Last updated: 14. September 2018
Since 2004 cosmetic products related to animal experiments are prohibited in the EU. If the safety of an ingredient has been proven in an animal experiment, the article may not be marketed in the EU.
This was not too difficult for the German cosmetics industry, which has voluntarily abandoned animal testing since 1989.
There was a transitional period for the ban on animal experiments with 3 exceptions, which expired on 11 March 2013. Products that were legally covered by animal testing before this date may continue to be marketed. However, everything that is developed after this deadline must be completely animal-free.
In order to ensure the safety of cosmetic and care products, so-called alternative methods must be used. Thus, the”Foundation was established in 1986 to promote research into alternative and supplementary methods to limit animal testing“.
It becomes problematic if a chemical to be used in cosmetics has already been tested on animals in a completely different context before its use in cosmetics. For this reason, the EU Commission issued a recommendation on 07.07.2006 that clearly limits the term “animal-free testing”.
On the basis of this recommendation, a product may only be labelled as “animal-free” if all substances used have been verifiably tested by alternative methods during product development. Any scientific data from animal experiments outside the industry must not have been used at any time. Anyone who cannot completely prove the exclusive use of alternative methods and still labels his product as “animal-free” is guilty of deception.
Unfortunately, there are alternative methods not recognised by law for all areas, and the road to official recognition of an alternative method is long and lined with bureaucracy.
As a consumer, the process of getting away from animal testing can be accelerated by consciously avoiding products that have animal testing in their production chain. The German Animal Welfare Association, for example, has a positive list of cosmetics.
The Cosmetics positive list of manufacturers gives an overview of all suppliers who have animal-free products in their portfolio.
The Cosmetics positive list of stores and distributors shows where to buy the corresponding products.
Some of the providers advertise with a seal showing a bunny with a protective hand. This seal is awarded by International Association of Manufacturers of Animal Welfare Approved Natural Cosmetics, Cosmetics and Natural Products e.V. (short: IHTK).