The EU's top court has ruled that animal testing cannot be used to satisfy EU safety regulations even if the trials were to satisfy foreign requirements. The court says ruling otherwise would compromise the testing ban.
Companies cannot use foreign animal testing trials to satisfy European Union safety regulations even if those tests were done to satisfy foreign safety requireements, the bloc's top court ruled on Wednesday, in a case involving products sold abroad.
A blanket ban on animal-testing safety trials cosmetics has been in force since 2013 in the EU, even though testing on rats, mice, guinea pigs and rabbits is still common in other parts of the world and in the case of Japan and China is actually required by law.
The European Court of Justice ruled that EU law bars any cosmetic product containing ingredients which have been tested on animals, wherever that may occur.
The United Kingdom had asked the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to clarify the ban in the case of three companies belonging to the European Federation for Cosmetic Ingredients that had conducted animal testing outside the EU so that their products could also be sold in Chinese and Japanese markets. The companies had argued these animal tests should be admissible in proving safety in the EU as well.
But the ECJ ruled that EU law bars animal testing to prove the safety of a product sold in the EU and that manufacturers must use non-animal tests to prove the safety of products in EU markets.
"The court states next that EU law makes no distinction depending on where the animal testing was carried out," the Luxembourg-based ECJ said in a statement.
The EU judges argued that the objective of the ban would be "seriously compromised" if it could be circumvented if vivisection were outsourced outside the EU. It added that it is "irrelevant" whether testing on live animals was required to market the products in other countries, as the plaintiffs had argued.
jar/msh (AFP, dpa)