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Cosmetic testing on animals: a damning verdict.

Cosmetic testing on animals. | Posted on 2023-11-25 12:52

The Court of Justice of the European Union has handed down its judgment against Symrise AG, a producer of cosmetic ingredients which sought the annulment of a court decision requiring its products to be tested on thousands of animals.

The damning verdict made a mockery of the justice system by discrediting the EU's once-historic ban on animal testing of cosmetics.

What was the file about?

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has commissioned Symrise AG, a German manufacturer, to test two of its sunscreen ingredients on thousands of animals. Symrise AG challenged ECHA's position to the ECHA Board of Appeal, and PETA International Science Consortium Ltd intervened to support the company during the hearing. The chamber upheld the original decision but, with the support of the Science Consortium, Symrise appealed to the Court of Justice of the European Union. Check out the article below to learn more about the case and the role PETA played.

What does this mean for animals?

In an instant, the court condemned thousands of mice, rabbits and fish to excruciating pain and certain death in cruel experiments and rendered the historic ban on testing cosmetics on animals completely unnecessary.

Mice, rats, rabbits and fish are still forced to ingest cosmetic product ingredients to meet the requirements of the REACH regulation for chemical substances.

We condemn the decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union which does not respect the objective of the ban on cosmetic testing on animals, which was to ensure that only methods which do not use animals are used to determine whether cosmetics are safe.

And what’s next?

PETA will continue its efforts to protect animals and the rights of European citizens to obtain untested cosmetics, even if ECHA and the Court of Justice of the European Union appear indifferent to contemporary values.

You can help us put pressure on decision-makers. Send a message to the European Commissioner for the Environment to tell him what you think about these practices which amount to poisoning and killing animals during cruel and far from reliable tests:


Updated November 22, 2022: On November 22, the EU's ban on cosmetic animal testing was defended at the Court of Justice of the European Union, as Symrise AG contested the EU's request European Chemicals Agency says the company is testing two common sunscreen ingredients on 5,500 animals.

Dr Julia Baines, head of science policy at PETA UK, assisted the lawyers on this matter. By going to court, we are calling on the EU to maintain the ban on cruel and ineffective animal testing.

The outcome of this case will set a precedent and will not only affect the testing of homosalate and octyl salicylate, it will also clarify how the regulation concerning the registration, evaluation and authorization of chemical substances , as well as the restrictions applicable to these substances (REACH) will be interpreted for all cosmetic ingredients.

Maintaining the ban on cosmetic testing on animals would mean that REACH cannot be used to undermine it. Cruelty-free companies would not have to change the formula of their products or look for other suppliers and the UK, Australia and other countries with policies based on the EU ban would receive a message strong against exemptions.

The public overwhelmingly rejects the cruelty of animal testing: more than 1.2 million EU citizens have supported the European Citizens' Initiative calling on the European Commission to protect and strengthen the ban on animal testing .

Updated August 19, 2021: Cruelty-free cosmetics are under threat after the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and the European Commission announced their policy requiring animal testing for cosmetic ingredients. PETA entities have taken every opportunity to fight against this policy.

In 2018, when Symrise AG challenged ECHA's request that two ingredients be tested on 5,500 animals, PETA International Science Consortium eV intervened on the matter with ECHA's Board of Appeal. Symrise has now taken the decision to the Court of Justice of the European Union and the intervention of the Science Consortium has once again been approved for this precedent-setting case.

PETA welcomes the policy of the European Commission and ECHA (which discredits the ban on animal testing and marketing of cosmetic products in the EU by requiring that cosmetic product ingredients be tested on animals) is called into question.

The animal testing required for these two ingredients is unfortunately just the tip of the iceberg. But PETA applauds Symrise's decision to take this case to court.

Original publication

Two judgments recently published by the Board of Appeal of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) have ruled that ingredients used only for cosmetics can be tested on animals under the Registration, Evaluation and Regulation. the authorization of chemical substances, as well as the restrictions applicable to these substances (REACH). Animal testing of cosmetic ingredients has been banned in the EU since 2013 as part of the cosmetics regulations, but these rulings (horribly misinterpretations of the law) will effectively allow producers and regulators to ignore this prohibition.

What happened, what does it mean for the animals, and what to do to help them.

Who will suffer?

As a direct result of these rulings, more than 5,500 rats, rabbits and fish will have to be used for further testing, some pregnant females will be forced to ingest cosmetic ingredients, and then they will be killed and dissected, just like their unborn young. .

These judgments also open the door to more animal testing under REACH . Every year, hundreds of cosmetics contain products that are new to the market and could require testing under REACH, costing the lives of thousands of animals.

What ingredients are these?

The ingredients under appeal, homosalate and octyl salicylate, are used in sunscreens and other cosmetics to absorb ultraviolet B (UV-B) rays from the sun.

Many producers and brands will likely be affected by these decisions, so it is crucial that consumers use PETA USA's international online Beauty Without Bunnies database to learn about companies that refuse to allow their products to be tested on animals. anywhere in the world, and for whatever reason.

Companies certified cruelty-free by PETA USA do not conduct or commission animal testing for their ingredients, formulas, or finished products and commit not to do so in the future.


Do these ingredients really need to be tested on animals?

According to ECHA, these tests would be necessary to ensure the safety of workers who produce or handle the substances, but testing these cosmetic ingredients on thousands of animals will not protect them. Due to fundamental biological differences between humans and other animals, test results on the latter simply do not effectively predict effects on the former.

Aren't cosmetic tests banned in Europe?

Since 2013, animal testing for cosmetic ingredients has been banned in the EU under the Cosmetics Regulation. The Court of Justice of the European Union clarified in 2016 that the sale of cosmetic products based on the results of new animal tests for safety assessment purposes is prohibited in the EU. Yet ECHA, the European Commission and now the ECHA Board of Appeal have misinterpreted the law and discredited the bans, sending animals back to laboratories for unnecessary and cruel cosmetic testing.

Regulation on cosmetic products carries considerable political weight and reflects the will of the people and the European Parliament. The ban on animal testing of cosmetic products and the sale of cosmetic products based on animal testing data in the EU shows that people value the life of an animal more than others. to a tube of toothpaste or sunscreen.

Allowing the testing of cosmetic ingredients under REACH amounts to ignoring the regulations on cosmetic products and completely discrediting the objective of these bans.

It's simple: only non-animal methods should be used when it comes to marketing a new cosmetic product. If this is not possible, the ingredient should not be used.

What is PETA doing?

In 2014, we revealed that ECHA and the European Commission allowed testing of cosmetic ingredients on animals. Since then, we have been working to put an end to these heinous experiments by lobbying the European Commission and ECHA so that the regulations on cosmetic products and its ban on animal testing are respected.

The PETA Science Consortium International e. V. (of which PETA France is a member) intervened in the appeal file concerning these recent decisions on tests. Although the Board of Appeal rejected numerous arguments presented by the Science Consortium and the appellant company regarding the testing request, PETA and the Science Consortium are exploring other options to resolve the dispute.

PETA entities are calling on businesses to play a role in using animal-free methods and funding the development of these methods. We also encourage companies to use ingredients whose safety has already been proven or to create a new formula for products that require it in order to replace cosmetic ingredients tested on animals under REACH. Not testing on animals is an option for every company.

While these decisions are a huge step backwards, we are more determined than ever to end all cosmetic animal testing.

How to help us?

Use only untested products and check the PETA USA database if in doubt.

Help us show the strength of public opposition to cosmetic animal testing: call on the European Commission and ECHA to respect cosmetics regulations and ban testing of product ingredients cosmetics on animals, regardless of the circumstances:


Article written by :

- Marie J. - PETA France


- PETA France

Posted on 2023-11-25 12:52

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