Guest Post: Animal testing banned, but are we really cruelty free?

Guest blogger Karra Rothery looks at the EU ban on animal-tested cosmetics that came into force earlier this month. Originally published on Karra's blog

11th of March will be a day to remember. A day that will go down in history for animal welfare. It was the day that any cosmetics that have been, or had their ingredients tested on animals, were banned from being sold in the EU. Hip hip hooray! Since 2004 companies in the EU were banned from using animal tests for cosmetics, however they were still allowed to sell them if they had been animal tested abroad. So now we have real reason to celebrate!?

I have always only ever used non-animal tested cosmetics and spent hours sifting through websites to find out their policies. This could mark the end of that struggle. No longer will I have to scrutinise the back of the bottle when I pick it up from the shelf, it can go straight in the basket!

However the change may not be immediately noticeable, products may still be sold on our shelves if they were tested before the ban, so it may still be best to steer clear of some of those old favourites. At least we know any new products on our shelves are cruelty free, right? Wrong! Companies may still test products elsewhere in the world for sale in other countries, so if we buy a product from that company, even though the product we are buying may be cruelty-free, the company may not be. We would still effectively be giving our money to a company that endorses animal testing. L'Oreal is one of these companies, who have said they will stop selling cosmetics that have animal-tested ingredients in the EU, but this will not stop them from selling them elsewhere in the world.

Photo by Hijukal

Another problem is also staring us in the face: ingredients that have been animal-tested for other products may still be used in cosmetics. A serious loophole that really needs to be addressed! So effectively we could be buying a 'cruelty-free' cosmetic, that still contains an ingredient tested on animals because it is used in a different product!

Lush also highlights issues with REACH, the chemical legislation policy, which has passed a new law stating that all ingredients must undergo a strict set of tests. Some of these have no non-animal testing alternative, and so many companies may be forced into third-party animal testing. Surely this is a serious contradiction of statements?

So is the whole thing a waste of time? Definitely not. Europe is making a statement, it's a start for the entire world to go cruelty-free. We are setting the standards, and this will be the turning point for the rest of the world to ban animal testing. It has given us a glimmer of hope of what could lie ahead in the future. A cruelty-free world. But for now, I will still only be buying products with the leaping bunny logo.

You can read more FAQs on this issue here.

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