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The History of the Cosmetics Directive

The Cosmetics Directive legislation started life in 1976

It is safety legislation, which defines what a cosmetics product is:

“Any substance or preparation… in contact with external parts of the human body… or with the teeth and the mucous membranes of the oral cavity with a view exclusively or principally to cleaning the, perfuming them, protecting them, keep them in good condition, change their appearance or correct body odours.”

And it governs the labeling, safety data and content of cosmetics, ie Controls, regulates or restricts the use of ingredients such as colourings, preservatives, UV filters etc.

Through the 80s and 90s there was increased public awareness about the use of animals in the testing of cosmetics.

A movement against this gathered, with people across Europe contacting their governments and demanding action to be taken to protect animals from the testing of vanity products.

With such strong public opinion eventually governments had to respond, and a cosmetics animal testing ban was passed in 1993 and was added into the existing Cosmetics Directive legislation.

The legislation, which covers all of the European Union, bans animal testing of finished cosmetics products, the testing of cosmetics ingredients on animals and bans the import, selling and marketing of cosmetics products that have been animal testing outside the EU.

Knowing that it would mean many cosmetics companies would have to change their business practices and find non-animal ways to test their products, the European Parliament gave the industry 5 years to prepare themselves. They set a start date for implementation of the new ban for 1st January 1998.

So the new year of 1998 should have been a landmark day for animals in Europe, ushering in the strongest yet protection against them being used in cruel and unnecessary experiments.

But sadly it was a celebration party that was never able to happen. In the intervening 5 years, big cosmetics companies had lobbied the European Commission, saying that they needed more time to replace animals in their testing routines.

Instead of a start date of 1998, they were granted a delay until 30th June 2000.

As that date for the ban to take effect approached, again a delay was lobbied for and granted, putting the start date back further until 30th June 2002.

Behind the scenes at Europe further amendments were written into the Directive (amendment 7) saying that parts 1 and 2 of the ban could come into force in 2009 but with the exception that testing for repeated dose toxicity (including chronic, sub-chronic and sub-acute exposure), toxicokinetics and reproductive toxicity would still be allowed – until full implementation for the ‘marketing’ part which was granted a delay until 2013.

As 2013 approached and will mean that cosmetics companies will no longer be allowed to conduct, repeated does toxicity, toxicokinetics and reproductive toxicity for their products and ingredients on animals in European laboratories. And this date would bring about an end to companies importing and selling cosmetics products in Europe that have been animal tested in other parts of the world.

At last that long delayed celebration could happen. Cosmetics in Europe would be totally free from cruel, unpopular animal testing. Or so you would think…

Sadly some of the cosmetics industry lobbied for a further 10 years delay to th ban. That would been pushing the date from 2013 to 2023. Which would mean that the legislation passed in 1993 would take 30 years to come in force.

We do not believe this is what the public expected when they lobbied their MPs back in the 80s and 90s and were told something was being done to solve their concerns.

We do not believe that the European Parliament politicians intended the legislation they passed to still be sat idle more than 20 years after they voted it through. And we are certain that animals deserve better than this.

So with the crunch decision time approaching, Lush partnered with the Humane Society International who campaign across the world on behalf of animals, to put a petition into our shops, to give our customers an opportunity to once again tell decision makers in Europe that the public demand animals be protected from this most frivolous of animal testing.

Over 300,000 of our customers signed the petition.

Lush also staged an event in one of our London shops, to highlight the plight of animals and remind people that animal testing is still going on in laboratories in Europe and that animal tested cosmetics are still widely for sale in UK shops.

Fighting Animal Testing: The Cosmetics Directive

We do not believe that the European Parliament politicians intended the legislation they passed to still be sat idle more than 20 years

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