Animal rights supporters scored a victory in the European Union on March 11, as regulators announced a total ban on both the sale and import of products containing any ingredients tested on animals, as well as a new push to convince other powers to consider alternatives to the practice.
European Union efforts to eliminate animal testing have gone on since the 1990s, says AFP, and in 2009, most such products were banned, although a few loopholes remained — loopholes the new measure eliminates.
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Even animal tests that have no artificial substitute will now be banned, notes the New York Times, causing some cosmetics trade union representatives pause.
“Europe’s idea is to put more pressure on other parts of the world to end animal testing, but the science doesn’t match that political timetable,” said Cosmetics Europe spokesman Colin Mackay to the Times.
The majority of animals used for such tests in the EU are mice and rats, according to the BBC.
"Today's entry into force of the full marketing ban gives an important signal on the value that Europe attaches to animal welfare," said Tonio Borg, European Commissioner in charge of Health and Consumer Policy in an Europa.Eu press release.
"The Commission is committed to continue supporting the development of alternative methods and to engage with third countries to follow our European approach."
The press release added that the EU has made $309 million availalbe for research on animal testing alternatives betwen 2007 and 2011, and that the cosmetics industry has helped to fund such research as well.