The United Kingdom had retained stricter animal testing standards than required by the European Union Directive since last year. Lynne Featherstone said in 2012 that the special protection for animals such as dogs, cats and primates would be maintained. Featherstone also stated that a system that is centralized for approving research licenses will still continue. These statements were welcomed by the animal welfare organizations and the research community. But Barney Reed, senior scientific officer for RSPCA, stated that he was concerned that the government was primarily prepared to accept EU regulations which would have allowed smaller cage sizes, the use of less humane killing processes and the watering down of the powers of ethics committees which overlook animal research. “It’s been unfortunate that we’ve had to battle for 18 months to pretty much stand still and maintain the standards that we currently have,” he told BBC news in May, 2012.
Fast forward to this year, March 11- EU now completely bans sale of all animal-tested cosmetics. A complete ban of selling cosmetics that involved animal testing has taken effect in Europe. This ban will apply to new cosmetics and their ingredients sold in all European countries, regardless of which place in the world, may it be from a non-European country, the testing of animals were carried out.
The twenty seven European countries have had the ban on animal testing since the year 2009 but the EU Commission is now asking Europe’s trading partners to follow suit. Animals such as mice and rats are used for more than 50% of all the laboratory animal tests carried out in Europe. Lobbyists of Animal rights said that EU officials have eventually listened to the people. BUAV, an anti-vivisection group and European Coalition to End Animal Experiments or ECEAE stated that they spent more than two decades campaigning on the issue of animal testing and had celebrities such as Morrissey, Sienna Miller and Sir Paul McCartney enlisted to their cause. The two groups congratulated the EU Commission for putting the ban into effect after so many years. BUAV said many countries around the world still test on animals and the group is now working on pressing for a global ban.
Cosmetic firms were allowed to continue testing on animals for more complex human health effects such as toxicity that may lead to serious ailments such as cancer, despite Europe’s 2009 ban. Those types of tests have now come to a ban as well this year. EU Commissions have been working with industries to develop a wider range of alternatives to animal testing. EU Commissions have allocated 238 million euros for the year 2007-2011 for the research. Cosmetic companies, however, are highly concerned that the ban may place Europe at a competitive disadvantage in the global market. “By implementing the ban at this time, the European Union is jeopardizing the industry’s ability to innovate,” said Bertil Heerink, chief of Cosmetic Europe.
Professor Roger Lemon, a medical researcher from the University College London and also the spokesman for the campaign organization Understanding Animal Research, said Europe had the highest welfare standards in the world for animal experimentation. “We applaud the Home Office decision to hold on to those high standards.”