EU pledges its commitment to end animal testing

Last week, at the European Partnership for Alternative Approaches to animal testing, commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska said that the EU is “fully committed” to eliminating animal testing in Europe.

Furthermore, at the event, she pointed out that the EU has funded over €500m worth of projects into alternatives to animal testing in the cosmetics industry. Additionally, nations like the US, India, China, and Brazil, have also made progress in reducing the testing of products on animals.

Antti Peltomaki, Deputy Director General at DG Grow said in an interview that “there are difficult challenges ahead”, adding that although progress has been made in some areas, like skin and eye irritation, other areas, like toxicity, still require work.

The commission have introduced new training schemes and research centres which it’s hoped will accelerate the progress being made.

The EU has previously called for a world ban on animal testing in the cosmetics industry. But, according to Thomas Forster, Vice-President of Henkel: “There is a big variation in speed. The EU is a front-runner but many countries are much more reluctant”.

He also pointed out that some countries have banned imported products that use animal-free methods of testing, and that the OECD guidelines need to be agreed by all countries in order for them to work effectively.

EPAA industry co-chair, Charles Laroche said: “We need to ensure that alternative methods and promotion of education go hand in hand.” He added that, currently, there are various projects into skin sensitisation, among other things, like toxicity, and carcinogenic potential.

“The biggest strength of the EPAA biologicals team is its diversity”, said DG ENV’s Katrin Schotte, adding: “We do not propose a replace test, only that a test which does not have scientific value should be scrapped.”

MEP Julie Girling, who was involved in the 2018 calls for a global ban on animal testing, noted: “Most members of the public know what they want but not about the rules and regulations, there was a lot of confusion about the actual requirements on animal testing.”

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