towards animal free testing”, which outlines the state of play regarding cosmetics testing and the non-animal alternatives that are available. Read more...

New European Commission web portal for cosmetics products

January 2012: The European Commission announces the launch of a new web portal for cosmetic products – the Cosmetic Products Notification Portal (CPNP). The CPNP will allow the cosmetic industry to submit information regarding products they place on the EU market which is vital to poison centres to enable them to react quickly. Find out more...


Defend the Cosmetics Ban Deadline

May 2011: Although the European Commission has recently stated in official communications that the deadline for replacement of certain animal tests under the marketing ban remains at 2013, there is speculation that it could propose a postponement of the ban by at least 5 years. Learn more...


The Cosmetics Ban: looking forward

March 2010. Cosmetics testing has been banned in the UK since 1998, a massive victory after a hard fought campaign. The ban shows that a phased approach to banning animal testing is possible and achieves real results. This approach can be applied to other animal testing issues, from the use of primates to the testing of household products. Read more...


New toxicity testing application set to save thousands of mice and guinea pigs

January 2010: US company Hurel, along with funding from cosmetics giant L’Oreal, announce an innovative new toxicity testing application that is set to replace thousands of mice and guinea pigs used for cosmetics tests. Find out more...


March 11th 2009 sees historic ban on animal testing for cosmetics in the European Union

March 2009: In this memorable week, NAVS welcomes the historic ban on testing cosmetic products on animals. Learn more...


Cosmetics campaign update

April 2008: Chief executive Jan Creamer outlines our activities in April 2008, including our campaign on cosmetics testing. Read more...


EU Cosmetics Testing Ban introduced!

December 2007: The Cosmetics Directive was a major victory –for the first time, new legislation has introduced a ban on the use of animals for an entire sector of products, albeit using a step-by-step approach. We summarise some of the progress made since the Directive was put into force. Find out more...


European cosmetics testing ban

November 2002: The NAVS welcomes the vote of the European Parliament in favour of a ban on the sale of cosmetics tested on animals. Learn more... The EU Conciliation Committee broke the deadlock between the European Parliament which was in favour of a ban and the Council of Ministers which had sought to soften the proposals. Only a decade before, the European Parliament had mooted such a move, but at this stage there were concrete proposals.



MEPs stand up to UK Government over issue of testing cosmetics on animals

June 2002: The NAVS congratulate UK MEPs for standing up to the UK government over the issue of testing cosmetics on animals. Read more.... MEPs voted by 474 to 43 to ban the sale of animal tested cosmetics across Europe. MEPs stood up to the EU Commission and Council of Ministers who had sought to soften proposals, and instead voted to support a ban on the animal testing of cosmetics in Europe and also the sale of new animal tested cosmetics by 2005, regardless of where they are produced. By banning the sale of animal tested cosmetics they countered fears that the industry might simply move their testing out of Europe. NAVS sent a letter to MEPs, which was quoted in many newspapers congratulating them for standing up to the British Government.


Home Office announcement to end finished cosmetic product testing

1998: During a Home Office meeting the NAVS were cautiously pleased to hear of the Government’s announcement to end the testing of finished cosmetic products and explore a ban on the use of animals for testing ingredients for cosmetic products.


European Cosmetics testing ban hangs in balance

1997: In the first half of this year, the European Commission directive banning cosmetics tested on animals remained in limbo. This was similar to concerns expressed in the NAVS’ GATT (General Agreement on Trade & Tariffs) campaign, where we spotlighted how the World Trade Organisation had, in previous rulings, not allowed trade bans which were based purely on the way the product was produced. Surely enough, later in the year, EU Consumer Policy Commissioner Emma Bonino ruled that the directive must be rewritten. Had this happened, animal tested cosmetics would have been allowed into the EU and if required, when exporting to non-EU countries.



Cosmetics tests soar

1995: Almost two decades ago, the UK saw a 68% increase in the number of cosmetics tests on animals, up to 3,741 procedures. These included tests of ingredients such as 1,489 long term toxicity tests, 650 tests for birth defects, 795 for contact sensitisation, 86 for acute toxicity, 38 for skin irritation and 27 for eye irritation. The NAVS called on supporters to write to cosmetics companies which were then using a rolling 5 year cut off date for ingredients testing, and to ask them to switch to a fixed cut off date policy.



Cosmetics tests cop out

November 1992: At the last minute the European Community Council of Ministers veered away from a vote to ban outright all testing of cosmetics in the EC by 1998. Instead the Council of Ministers voted that cosmetics tests on animals be banned from 1st January 1998 only if alternative testing methods have been developed. The compromise was proposed by Britain, which held the EC presidency and was lauded as a “tightening of EC cosmetics test rules” but, in effect, it was business as usual. The ban had received overwhelming support in the European Parliament by 244 votes to 2, but the Council of Ministers caved in when the time came for them to give their approval.

© Animal Defenders International 2014