Welcome for European Parliament vote to end animal testing

The cosmetics industry faces the threat of a Europe-wide ban on the marketing of all new products unless it introduces alternatives to tests on animals.

The European Parliament meeting today [Tuesday 11th June] in Strasbourg united across party lines to push through a demand that within five years of new legislation a ban be introduced in the EU on sales of all cosmetics tested on animals. MEPs accepted only that a further five years should allowed before banning the last three of the 14 groups of tests to give time for alternatives to be developed.

Welcoming the vote London's Liberal Democrat Euro-MP Baroness Sarah Ludford said:

"The public has made clear that it wants an end to animals having to suffer for no better reason than the production of more vanity products such as shampoos and face lotions. Further delay by the cosmetics industry can no longer be accepted."

"Bathroom shelves across Europe are already packed with thousands of cosmetics products. If the price to be paid to end animal cruelty is that consumers do without yet another new deodorant or even bubblier bubble baths then it is one worth paying."

The move will place the Parliament on a collision course with EU ministers who have so far refused to back more than a ban on testing animals within the EU. Animal welfare campaigners claim this will simply transfer the testing to other countries. The MEPs' vote would mean the ban applies to products regardless of where in the world they are manufactured.

But Euro-MPs who have equal decision-making powers with ministers on the issue say the way is now open to achieve a negotiated final agreement by the end of the year.

EU Ministers led by British Trade Secretary Patricia Hewitt claim that a marketing ban would conflict with World Trade Organisation rules. However this view is strongly contested by WTO experts within the European Parliament who believe that the existing US ban on imports of dog and cat fur demonstrates that no challenge could succeed.

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