France Challenges EU Ban on Cosmetics Animal Tests

Back in January, I wrote about my skepticism that the European Union would ever really follow through on its plan to ban cosmetics tests on animals by 2009. Deferring the ban in such a way simply highlights the lack of political will on the part of EU politicians to go to the mat for such ban, leaving plenty of openings for the ban to be overturned or modified.

Now The Guardian reports that the French government is going to bat for the cosmetics industry and has appealed to the European court of justice to overturn the proposed ban on “legal and technical grounds.” According to The Guardian,

In court documents seen by the Guardian, it argues that the ban is too severe and is incompatible with world trade rules, that its wording is ambiguous and that it will damage European business interests.

Paris also contends that the resulting improvement in animal welfare would be “extremely small” and that “it is likely to result in the circulation of products presenting significant risks to human health”.

France, of course, is home to cosmetics giant L’Oreal, which uses animal testing of its products.

European animal rights activists were not happy at the prospects of seeing the cosmetics ban challenged. British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection’s Wendy Higgins told The Guardian,

It has taken animal campaigners and the European parliament a frustrating 13-year struggle to finally secure legislation to outlaw the suffering of lab animals to produce trivial products like lipstick and perfume.

It is shameful enough that it has taken this long, impeded as we have been at every stage by aggressive industry lobbying. It is even more shameful that a challenge to actually reverse the EU cosmetics animal testing ban has been brought forward.

According to The Guardian, about 38,000 animals are killed annually in European Union countries for cosmetics testing.


Secret French move to block animal-testing ban. The Guardian, August 19, 2003.

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