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Trade association urges caution over Commissioner Designate’s animal testing comments

By Andrew MCDOUGALL , 15-Nov-2012

Cosmetics Europe has urged caution over comments made by prospective EU Health Commissioner Tonio Borg regarding the proposed marketing ban on animal-tested cosmetics, saying it may ‘jeopardise’ progress and undermine EU leadership in global animal welfare.

Borg made his comments at a European Parliament hearing as he looks to replace John Dalli as Health Commissioner; and received backing from The European Coalition to End Animal Experiments and Humane Society International after announcing his position on animal testing .

"Borg’s comments do not reflect the complexity or the reality of the issue"

However, the Personal Care Trade Association told CosmeticsDesign-Europe.com that this was not the industry perspective and that it viewed Borg’s comments differently.

Great concern

According to Cosmetics Europe, Borg’s commitment to conclude the introduction of the March 2013 ban without addressing the scientific reality or consumer needs is an issue of great concern.

Furthermore, organisation president, Fabio Franchina, comments; “Our industry commitment to ending animal testing is solid and widely recognised, and we continue to invest heavily into finding viable alternatives.”

“The cosmetics industry has been the engine of progress in this area. Mr. Borg’s comments therefore do not reflect the complexity or the reality of the issue, and will not further the cause of global animal welfare; rather it will undermine it.”

Viable alternatives needed

Franchina points out that it is vital that the existing collaboration the European Commission, industry and other stakeholders continues, indicating the achievements of the industry in researching and delivering viable alternatives to animal testing.

[Borg’s] sweeping statements threaten to remove that impetus and undermine the EU’s hard-won leadership in driving the development of alternatives to animal testing. Furthermore, it is completely incompatible with the EU’s existing Innovation 2020 strategy,” he adds.

In light of this the European trade body says that the Commission should take up its obligations under the Cosmetics Directive to propose suitable solutions in view of the report on progress on alternatives to animal testing submitted to the European Parliament and Council on 13 September 2011.

Definitive deadline not possible

Cosmetics Design visited Franchina and Cosmetics Europe director general Bertil Heerink this year to discuss issues surrounding animal testing, and they reiterated that although the ban may not be met, progress is being made and that the science is evolving .

Franchina stressed that although it is vital to find alternatives to animal testing in cosmetics, it may not be possible to put a definite time frame in this, and that industry should be careful as to not lose innovation.

“You cannot dictate science by the clock,” added Heerink. “We need to find a balance so that we keep the capacity to innovate as well.”

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