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Debunking the Myth that all EU products are cruelty-free

There is a myth being spread online that ALL cosmetics and skincare products from the EU are cruelty free. Nothing could be further from the truth. Foreign companies like Cerave. Loreal, etc have NEVER been cruelty-free and certainly are not now. My sister-in-law was even given this false information when she was shopping for an eye cream by the sale associate. Thankfully she asked me before she purchased. And thankfully she wasn’t buying the broad stroke misinformation she was given.

I was so disturbed by what I saw online today I decided to write this post: Debunking the Myth that all EU products are cruelty-free

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“Consumers are clearly misled because they assume that the cosmetics products they buy, are free from animal testing – which is not the case. Modern human-based models can better insure human safety than animal experiments. Solely, these animal-free methods should be used in cosmetics testing – according to the purpose of the animal testing ban”, says Dr. Tamara Zietek, scientific coordinator at Doctors Against Animal Experiments (DAAE)

Debunking the Myth that all EU products are cruelty-free
PIN: Debunking the Myth that all EU products are cruelty-free

I thought Europe banned cosmetic animal testing. What changed?

In 2013, the EU prohibited the sale of all cosmetics products that had been tested on animals. This landmark ban became the gold standard for regulatory change in countries all over the world. But now the ban is under threat.

Sadly, the European Union’s precedent-setting bans are being avoided from within by the European Chemicals Agency, with backing from the European Commission, which is demanding new animal testing of substances used exclusively as cosmetic ingredients. This is made possible by a legal loophole that divides protection of consumers, factory workers and the environment by two different laws, one bans animal testing (cosmetics regulation) while the other does not (chemicals regulation) Source: Human society international.

Debunking the Myth that all EU products are cruelty-free

In spite of the ban, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has instituted that in certain cases, widely used cosmetic ingredients with a long histories of safe use must be tested on animals to comply with the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) Regulation. 

According to Cruelty Free International, the toxicity testing required by ECHA will involve over 5,500 animals, including rats, rabbits and fish, being force-fed the ingredients in tests causing a high degree of suffering before being killed and dissected.

I believe it is morally wrong to deliberately inflict pain, suffering, emotional harm and death on animals for whatever purpose. Animal experiments, by definition, cannot be separated from the degree of pain and suffering. Using animals as substitutes for human beings in research and testing is scientifically questionable and experimental results are unreliable due to the numerous ‘species differences’ between animals and ourselves.

Animal rights campaigners have criticized a recent decision by the General Court of the European Court of Justice, which they state makes the EU’s cosmetic testing bans ‘virtually meaningless’.

On November 22, 2022, the court ruled against German cosmetic ingredients manufacturer Symrise, which sought to overturn a decision mandating that it test two of its cosmetic-only ingredients on animals. The two ultraviolet (UV) light filters in question, homosalate and 2-ethylhexyl salicylate, are only used as ingredients in sunscreens. 

This means additional animal testing may be demanded by regulators to assess the safety of cosmetic ingredients, despite the EU ban on animal testing for cosmetics 

Cruelty Free Europe’s director of science and regulatory affairs, Emma Grange, Ph.D., said: “This decision is a huge backwards step in our fight to stop animals suffering and dying in the name of beauty. The existing bans, which have been in place in the U.K. for 25 years and European Union for two decades, are now virtually meaningless, as this case will set a damaging precedent in toxicity testing for cosmetics ingredients, even if they have been approved as safe for use for many years.”

Debunking the Myth that all EU products are cruelty-free

Dr Julia Baines, science policy adviser for PETA UK said, “The court’s ruling has succeeded in nothing more than unveiling the seedy underside of cosmetics testing in the EU by allowing a bureaucratic box-ticking exercise to take precedence over the purpose of the animal testing ban, which was to ensure that animals no longer suffered. We condemn the court’s unexpected ruling for effectively destroying the ban on animal testing for cosmetics in the EU.” 


FACT: Not true! There are many reliable alternatives to using animals -now more than ever, including cell and tissue cultures and sophisticated computer and mathematical models. Companies can formulate products using ingredients already determined to be safe as well. Cruelty-free companies can use a combination of methods to ensure safety, such as employing in vitro tests and/or conducting clinical studies on humans.

Even the USA FDA considers sunscreens drugs

Funny I’ve never read a warning for overuse of SPF or heard of someone overdosing from SPF. I know few people who even wear SPF everyday or past the 2 hour expiration in the sun. China also considers sunscreen a drug and persists in their archaic animal testing. American brands sold in China are subject to the same Chinese laws. (Read more here). That is why purchasing a sunscreen from a company is Leaping Bunny certified is the best course of action.

The only way around this travesty is to shop for products with the Leaping Bunny Logo regardless of what country they are made in

Until a meaningful, global ban on animal testing is in place, the Leaping Bunny continues to be the only guarantee that animals are not still being used to test the cosmetic ingredients in a company’s products. Leaping Bunny is the internationally recognized symbol guaranteeing consumers that no animal tests were used in the development of any product displaying it. Look for this cruelty-free logo when shopping.

leaping-bunny certified
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Please help innocent captive animals by sharing this post: Debunking the Myth that all EU products are cruelty-free

Sources: Cruelty free International, Cosmetics & Toiletries, Irish Anti-Vivisection Society, Leaping Bunny, Humane Society International

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