Today, on International Animal Rights Day, let’s not forget the importance of alternatives to animal testing.
In the EU, animal testing was banned for cosmetics in 2013, and rightly so. The ban was unquestionably a pivotal milestone for animal welfare. Cosmetics Europe strongly supports it.
Cosmetics is a research-based industry. Cosmetics must be safe, but they must also be innovative because like all industries, we strive to meet our consumers’ changing needs. Science thrives on such challenges.
Have you ever heard of an organ-on- a -chip? It’s a way of using cultured biomaterial to predict, in miniature, the actions of chemicals on human organs such as the liver. Or reconstituted skin? We can grow skin in the lab and test whether, for example, certain substances cause irritation. These alternative testing methods, and many more, are part of an evolving toolbox which allows us to predict how some substances affect the human body, without of course exploiting animals.
The cosmetics industry has been at the forefront of developing alternatives to animal testing for many years, beginning long before the ban took full effect, and we are making good progress.
But we need more than ground-breaking science. We cannot fully realise the reality and potential of alternatives until they are accepted as part of the regulation of cosmetics and cosmetic ingredients.
So this is the next stage in our journey: building a broad based community of understanding about alternatives and what they can do, through dialogue among all stakeholders.
The science is moving forward: let’s make sure everyone involved in ensuring the safety of cosmetics understands where it is taking us.
John Chave, Director General, Cosmetics Europe
To read Cosmetics Europe statement “Alternatives to animal testing – the only way forward for the EU”, click here.