WRITTEN QUESTION No. 116/98 by Anita POLLACK to the Commission. Testing on animals for cosmetics products
OJ C 223, 17.7.1998, p. 116 (ES, DA, DE, EL, EN, FR, IT, NL, PT, FI, SV)
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WRITTEN QUESTION E-0116/98 by Anita Pollack (PSE) to the Commission (30 January 1998)
Subject: Testing on animals for cosmetics products
When does the Commission plan to issue its proposals on the cosmetics Directive to ban testing on animals where viable non-animal tests exists or finished product testing?
Answer given by Mr Bangemann on behalf of the Commission (18 March 1998)
Under new Article 4(1)(i) of Council Directive 76/768/EEC on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to cosmetic products ((OJ L 262, 27.9.1976. )), introduced by Council Directive 93/35 ((OJ L 151, 23.6.1993. )) Member States must, as from 1 January 1998, prohibit the placing on the market of cosmetic products containing ingredients or combinations of ingredients tested on animals.
However, the Article specifies that 'if there has been insufficient progress in developing satisfactory methods to replace animal testing, and in particular in those cases where alternative methods of testing, despite all reasonable endeavours, have not been scientifically validated as offering an equivalent level of protection for the consumer, taking into account OECD toxicity test guidelines, the Commission shall, by 1 January 1997, submit draft measures to postpone the date of implementation of this provision, for a sufficient period, and in any case for no less than two years'.
The Commission adopted on 17 April 1997 Directive 97/18/EC postponing the date after which animal tests are prohibited for ingredients or combinations of ingredients of cosmetic products ((OJ L 114, 1.5.1997. )). This postpones until 30 June 2000 the date on which animal tests in respect of ingredients and combinations of ingredients will be prohibited.
In addition, the Commission is currently examining the possibility of amending the Cosmetics Directive. The aim is to reduce and, wherever possible, eliminate animal suffering. All the aspects of this question need to be carefully examined.
While protecting public health remains the Commission's chief concern, it nonetheless attaches the greatest importance to reducing animal suffering on ethical grounds. It will therefore pursue its efforts to expedite at all levels work on the development, validation and acceptance of alternative methods. The progress in 1997 in the field of alternative methods will be described in the Commission report currently under preparation, which will be submitted to the Parliament.