13th Dec 2019

MEPs vote for EU ban on cosmetics tested on animal

The European Parliament has voted to ban the testing of cosmetic products on animals, as well as the marketing of these goods. The ban will take at least four years to come into effect, and must first be approved by all EU member governments.

The Commission had proposed only a testing ban, not a marketing ban. However, the majority of MEPs want stronger action. Green MEP, Ms Patricia McKenna, said to the Irish Times that "banning testing alone, as the Commission has been advocating, is not a solution. It just exports the problem."

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There are fears that a ban could be challenged at the World Trade Organisation (WTO). One of the ban's main backers, German Socialist MEP Dagmar Roth-Behrendt, acknowledged that the move could spark a trade war with the United States. However, she pointed out that only European markets would be affected.

"US companies can continue conducting animal testing," she said to the BBC. "They can carry on selling their products between California and New York and Alaska, or Japan or Russia or wherever they want. But not in the European Union."

Up to two years of negotiations between European MPs and the European Union's national governments are now expected. The ban will take at least four years to come into effect and must first be approved by all EU member governments.

The testing of cosmetics on animals is already banned in the UK, Germany, Austria and the Netherlands, but products tested in other countries are sold. Much of Europe's testing is carried out in France, Italy and Belgium.

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